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Kawhi Leonard scores 26 in Clippers’ loss to Celtics

By JIMMY GOLEN

BOSTON — Jayson Tatum had 29 points and 11 rebounds, Jaylen Brown also scored 29 points and the Boston Celtics beat the Los Angeles Clippers 116-110 on Thursday night.

Derrick White scored 15 points and blocked Paul George’s layup with 33 seconds left and Boston leading by three. Brown hit two free throws down the stretch and Tatum made one to ice it.

Marcus Smart had 17 points and nine assists, Grant Williams had 11 points and 10 boards and Al Horford added a blocked shot in the final seconds for Boston, which won its fourth straight game. It was the second in a row coached by assistant Damon Stoudamire, who was filling in for Joe Mazzulla because he had a corneal abrasion.

Kawhi Leonard scored 26 for the Clippers, George had 24 points and Ivica Zubac had 13 points and 11 rebounds. The Clippers had won four of their last five games, sweeping a back-to-back against Detroit and Toronto earlier this week.

Boston led 112-102 with under 3 minutes left before the Clippers scored eight of the next nine points, making it 113-110 on Leonard’s pullup jumper in the lane with about a minute left.

But White came from the weak side to block George the next time down, and then Brown and Tatum each grabbed an offensive rebound to run out most of the last 30 seconds.

The Celtics (25-10) opened their seven-game homestand with three straight losses but won their last four to retain the best record in the league.

Boston led by as many as 13 in the second quarter and 11 at the half, but Reggie Jackson and George hit back-to-back 3-pointers to open the third. The Celtics led 67-62 when Marcus Morris Sr. sank a 3, and then Zubac made a turnaround hook shot in the lane to tie it.

By the end of the quarter, the Clippers led 85-84.

SHOOTING

With his first 3-pointer of the night, Tatum moved ahead of Antoine Walker and into second on the Celtics’ career list. Tatum finished with three in the game and now has (941) in his career. Paul Pierce is first, with 1,823.

Brown was 0 for 8 from 3 point range.

SUBBING IN

Mazzulla missed his second straight game with a corneal abrasion that he sustained during a pickup game. Stoudamire, who also filled in for Tuesday’s victory over the Rockets, said Mazzulla is expected back when the road trip begins on Sunday.

UP NEXT

Clippers: Wrap up a five-game road trip on Saturday in Indiana.

Celtics: Begin a four-game road trip at Denver on Sunday.

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