Pacers, without Caris LeVert, square off with Clippers

NBA Basketball

The Los Angeles Clippers will attempt to extend their winning streak to four games when they host the Indiana Pacers on Sunday.

On Saturday, the Pacers announced they had acquired guard Caris LeVert from the Houston Rockets for guard Victor Oladipo. The trade was reported to be in the works earlier in the week after LeVert was shipped to Houston by the Brooklyn Nets in a deal involving James Harden.

The 6-foot-6 LeVert, who averaged 18.5 points and six assists mainly as a reserve for the Nets, will not play against the Clippers. Indiana announced Saturday the fifth-year pro will be out indefinitely after an MRI revealed a small mass on his left kidney during a physical prior to finalizing the four-team trade.

The Pacers said LeVert will have further medical tests and would update as needed.

“We acquired Caris because of who he is as a young man first and foremost. His basketball skill and on court play speaks for itself and we know he has a great career ahead of him,” said Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard in a statement.

“We will support Caris through this time and know that he will join us on the court as soon as he is able.”

Prior to LeVert’s arrival, the Pacers floored the Portland Trail Blazers 111-87 on Thursday. The win snapped an 11-game losing streak at Portland, where the Pacers hadn’t won since 2007.

Malcolm Brogdon scored 25 points on 10-of-18 shooting with seven assists, five rebounds and three steals and Domantas Sabonis had 13 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter for Indiana. Sabonis, who also converted 10-of-18 shots, grabbed 15 rebounds.

“We’re getting better and better,” said Brogdon, who has scored at least 21 points in six of the last seven games. “We handled a really, really good team tonight on the road. I think this was a statement win for us. We’ve got to build on it.”

The Pacers’ scheduled game Saturday at the Phoenix Suns was postponed Thursday due to the league’s health and safety protocols. The Suns didn’t have the NBA’s required eight players available because of contract tracing.

At Sacramento, the Clippers crushed the Kings 138-100 on Friday. Kawhi Leonard had 27 points and six assists and Paul George finished with 26 points as the Clippers beat the Kings for the 15th consecutive time on the road. Marcus Morris Sr. added 18 points off the bench.

The Clippers, who have won five of their last seven contests, played without Patrick Beverley (personal reasons) and Lou Williams (hip). It wasn’t clear if they would play Sunday.

Without them, the Clippers managed to pound the Kings with a second-half blitz, bolting from an eight-point lead at the break by outscoring them 37-16 in the third quarter.

“We’ve been having leads and we challenged our guys at halftime to be better defensively, set the tone, take the challenge one-on-one,” Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said. “I thought in the first half they got the ball fast and scored, beat us off the dribble one-on-one and I thought in the third quarter our team really sat down and defended and took the challenge one-on-one. That was good to see.”

Los Angeles hit 58.4 percent of their shots from the floor and made 18 of 35 3-pointers (51.4). The Kings shot 47.1 percent and went 8-for-26 on 3-pointers (30.8 percent).

–Field Level Media

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