AP

George scores 23, Clippers beat Raptors for 7th win in 9

Dec 27, 2022, 5:01 AM | Updated: 8:18 pm

Toronto Raptors forward Scottie Barnes (4) drives against Los Angeles Clippers center Ivica Zubac (...

Toronto Raptors forward Scottie Barnes (4) drives against Los Angeles Clippers center Ivica Zubac (40) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2022, in Toronto. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)

(Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)

TORONTO (AP) — Paul George scored 23 points, Ivica Zubac had 23 points and 16 rebounds, and the Los Angeles Clippers won for the seventh time in nine games by beating the Toronto Raptors 124-113 on Tuesday night.

Norman Powell scored 22 points off the bench and Kawhi Leonard had 15 as the two members of Toronto’s 2019 championship team returned to Canada for the first time since before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Leonard hadn’t played in Toronto since Dec. 11, 2019, when he received his championship ring. Fans cheered when he was introduced before tipoff.

“It’s always great memories coming in this arena,” said Leonard, who sat out Monday’s win at Detroit. “I’d rather give the fans in Toronto the chance to see me play again. That was part of my decision.”

Reggie Jackson scored 20 points and Marcus Morris Sr. added 10 as all five Clippers starters scored in double digits.

“This was one of our most complete games of the season,” Clippers coach Ty Lue said.

George made 9 of 18 shot attempts, Jackson went 9 for 15 and Zubac was 7 for 13.

“He’s been amazing for us all year,” Lue said of Zubac. “He was a monster on the glass, 10 offensive rebounds.”

While the Raptors hadn’t played since Dec. 23, the Clippers were on the second night of a back-to-back and didn’t reach their Toronto hotel until after 3 a.m., arriving after rallying for an overtime victory over the Pistons. Still, the difference in rest didn’t hurt Los Angeles.

“It just shows the level that we can play at no matter what’s against us when all the guys are locked in, focused and playing for one another,” Powell said.

Pascal Siakam scored 36 points, topping 25 for the career-high fifth straight game, and Scottie Barnes had 17 points and 13 rebounds as the Raptors’ home losing streak reached four.

One game after making a season-high 19 3-pointers in a road win at Cleveland, Toronto shot 6 for 23 from distance against the Clippers, matching a season-low. Toronto went 1 for 9 from long range in the second half.

“I think the shots not going in are affecting our transition defense and it’s affecting our energy and fight a little bit,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said.

Gary Trent Jr. scored 20 points, O.G. Anunoby had 18 and Malachi Flynn 10. Each made two 3-pointers for the Raptors.

Toronto’s Fred VanVleet left in the first quarter to stretch out his sore lower back, then checked out again early in the third. He finished with four points in 23 minutes and shot 2 for 6, going 0 for 3 from 3-point range.

Ahead 60-56 at halftime, the Clippers extended their lead to 18 in the third behind 11 points from Powell. Los Angeles took a 97-82 lead to the fourth.

TIP-INS

Clippers: G John Wall (left knee) sat out on the second night of a back-to-back. … Leonard returned after sitting out Monday’s comeback win at Detroit.

Raptors: Barnes had eight assists. … Siakam had nine rebounds. … Began a stretch that sees them play nine of 10 at home. … Before the game, Nurse said F Precious Achiuwa (sprained right ankle) is close to returning. Achiuwa missed his 22nd straight game Tuesday. … C Christian Koloko (right knee) left in the fourth quarter and did not return.

QUALITY QUARTET

The Clippers had a season-high four players score at least 20 points. It’s the first time they’ve done it since Mar. 19, 2021, against Milwaukee.

NORM!

Powell played north of the border for the first time since Feb. 28, 2020, Toronto’s final home game before COVID-19 shut down the season. Fans gave Powell a loud ovation after the Raptors honored him with a video tribute during a first-quarter timeout.

“It’s a full-circle moment for me to be where it all started,” Powell said.

Powell planned to leave town with his 2019 championship ring, which had been in Toronto throughout the pandemic.

UP NEXT

Clippers: At Boston on Thursday night.

Raptors: Host Memphis on Thursday night.

___

AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

Ex-Packer Guion gets 1 year for domestic violence assault

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Former Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Letroy Guion was sentenced to one year in jail after pleading no contest in a domestic violence assault at his home last fall. Brown County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Walsh also ordered Guion on Tuesday to serve three years’ probation and complete a domestic […]

1 year ago

Joe Jarzynka...

Associated Press

Durant eager for Suns debut vs. Hornets after knee injury

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kevin Durant has been through quite a bit during his 15-year NBA career — but joining a new team midway through the season is a new one for the 13-time All-Star. The 34-year-old Durant doesn’t seem all that worried. Durant makes his highly anticipated Phoenix Suns debut on Wednesday night against […]

1 year ago

FILE - Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores stands on the sideline during the second half of an N...

Associated Press

Judge: NFL coach can press discrimination claims in court

NEW YORK (AP) — NFL Coach Brian Flores can pursue some of his discrimination claims against the league and its teams in court rather than through arbitration, a judge ruled Wednesday. The written decision by Judge Valerie Caproni in Manhattan was issued months after lawyers for the league tried to get the lawsuit moved to […]

1 year ago

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Alex Stalock cools off in the first period during an NHL hockey game ...

Associated Press

Kane trade reinforces hard reality of Blackhawks rebuild

CHICAGO (AP) — After days of speculation, the harsh reality of the Chicago Blackhawks’ situation was reinforced by one move in a flurry of transactions ahead of the NHL trade deadline. Showtime is over, at least in Chicago, and a seemingly bright future is, well, way off in the distance. The reverberations of Chicago’s decision […]

1 year ago

FILE -  Yves Jean-Bart, president of the Haitian Football Federation, wearing a protective face mas...

Associated Press

Disgraced ex-Haitian soccer president announces he’s back

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haiti’s former soccer federation president whose lifetime ban from sport over sexual abuse allegations was overturned last month announced Wednesday that he is reclaiming his position. Yves Jean-Bart’s defiant announcement could lead to a standoff with FIFA, which already has appointed an emergency management committee to lead the Haitian Football Association […]

1 year ago

FILE - Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers walks off the field after an NFL football game against the ...

Associated Press

Rodgers says decision on future will come ‘soon enough’

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers says he will make a decision on his future “soon enough” as the four-time MVP quarterback ponders whether to play next season and if his future remains with the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers, 39, discussed his future while speaking on an episode of the “Aubrey Marcus Podcast” that […]

1 year ago

George scores 23, Clippers beat Raptors for 7th win in 9