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Kawhi Leonard vows 'more improvement to come' from LA Clippers

Associated Press/Sky Sports NBA

Tuesday 4 February 2020 09:08, UK

Paul George and Kawhi Leonard high-five during the Clippers win over the Spurs 2:14
Gametime panellists Grant Hill, Candace Parker and Isiah Thomas break down the work the LA Clippers need to do after the All-Star break

Kawhi Leonard said the LA Clippers are searching for "more improvement" following a hard-fought win over the San Antonio Spurs on Monday night.

Leonard scored 22 points and Paul George added 19 as the Clippers overturned a 15-point first-half deficit to earn their eighth win in their last 10 games.

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Both Clippers superstars made crucial plays down the stretch. Leonard's one-handed dunk gave the Clippers a two-point lead with 1:35 remaining. Leonard then blocked DeMar DeRozan's shot, and George's step-back jumper made it 106-102.

Patty Mills hit a three-pointer with two seconds left to draw the Spurs within one. Lou Williams got fouled and made both for the Clippers. Mills' half-court heave at the buzzer came up short.

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Leonard's streak of nine straight games with at least 30 points ended. George had a season-high 12 rebounds to go with a game-high eight assists.

"There's still more improvement to go," Leonard said of the Clippers. "Came out a little flat and early on not really playing hard on the defensive game, took a little while to pick that up."

Paul George throws an airborne pass against the Spurs 0:26
Paul George drove to the hoop to make a spectacular three-point play during the LA Clippers' 108-105 win over the San Antonio Spurs

On NBA TV after the game, Candace Parker, Isiah Thomas and Grant Hill discussed the Clippers' victory and agreed with Leonard's assessment of his team.

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"I think [Clippers coach] Doc (Rivers) said it, they need 10-15 games in the stretch after the All-Star break with everyone healthy and they will figure it out," Parker said.

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"The scary thing is the Clippers [ability to make] adjustments defensively. [Spurs guard] DeMar DeRozan had a great first half, shot 10-of-13 from the field, then [was limited to] just 1-of-13 in the second half.

"I think just learning each other on the defensive end [is key for the Clippers]. Offensively it is going to come. We thought coming into the season they would be absolutely dominant on the defensive end and they have not been. A lot of that has been because of people sitting out and not playing back-to-back games and load management."

preview image 2:11
Highlights of the San Antonio Spurs' visit to the LA Clippers in Week 16 of the NBA season

"When you look at the Clippers, Doc has the luxury as a coach of saying 'we only need 10 to 15 games to really get it right'," said Thomas. "How many coaches around the league would love to have that luxury?"

"Speaking of luxuries, down the stretch, we have seen so much of Kawhi Leonard with the ball in his hands but Paul George, in isolation, one-on-one, hit a big shot to win the game, [putting the Clippers] up four with very few seconds left," Hill said.

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"You throw in Kawhi, Paul George and Lou Williams, you have three closers who can get baskets who are not afraid of the big moments and can win you games in the postseason."

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