PG: Clips’ late rally to halt Cavs ‘biggest win’ yet

LOS ANGELES — After scoring while being fouled to give the LA Clippers an improbable lead with 37 seconds left to play against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Paul George let out a scream toward the home crowd.

George’s three-point play completed a surprising 17-1 run by the Clippers that erased a 13-point deficit in the final five minutes to stun the Cavaliers 119-117 at Crypto.com Arena on Monday night.

The Clippers (6-5) snapped Cleveland’s eight-game winning streak and handed the Cavs (8-2) just their second loss.

“This is our best win, our biggest win,” said George, who had 26 points and five rebounds. “Overall, this was probably one of our better offensive nights, as well as our defense. They got elite scorers, elite shooting, and I thought we did a great job of just matching on both ends.”

George’s scream in the right corner of the baseline came near the same spot where he hit a game-winning shot to help the Clippers stave off an embarrassing loss to the rebuilding Houston Rockets a week ago. At that time, the Clippers were incredibly relieved to have beaten the Rockets, erasing a five-point deficit in the final 1:27 to halt what was then a four-game losing streak.

Monday night’s fourth-quarter comeback, though, was much different. Instead of avoiding a bad loss to the Rockets, the Clippers willed themselves to a win over the hottest team in the league.

They pulled off several stirring come-from-behind victories last season. But the Clippers trailed by 10 points in the final three minutes against Cleveland and still won. They were previously 0-629 when trailing by 10 or more points in the final three minutes of regulation over the past 25 seasons, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

“I was surprised today,” center Ivica Zubac said of the Clippers’ latest comeback, because of the quality of opponent it came against and how Cleveland was playing. “But I guess that’s what we do.

“This is going to be a big one for our confidence.”

The Clippers have won four of their past five without the injured Kawhi Leonard (right knee), and they staved off the Cavs with John Wall sitting out the second game of a back-to-back.

Donovan Mitchell had 30 points for Cleveland, and Evan Mobley added 26 points and eight rebounds. But the Clippers played perhaps their best defense of the season, holding the Cavs to 0-for-7 shooting for a five-minute stretch.

The Clippers play the hallway rival Lakers on Wednesday for the second time this season. While the Clippers are not expected to have Leonard for a ninth straight game, they are hoping this Cleveland win can propel them to play the way many expected them to play when they started the season with championship expectations.

Coach Ty Lue said the Clippers are trending up and that he is starting to see them resemble who they were when they fought their way to the Western Conference finals in 2021.

“I think so,” Lue said. “But it’s going to be different again when Kawhi comes back. So you got to try to figure it out again.

“But I like where we’re at. We’re competing every single night.”

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