LOS ANGELES (AP)Paul George scored 24 points, Kawhi Leonard added 20 and the Los Angeles Clippers returned home after two weeks away to beat the Phoenix Suns 120-99 on Tuesday night.
The Clippers went 4-2 on their recent road trip, matching their longest of the season. Leonard didn’t play in the finale, a loss Saturday at Chicago.
But he came back strong at Staples Center, teaming with Paul in a dominant third quarter that saw the Clippers stretch their lead from five points to 21 by the time it was over. The two superstars combined to score 18 points in a 32-16 run that sent the Clippers into the fourth leading 90-69.
Lou Williams added 20 points for the Clippers, scoring their first 11 of the fourth – including three 3-pointers. Ivica Zubac had 12 points in helping the team win its 12th in a row over the Suns in Los Angeles.
Kelly Oubre Jr. scored 19 points and Deandre Ayton added 18 points and 12 rebounds in his return from a 25-game NBA suspension for Phoenix, which lost its fourth in a row.
Ayton played on opening night, scoring 18 points against Sacramento, and then sat out as punishment for violating the league’s anti-drug program after testing positive for a diuretic. He showed little rust in notching his second double-double of the season while playing 24 minutes.
Suns: Devin Booker (bruised right forearm) missed his third straight game. … Tyler Johnson (illness) sat out his second game in a row. … Cameron Johnson (left hip soreness) also sat out. … Phoenix lost the second half of a back-to-back.
Clippers: JaMychal Green (tailbone) missed his fifth straight game.
END OF RUBIO’S RUN
Ricky Rubio’s streak of nine or more assists in nine straight games ended when he finished with eight. He had tied Steve Nash for the longest such streak by a Suns player. As a team, however, the Suns had 30 assists, their 11th straight game with 29 or more, which made them the first team to do so since Charlotte went 13 straight games from March 30 to April 23, 1989.
Suns: At the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday in their first meeting of the season.
Clippers: Host the Houston Rockets on Thursday. The teams have split their first two meetings this season, with each winning on its home floor.
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