Kawhi Leonard scores 34, Paul George 31, Clippers put up 150 in beating Wizards

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LOS ANGELES — Coach Doc Rivers called the first play of the game for Paul George and he hit a 3-pointer.

His teammates found him the rest of the way.

Kawhi Leonard scored 34 points, George added 31, and the Los Angeles Clippers rolled past undermanned Washington 150-125 on Sunday night for their 12th win in a row over the Wizards at home.

“It’s those new shoulders. He’s just a great shooter,” Rivers said of George. “He’s shooting deep shots on the move and doing it with great balance.”

Montrezl Harrell added 23 points and a career-high 15 rebounds and Lou Williams had 22 points for the Clippers, who led all the way in improving to a franchise-best 12-1 at Staples Center.

“Their athletes are long, wiry and strong and defensive-minded,” Wizards coach Scott Brooks said. “On top of that, they can score. That’s a great benefit.”

The Clippers shot 57% in taking a 27-point lead in the first half when George had 27 points.

“We just came out a little bit more aggressive as a unit,” Williams said. “We were very efficient on the offensive end. The shots we took a lot of times were ones we wanted to take.”

George and Leonard combined to score 10 of the Clippers’ first 13 points in the third when they led 95-69.

The Wizards ran off 11 straight points to close within 15 in their only major spurt of the game.

From there, the Clippers outscored Washington 19-12 to lead 116-98 going into the fourth.

For the game, the Clippers shot 55%, owned a 66-46 edge in the paint and their bench outscored the Wizards reserves 73-39.

“We’re pretty good once we’re clicking,” Williams said. “Every once in a while you kind of see glimpses where guys are on the same page.”

Rookie Rui Hachimura scored a career-high 30 points and Bradley Beal added 23 points and 11 assists for the Wizards. They were without injured John Wall, Moe Wagner, C.J. Miles and Ian Mahinmi in losing for the fourth time in five games.

Davis Bertans had 20 points and a tied his career high with six 3-pointers for Washington.

Leonard scored 11 of the Clippers’ first 20 points in the fourth. George added a pair of free throws and Williams scored seven in the stretch that extended their lead to 138-107. Leonard and George then sat down and turned it over to the bench to finish off the blowout victory.

It was the second time this season the Clippers scored 150 points. They beat Atlanta 150-101 last month.

Steven Adams inks two-year, $25.2 million extension with Grizzlies

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Steven Adams signed a two-year, $25.2 million contract extension with Memphis, which will keep him tied to the team through the 2024-25 season. ESPN’s Adrian Wojanrowski broke the news on Saturday.

Adams has been crucial to the Grizzlies’ recent success. He’s coming off his first season with the team, where he averaged career-highs in rebounds (10.0) and assists (3.4). He also helped them lock up the No. 2 spot in the Western Conference and make it to the Conference Semifinals, where they lost to the eventual-champion Warriors 4-2. Despite the improved numbers, a lot of his value is from intangibles that don’t show up in the box score.

Adams spent the first seven years of his career with the Thunder before being traded to New Orleans in the four-team deal that sent Jrue Holiday to Milwaukee. Adams was moved again to Memphis in a package for Jonas Valanciunas.

Adams has found a new home with a young Grizzlies team that is looking to win a championship. The team is built around Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Desmond Bane, but Jackson Jr. is expected to miss time after being diagnosed with a stress fracture in his left foot. Memphis will rely on Adams more than ever to begin the season.

Watch Curry, Klay in 3-point shooting contest in Japan. Yeah, they’re good at this.

NBA Japan Games Saturday Night
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The NBA went to Japan to promote the brand, play a few games in a huge market — Japan specifically but Asia as a whole — and put on a show.

Is there a better show than Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson draining 3s? Here they are in a 3-point contest during a basketball exhibition (there were some pro dunkers) in Tokyo on Saturday.

Stephen Curry, was there any other possible outcome?

It’s preseason and they are the defending champs — they should be having fun, playing with some joy.

Thompson took part in the shooting contest but is not playing in either of the exhibition games in Japan as the Warriors ease him back into play this season. It’s a marathon of a season and the Warriors need the best version of Klay starting in April, not October.

Report: Pelicans, Nance agree to two-year, $21.6 million extension

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Larry Nance has been a stabilizing influence in New Orleans since coming over mid-season as part of the trade for CJ McCollum. Nance is a versatile player who can play the four or the five, knocks down his threes, is very strong on the glass, can be a disruptive defender in passing lanes, and fits in — and he has the veteran attitude of work this team needs.

So the Pelicans have reached an extension to keep the 29-year-old around for two years past this coming season, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

This is a signing that should make Pelicans fans happy. Importantly, it makes CJ McCollum happy — they are tight and this is something McCollum wanted to see. The money on this deal seems fair, about the league average for a solid rotation player.

Nance is the kind of veteran this team needs considering its young core of Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram (just turned 25), Herb Jones, and guys like Trey Murphy III, Jose Alvarado, and others. Nance compared it to the young Lakers teams he was on, but noted that team lacked the same level of veteran leadership this Pelicans team has.

We may see more Nance at the five lineups — small ball with Zion at the four — to close games this season in New Orleans, that could be their best lineup because Nance can defend but also spaces the floor for Zion on offense. Coach Willie Green has a lot of different players and matchups to experiment with.

And now he has the stability of Nance for a few more years.

Durant tired of talking Nets dramatic offseason: ‘I didn’t miss any games’

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No team had an offseason quite like the Brooklyn Nets. First, they would not give a long-term extension to Kyrie Irving, which sent the star guard looking for a new team (but there were no offers that worked for everyone, so he opted in with Brooklyn). Then Kevin Durant asked for a trade, and to gain a little leverage reportedly threw down an ultimatum of him or the coach and GM. No trade could be found — how much the Nets wanted one is up for debate — so he is back in Brooklyn. And all that is not even getting into the return of Ben Simmons, a trade for Royce O’Neal, or anything else.

The Nets drama and how they move past it has been the talk of training camp. The only talk at training camp, it feels like.

When asked Friday if there were any inaccuracies in the reporting of the Nets summer he would like to clear up, Durant sounded weary of rehashing the summer.

The only thing that will start to move the conversation in a new direction is the Nets playing and winning games (they open the preseason Monday against the 76ers). And even those wins will have the shadow of the offseason cast over them. Durant and Irving made this bed.

Part of the fascination is the Nets remain the team hardest to predict in the league. They arguably have the most talented roster in the league and, if everything comes together just right, they can contend for a title. It’s also possible the wheels fall off early and by Christmas the Nets are looking to trade Durant again. Both things feel possible (even if reality most likely lands somewhere in the middle).

That uncertainty about the Nets’ future is the drama that will keep eyeballs on them — which also means more questions about this past offseason. Durant can choose not to answer them, but the questions aren’t going away.