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Wizards vs. Clippers final score: 119–117 win sends D.C. into all-star break on a much-needed high

Washington handles a Paul George-less Clippers at Capital One Arena

Los Angeles Clippers v Washington Wizards
Wizards’ two star players combine for 60 points in win over Clippers.
Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

In their final game before the all-star break, a 119–117 win, the Wizards started the affair shooting 4–12 from the field. Washington, however, used eight unanswered points to go up one five minutes into the contest. The Clippers kept things competitive — even without Kawhi Leonard, who was in early foul trouble — with strong three-point shooting, but the Wizards played one of their best defensive quarters of the season — they forced eight turnovers and had six steals. A 22–12 run to close out the quarter had the home side up by three after one.

The beginning of the second saw Russell Westbrook (27 points, nine rebounds, 11 assists, four steals) build on a strong first; just like against Memphis, number four threaded the needle to find Robin Lopez open in the paint. Leonard began making up for lost time, draining his first five shots for 12 points (one of which was from the line). And the rest of his teammates also pulled their weight. Luke Kennard (14 points off the bench) and Patrick Beverley (17) scored back-to-back buckets to stretch their lead to seven, which forced Wizards Coach Scott Brooks to call for a break. Despite L.A. going off for 39 points in the second quarter, a 9–0 Wizards run at the end of the half cut the deficit to seven.

Rui Hachimura started the third with six points, even getting Leonard, who finished with a team-high 22 points, to bite on his signature pump-fake move. After suffocating defense from Bradley Beal — who put up a game-high 33, seven and three — the Wizards regained the lead. With Serge Ibaka off the court after picking up several fouls, Moe Wagner came alive — the 23-year-old made a pair of free throws and knocked down a three. Both teams ended the frame by chucking up deep shots, but the difference was another Westbrook dime to a cutting Davis Bertans, who made a driving dunk — not usually one of his shots. With 75-percent of the match played, the two sides were tied at 87 apiece.

The Westbrook-Lopez connection continued as the fourth began, but an elbow to the face of Bertans (11 points off the bench) dampened the mood early on. The Wizards became increasingly stretched, an issue that was compounded by Terance Mann’s 14 points off the bench and superb shooting from behind the arc. But Washington showed spunk, tying the game at 96 after Deni Avdija drove the basket for a right-handed layup. Clippers Coach Tyronn Lue called a timeout to give his team a breather.

As the seconds ticked away, L.A. elected to send Westbrook — who has a dismal free-throw percentage — to the line. The final minute of the game was a free-throw shooting competition, but it was the Wizards who, on a missed shot by Hachimura from the line, came up with the ball in the dying seconds and ran out the clock for the win.