WASHINGTON (AP) — The Los Angeles Clippers are making progress.
The Washington Wizards want the refs to make more calls.
Kawhi Leonard had 34 points and 11 rebounds as the Clippers bounced back from their worst loss of the season by pulling away for a 135-119 win over the Wizards on Sunday night.
Paul George scored 27 points and Montrezl Harrell had nine of his 20 in the fourth quarter for Los Angeles, which improved to 4-6 away from home two games into their six-game trip.
The victory came two days after Los Angeles, now second in the Western Conference, opened the trip with a 119-91 loss at East-leading Milwaukee.
“I think the key to it is just getting more games, more times on the court,” said George, one of several Clippers who battled early season injuries while searching for team chemistry. “That’s really the only way we’re going to learn to trust, learn to play with confidence with one another, and learn to play together.”
After seeing Leonard and George held to just 30 points combined against the Bucks, this time the Clippers frustrated one of the NBA’s elite scorers, holding Bradley Beal to 20 points on 5-for-18 shooting.
Nine of Beal’s points came from the foul line, and the Wizards’ 30 foul shots were three more than the Clippers had. But Beal believed he and his teammates got the short end.
“It’s completely unfair and unacceptable,” Beal said, “that they allow a lot of stuff to go on with me out there and not get calls. Period.”
Washington’s bench kept the game competitive for more than three quarters. Davis Bertans tied his season-high with 25 points, including six 3-pointers. Troy Brown Jr. scored a career-high 20 points.
The Wizards earned three of the games’ five technical fouls, with Bertans even picking one up from the bench and Ish Smith picking up his during the fourth quarter.
“When Ish gets a tech, I know something’s going on,” said Wizards coach Scott Brooks, who received the other Wizards technical. “That guy’s is the nicest guy on the planet. He gets a technical by just telling a referee to call it the same on the other end. But we’ve got to play through it.”
Los Angeles closed the game with a 22-10 run, including a stretch when Leonard and Harrell combined to score 17 consecutive points.
Leonard turned his 10th defensive rebound into a transition dunk and unconventional four-point play after absorbing a personal foul and Smith’s technical to make it 121-109.
Later, he added a reverse layup and a pull-up jumper to stretch the lead to 125-112. Harrell followed with a thunderous baseline dunk and three-point play, and then another layup to make it 130-114.
“We found mismatches and just kind of put the game away,” George said.
Clippers: Maurice Harkless picked up a technical foul with 4:39 left in the first quarter, and Beverley picked up another 45 seconds later. … After leaving Friday’s loss at Milwaukee early, F Patrick Patterson sat out with back spasms … F JaMychal Green returned (tailbone) after a one-game absence.
Wizards: Beal’s first field goal came with 2:26 left in the first half, an acrobatic runner off the glass that tied it at 58-all. He finished the half with 11 points. … Smith’s technical foul was one of three. Coach Scott Brooks picked up a technical with 4:39 left in the opening quarter, and Bertans got one while on the bench 39 seconds before halftime.
“I think our chemistry is really good, but I don’t think we’re playing well yet as a group — that’s two different things. Usually those things go hand-in-hand. They don’t this year because we’re around each other a lot, we just don’t play with each other a lot. It’s really the strangest thing I’ve ever seen.” — Clippers coach Doc Rivers on his team’s offensive flow at this point in the season.
“You can look at, yeah it is back to back to back, but it’s really not back to back to back. Right? I’m not trying to have you agree with me, but I am.” — Brooks on F Admiral Schofield playing three straight days between the NBA and G League.
SIX FOR THE SIXTH MAN
Bertans has now hit at least six 3s in five appearances this season, his first in Washington. He accomplished the feat only twice in his first three seasons in San Antonio.
Clippers: At Indiana on Monday.
Wizards: At Charlotte on Tuesday.
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