Clippers rally to beat Pistons 96-91 in Leonard’s return

Sports

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Reggie Jackson scored 23 points and the Los Angeles Clippers rallied in the fourth quarter to beat the Detroit Pistons 96-91 on Thursday night with Kawhi Leonard in the starting lineup for the first time this season.

Paul George and Marcus Morris added 16 points each and Ivica Zubac tied his career high with 18 rebounds.

Leonard finished with six points on 2-of-8 shooting and had five rebounds and four assists in 24 minutes.

He had missed 12 straight games since coming off the bench in two of the first three games to begin the season. Leonard had been dealing with stiffness in his right knee, which was surgically repaired in July 2021. He missed all of last season while rehabbing.

Bojan Bogdanovic scored 26 points and Jaden Ivey added 18 points for the Pistons. They lost their fifth in a row playing without injured Cade Cunningham.

Killian Hayes scored to give the Pistons a 76-75 lead before the Clippers took over.

George hit a 3-pointer, Leonard made a pair of free throws and then assisted on Morris’ 3-pointer. George dunked one-handed after a steal and Leonard scored to push the Clippers’ lead to 87-79.

The Clippers took their first lead since the opening quarter on a three-point play by Terance Mann late in the third that made it 67-65. The second unit joined Zubac in outscoring the Pistons 13-6 to lead 68-67 going into the fourth.

Detroit led most of the game, using a 15-0 run in the first quarter to build its largest lead of 12 points.

The Clippers rallied to tie it at 30-all before the Pistons closed on a 20-12 run to head into halftime leading 50-42. Bogdanovic scored nine points in the spurt.

TIP-INS

Pistons: Cunningham (left shin soreness) is out this week.

Clippers: Luke Kennard (right calf strain) sat out.

UP NEXT

Pistons: At the Los Angles Lakers on Friday night.

Clippers: Host San Antonio on Saturday night.

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