Los Angeles Clippers duo Kawhi Leonard and Paul George were bright and funny against the Charlotte Hornets on Tuesday, as the pair marked their return from injury with a 119-117 victory at the Spectrum Center.
In Leonard’s return from the hiatus, the Clippers went to the two-time Finals MVP with the game on the line – and he obliged. Indeed, Leonard had 16 points, including an 18-foot jumper with 1.4 seconds left to lift the Los Angeles Clippers to a 119-117 win over the Charlotte Hornets on Monday night in his return from the sidelines for several weeks.
“I don’t think anybody loves playing the game more than I do,” Leonard said. “It makes me happy when I can play. And it was great to be able to film.
“My teammates believed in me. I was able to get to my position and my team gave me space. I was able to drop the gun.”
Incidentally, this was his sixth game of the season after missing all of 2021-22 with a torn right ACL.
His partner in crime, Paul George, also returned from a hamstring strain to score 19 points and seven assists for the Clippers, who snapped a two-game losing streak.
Reggie Jackson and Nic Batum each had 13 points, and John Wall added 12 points and 12 assists off the bench.
George, who has missed the past seven games with a right hamstring strain, shot 8-of-15 and finished with a team-high 19 rebounds and seven assists in 28 minutes. Luke Kennard, who has missed nine straight games with the Cubs The right-hander had nine points.
“This is a great opportunity for us to get back together,” George said. “We were playing well when we were healthy and now we can start building the team we are trying to be.”
LA led by seven with 6:32 left, but the Hornets fought back and took a 117-115 lead with 1:34 to go. But George shot Leonard under the basket to tie the game.
The Clippers star had a chance to finish alone, but he brought it back to the right corner, passed it to John Wall, who eventually set up Leonard for the final shot.
Even though it’s early December, the Clippers are quickly realizing that they’ve spent too much time without their two biggest stars. With just four games left to play this season in their shared schedule, there’s plenty for these two to do in the coming weeks for another stacked schedule, especially if they want to make the playoffs.