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Clippers down Jazz, close series lead to 2-1

Donovan Mitchell (left) passes as Kawhi Leonard defends during the second half at Staples Center in Los Angeles.Sean M. Haffey/Getty

Kawhi Leonard had 34 points and 12 rebounds, Paul George added 31 points and the host Los Angeles Clippers got back into their second-round series against the Utah Jazz with a 132-106 victory in Game 3 on Saturday night.

Leonard and George each scored at least 30 in the same playoff game for the second time to help the Clippers cut Utah’s series lead to 2-1.

George shot only 34.3 percent from the field in the first two games but was 12 of 24, including 6 of 10 on 3-pointers. He had 13 points in the second quarter, eight during a 13-2 run when LA seized control and took a 57-41 advantage with 2:54 remaining in the first half.


Leonard scored 24 points in the second half. Reggie Jackson and Nicolas Batum added 17 points apiece for the Clippers.

Donovan Mitchell led Utah with 30 points, his fifth straight games with at least 30. The last player to do that was Leonard last year in the first round against Dallas.

Joe Ingles had 19 points for Utah and Jordan Clarkson added 14. The Jazz were 19 of 44 on 3-pointers, but 17 of 40 inside the arc as the Clippers’ zone defense caused problems.

Guard Mike Conley missed his third straight game because of a mild right hamstring strain.

Nuggets trying to stay alive

The Denver Nuggets are the 143rd NBA team to go down 3-0 in a best-of-seven playoff series and nobody’s ever overcome such a daunting deficit to win four straight.

The Nuggets say their only aim is to send the series back to Phoenix with a win in Game 4 Sunday night in Denver.

“The last thing I want to see is the Phoenix Suns pushing a broom across our home court,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said Friday night after Denver’s 116-102 loss to the Suns.


Nikola Jokic, who had 32 points, 20 rebounds, 10 assists in Friday’s loss, could become the first league MVP to get swept in a playoff series since the league adopted the best-of-seven format for all rounds beginning in 2003.

Sixers’ Green strains calf

Danny Green will be reevaluated in two weeks after an MRI confirmed he strained his right calf, the Philadelphia 76ers said.

The injury occurred during the Sixers’ 127-111 victory over the Atlanta Hawks in Game 3 on Friday night. The veteran will miss the rest of the Eastern Conference semifinal series but could return in the next round if Philadelphia advances.

The Sixers lead the series, 2-1.

Nets’ Harden still out

The Brooklyn Nets again won’t have James Harden but could have forward Jeff Green back for Game 4 of their second-round playoff series with the Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday. Nets coach Steve Nash said that Harden is out and Green is questionable for Sunday’s game. Nash added that both players are “progressing well.” Harden hasn’t played since leaving Game 1 of the series in the opening minute with tightness in his right hamstring. Green hasn’t played at all in the series due to a plantar fascia strain. The Nets lead the Bucks, 2-1, in the best-of-7 matchup … The NBA disciplined the Brooklyn Nets security guard who went on the Fiserv Forum court and appeared to shove P.J. Tucker during a confrontation between the Milwaukee forward and Nets star Kevin Durant on Thursday. NBA officials said the security guard wouldn’t be assigned to any of the remaining games in Milwaukee during the second-round playoff series between the Bucks and Nets. He won’t be assigned to the court area for the second-round games in Brooklyn. Although NBA officials didn’t provide the name the security guard, a person with knowledge of the situation identified him as Antjuan Lambert. Another person with knowledge of the situation said the security guard was Durant’s personal security guy before being hired by the Nets.