(Photo credit: Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports)
The Los Angeles Clippers hope they've finally found a winning formula and look to employ it when they battle the struggling San Antonio Spurs on Monday in the first of two games between the teams in three nights in the Alamo City.
The Clippers head to San Antonio after a 106-100 win at home overHouston on Friday in an in-season tournament game.
James Harden scored 24 points, including a four-point play with six seconds remaining, and Los Angeles snapped a six-game losing streak. It was the Clippers' first win in the six games that Harden has been with the team since being traded from Philadelphia.
Harden posted his second game of 20 or more points in a Clippers uniform, both in the past two outings.
"We've still got a long way to go, but obviously it felt good to get a win," Harden said. "You can't take those for granted. But like I continue to say, it's a building process, and I can see a lot of (areas for) improvement on both sides of the ball."
Kawhi Leonard added 26 points while Paul George had 23. Ivica Zubac scored 12 points and Norman Powell had 10 as Los Angeles won for the first time in November and improved to 1-2 in the in-season tournament.
"You only get coached so much until that light switches in your head," Leonard said. "So we got to figure out who we want to be."
The Spurs are reeling after dropping eight straight games, including a 120-108 home loss to Memphis on Saturday. San Antonio led by 17 points at halftime but by only seven heading into the fourth, and then surrendered an 18-0 run midway through the quarter.
"We get those periods where the physicality builds, and we go dry offensively," San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. "And if you don't score and you're in transition defense all the time it makes it difficult, and the leads dissipate. It's just that consistency to continue to score."
Keldon Johnson led the Spurs with 22 points while Victor Wembanyama added 19 points, 13 rebounds and eight blocked shots. Zach Collins and Jeremy Sochan each had 16 points and Cedi Osman scored 13 for San Antonio, which has not won since Nov. 2.
San Antonio shot 28.6 percent from the floor in the fourth quarter against Memphis on Saturday, did not go to the free-throw line and was outrebounded 12-8 over the final 12 minutes.
"It was two different games for us," Osman said. "In the first half ... we played great and in the second half we just couldn't respond to their run."
The Spurs rank last in the NBA in points allowed (124.2 per game) and opposing teams' field-goal percentage (50 percent) while ranking next to last in opposing teams' 3-point percentage (40 percent).
The Clippers have a five-game winning streak against San Antonio, including a 123-83 victory over the Spurs in Los Angeles on Oct. 29. San Antonio last beat the Clippers on Jan. 15, 2022.
--Field Level Media