LOS ANGELES – The LA Clippers had to wait 138 days, but finally they had to see what life was like with Cowhi Leonard and Paul George on the court together.
"It was — fun as hell," said ampersand Patrick Beverly, exiting the court.
The Clippers had to overcome a soggy game that went into overtime, but they achieved their first win with both All-Stars and gave the Boston Celtics their only third loss of the season, 107-104.
George had 25 points, eight assists and five rebounds and hit 3-pointers for the second straight game. Leonard, who played for the first time after missing three games due to a left knee injury, shot 7-for-20 but secured the Kemba Walker 3 block of play with the buzzer. Leonard also recorded 1
In defense, the two-way stars helped the Clippers (10-5) survive to the preseason collusion for this suffocating unit, as Boston (11-3) only shot 39.4% of the field, including only 12-of-45 (26.7%) of the rainbow.
"It was fun to see what this team might look like on the defensive end," George said, "and it was fun to see how we could play against each other.
" The fact is, we will have growing pains and I think the most positive thing is that we understood that. No one pointed fingers or put their heads in clots … at no point did this team ever function. "
The Clippers had only one rehearsal for shooting Leonard. and George, who were passing the start block together, and that came on a tilt on Wednesday. After George had just returned on Nov. 14 after surgery on both his shoulders and Leonard sat out for the past three games, the Clippers have not had time to train with both of them in their starting lineup.
This shows as the Clippers rotated the ball over 23 times, with Leonard and George combining for 10 of them, with the Celtics sending traps to the duo.
But what the other Clippers players learned was just how open they would play with the two stars. Louis Williams scored 27 points while Beverly was alone in several shots, breaking four 3-pointers, two of them coming in overtime. Beverly finished with 14 points, 16 rebounds and seven assists.
"I remember saying [coach] Doc. [Rivers] I came down with a pickup truck, I was so open that I didn't know what to do," Beverly said. "They get so much attention, it's crazy."
But Leonard and George showed glimpses of why this protective attention was deserved. With little more than three minutes left in regulation, Leonard blew by Marcus Smart before climbing up and throwing a malicious one-handed dive all over Theis 6 feet.
The jeans already rival the one LeBron James had at the Staples Center on November 15, when he wept Sacramento's Nemanja Belitsa in the Lakers' victory over the Kings.
"This is crazy," Clippers center Zubak said of the concealment. "… He just jumped."
This immersion and blocking of Walker's play are the reasons why George told ESPN that he wanted to play alongside Leonard in 2017 when he asked the Indiana Pacers to trade him to San Antonio. According to league sources, the Spurs do not have enough assets to make a deal.
"I mean, this is the MVP for the finals, man," George said of Leonard. "He knows when it's time to take it. He's been there and won championships with a lot of balls, so he knows how to stomp and put that foot on the opponent's neck. And that's what you saw him do tonight."
was not a big part of the game as the Clippers stumbled over themselves at times. Rivers felt the players trying to share the ball too much. Leonard missed 7 of 10 3-point attempts and tried to shoot several shots before traps arrived. And George lost his legs and fell when Jason Tatum (30 points) drilled a 3-way rebound to tie the game at 97 and put in extra time.
"It's quite simple to find places and know the game." Leonard said what the Clippers needed to improve. "It is still difficult. We are both with minimal restraint; it is difficult to get into the flow. But just knowing the game and the points of the other and the language on the defensive end [will help]. Repetition is what we need right now."
Leonard and George registered in 37 minutes, not only winning this victory, but needing all the help they received from their teammates.
"Cargo management was definitely not in force tonight," George cracked.
"We need everyone," he added. "This is not a two-headed monster."