The Los Angeles Clippers followed up their win over the Lakers on opening night with another strong effort against a Western Conference contender on Christmas day.
But they lost Kawhi Leonard along the way.
The Clippers improved to 2-0 with a 121-108 win over the Denver Nuggets Friday, capping an NBA holiday slate with the fifth double-digit victory in five games.
They held on for the win after losing Leonard, who was left bloodied and laying on the floor after teammate Serge Ibaka inadvertently elbowed him in the teeth amid a fight for a loose ball late in the fourth quarter.
(Warning: The footage below contains blood)
Leonard was able to stand up and walk to the locker room, but was quickly ruled out for the rest of the game. The Clippers did not provide an immediate diagnosis of his injury.
Clippers thwart late Nuggets rally
They took a 72-55 into halftime and thwarted any and all Nuggets effort in the second half to make this one close. The Nuggets threatened a rally with an 11-0 run early in the fourth quarter. But Leonard staved off the rally with a pair of mid-range jumpers to thwart the run.
It was a performance Clippers fans would have certainly preferred to see in any of Games 5, 6 or 7 of September’s crushing loss to the Nuggets in the Western Conference Semifinals.
But with convincing wins over their top conference rivals to start the season, the Clippers faithful will have to settle for the hottest start in the West of the new NBA season.
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