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Clippers fall without Paul George to Celtics; Kawhi opposes plan to play All-Star

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The Los Angeles Clippers let go of the lead and fell to the Boston Celtics 119-115 Friday night at Staples Center. The Angelenos were without one of their stars in Paul George due to a sore right foot after his 36-point performance last game against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

“Everyone will have to step forward and take responsibility. Of course trying to make up for the shots (by Paul George), they will pay more attention to me. But we all have to take up the challenge, it’s fun, “said Kawhi Leonard in the absence of his superstar duo.

The controversy continues regarding the NBA All-Star Game, after the league decided to resume it despite the pandemic. For Leonard, money is coming before health.

“That’s the way it is, we all know why we are playing. There is money involved, it is an opportunity to make more money. Basically money is being put before health. For example, we are still playing right now and there is still a pandemic. We are following all these protocols and regulations, which doesn’t really surprise me, ”said Kawhi who finished with 28 points against Celtics.

In Friday’s loss, the Clippers were not only without George, but they had another starting element in Patrick Beverly down with a knee injury.

Clippers started the first two quarters with a lead and went up 62-51 at halftime. However, the third set changed the course of the game. The Celtics outscored the Angels 38-20 in the third quarter to lead for the first time in the game.

“There (in the third quarter) was a key moment where they turned it around. We started the third set with a good stop and then the energy changed. They began to make their shots concrete and we were not aggressive in defense, ”said Nicolás Batum. “They leaned back on their bench and they did a good job making the plays, we tried to stay in the game despite that, but for a period of three or four minutes we did nothing, we stopped moving the ball.”

The Clippers were without their best long-range shooter in George, who is shooting 48 percent from the perimeter this season. For their part, Boston’s men fired up in the third quarter with eight triples.

“We have to find a way to do things without him (George). Of course he is within the top-five or ten right now in the league, in the conversation even of MVP, obviously we miss such a player, but we must take up the challenge and make plays, even if he is not, “said Nicolas Batum who contributed 16 points and 7 rebounds.

The defeat caused disappointment in the group of players because of the way things turned out. The local team had 16 turnovers throughout the game that gave the rival 26 points. A key moment of the defeat was when there were 39 seconds left on the clock and despite the errors, Clippers led by a point 112-111; they stole the ball, but immediately after, Kemba Walker recovered it and advanced the Celtics in that sequence.

Leonard was punched in the eye by Richard Jefferson in the fourth quarter. He had to receive medical attention, an eye examination, drops and then he was able to return to the game without problems.

Clippers will look to get back on the road to victory this Sunday when they host the Sacramento Kings on Sunday. So far this season, they haven’t lost two games in a row.

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