NBA roundup: George late show sparks Clippers over Cavs, Mavs keep up charge


NBA roundup: George late show sparks Clippers over Cavs, Mavs keep up charge

Paul George was the star for the Clippers
Paul George was the star for the ClippersAFP
Paul George (33) led a remarkable comeback Sunday as the Los Angeles Clippers overturned a 26-point deficit to defeat the Cleveland Cavaliers 120-118 in the NBA.

George erupted for 23 points in a fourth-quarter charge, including the go-ahead shot with seven seconds remaining, and then made a crucial block to preserve the Clippers' lead just before the buzzer.

It was the final act of an incredible individual display by George who finished with 39 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists and who was a perfect 16-of-16 from the free throw line.

James Harden added 22 points, while Ivica Zubac, Terance Mann and Norman Powell all had 14 points apiece.

"It was a collective team win," George said.

"I can't take credit for none of it without them. It couldn't have happened without those guys chipping in and doing what they do."

The Clippers had looked to be heading for a monumental beatdown after a disastrous first-half performance that saw Cleveland rack up back-to-back 40-point quarters to lead 80-59 at half-time.

"I knew we weren't ourselves," George said of his team's first half. "At that point I was locked in and committed to do whatever it takes to win."

The victory boosts the Clippers' chances of securing the fourth seed in the Western Conference. Los Angeles improved to 50-28 to remain fourth in the standings, ahead of the fifth-placed Dallas Mavericks, who are 48-30.

Both teams have four regular season games remaining.

The Mavericks kept up their late-season charge with a third straight victory in a 147-136 overtime win over the Houston Rockets.

Kyrie Irving led the way with 48 points, while Luka Doncic had 37 points, 12 assists and nine rebounds as the Mavericks came back from 22 points down to prevail.

'No one caved'

The defeat ensured Houston's elimination from postseason contention.

"It's just about the trust and understanding that we have each other's back," coach Jason Kidd said of the Mavericks' never-say-die approach.

"No matter what's happening, there's an understanding that we're playing for one another. Houston gave us their best shot, we took it and found a way to win.

"That's the beauty of our locker room - no one caved, no one let go of the rope, no one quit."

Houston's loss also guaranteed the Golden State Warriors are assured of at least a top-10 finish.

The Warriors defeated the Utah Jazz 118-110 in San Francisco later on Sunday, with Klay Thompson scoring 32 points including six three-pointers.

The Warriors are on track to face LeBron James' Los Angeles Lakers in the play-in tournament. The Lakers dropped to ninth after a 127-117 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

In other games Sunday, the Miami Heat stumbled to a 117-115 defeat in a crucial battle against the Indiana Pacers in Indianapolis.

The Pacers improved to 45-34 and they remain in pole position to clinch the sixth automatic play-off place in the Eastern Conference.

The Pacers led from virtually start to finish, with all of their starters finishing in double figures led by Myles Turner with 22 points.

Miami fell to 43-35 and dropped to eighth place in the East after Philadelphia's late-season recovery continued with a 133-126 double-overtime defeat of the San Antonio Spurs.

The Sixers' fifth straight win saw Tyrese Maxey drop 52 points while rookie Victor Wembanyama scored 33 points and bagged 18 rebounds and six assists for eliminated San Antonio.

Phoenix's hopes of securing an automatic play-off spot from the Western Conference are also hanging in the balance after they slumped to a 113-105 loss at home to the New Orleans Pelicans.

C.J. McCollum scored 31 points while Zion Williamson added 29 as the Pelicans snatched a victory that leaves both sides locked on 46-32 with four games remaining.

Phoenix occupy the sixth and final play-off place in the West by virtue of their season record against New Orleans, who are seventh.

Elsewhere, the New York Knicks sent the Milwaukee Bucks spinning to a fourth straight loss, with Jalen Brunson posting 43 points in a 122-109 win on the road.

Eastern Conference top seeds Boston meanwhile sailed past the Portland Trail Blazers 124-107.


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