Cleveland Cavaliers v Los Angeles Clippers

Cleveland Cavaliers v Los Angeles Clippers

The Clippers looked like they were on their way to another matinee loss — this is the team’s 10th matinee game of the season (with one more to come), and they were 5-4 coming in with some ugly games in that mix. Sunday felt like another in that line. The shorthanded Cavaliers without Donovan Mitchell (and having lost 3-of-4 so far on their road trip) led by 26 in the third quarter.

Then things change in the third, thanks partly to Russell Westbrook‘s energy off the bench. Then Paul George took over in the fourth: 23 points, six rebounds, and in the end he broke ankles to get off the game-winner with a mid-range fadeaway.

That left 7.1 seconds for the Cavaliers, but George blocked Darius Garland to preserve the Clippers win.

George finished the game with 39 points, and postgame he talked about the comeback.

“These situations aren’t ideal, but it’s nice when posed with these challenges we come together,” George said, via the Associated Press. “We really just dug down. That second half was special. Everyone was locked in defensively.”

That win was the Clippers 50th of the season and keeps them solidly in fourth place in the West, two games up on No. 5 Dallas (which came from behind to beat Houston on Sunday). Los Angeles and Dallas appear headed for a first-round meeting that might be the best series of the round in either league.

With the loss (its fourth in five games), Cleveland remains in a virtual tie with New York and Orlando for the 3/4/5 seeds in the East (the Cavaliers are behind the other two by percentage points because they have played two more games). The Cavaliers aren 1.5 games up on the No. 6 seed Pacers and two up on the No. 7 seed Heat.

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