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Russell Westbrook laughs with Clippers teammate James Harden after a play against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday, April 7, 2024, at Arena. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Russell Westbrook laughs with Clippers teammate James Harden after a play against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday, April 7, 2024, at Arena. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES — Playing on a team that has a three-time scoring champion and two perennial All-Stars, Russell Westbrook has looked to other ways to impact a game than scoring. On Sunday, he focused on defense instead of the basket.

His stalwart play down the stretch, including blocking a potential game-winning 3-pointer with less than a second to play, allowed the Clippers to hold off the Cleveland Cavaliers, 120-118, in a wild comeback Sunday at Arena.

Westbrook scored just eight points but had seven rebounds, six assists, one steal and that key block off the bench.

“Well, all year long, honestly, I’ve been depending on my defense and holding people and stopping people when time is needed,” Westbrook said. “And tonight was one of those nights where we needed to get stops to be able to close the game and close the gap.

“I thought we did a good job of that as a team.”

With the Clippers down by 26 points in the third quarter, Paul George took over, scoring 23 of his game-high 39 points in the fourth quarter for the team’s biggest comeback of the season and their largest in franchise history.

“Never give in. Never quit. Always find ways to keep battling,” Westbrook said. “You never know. One possession, one thing could turn the game around. One stop. One three, whatever it may be. And I just kept telling our guys to keep staying with it, to keep fighting, keep getting stops. Tonight was a night where we stuck with it, had each other’s back and came out with a win.”


Kawhi Leonard didn’t play Sunday against the Cavaliers, the fourth consecutive game he has missed because of inflammation in his right knee – the same knee that he had surgery on in 2021 to repair a partial tear of his anterior cruciate ligament.

And with four games left in the regular season, coach Tyronn Lue said he is not worried about the two-time Finals MVP.

“I don’t have a level of concern,” Lue said, adding that he didn’t know when to expect Leonard to be back in the lineup.

Leonard has played in 68 games this season, his most since the 2016-17 season with the San Antonio Spurs, when he appeared in 74 games. He is averaging a team-high 23.7 points, 6.1 rebounds and 3.6 assists.


Marcus Morris Sr. returned to Arena for the first time Sunday, this time wearing a Cleveland Cavaliers jersey. The veteran forward played three-plus seasons with the Clippers before being traded to the Philadelphia 76ers in November as part of the trade that brought James Harden to Los Angeles.

He was greeted with an in-game tribute that featured scenes from his time at Arena on the overhead scoreboard.

The Sixers later traded Morris to the San Antonio Spurs, but he didn’t play a game for them before being waived in February. A month later, he signed with the Cavs. He is averaging 6.0 points off the bench in 10 games for Cleveland.

Morris averaged 12.1 points in 195 games for the Clippers and 11.8 points and 4.8 rebounds in their 2020 playoff run. He is 10th on the franchise’s all-time 3-point list.

“He’s a guy who can shoot the basketball, he can pull up, play the post, present mismatches,” Lue said. “He was a big part of what we did here.

“When we got to the conference finals. Marcus played a big part of that in the playoff stretches. playoff runs. He’s always been big for that, so just happy to see and we get a chance to see him today.”

Morris entered Sunday’s game in the second quarter and finished with two points in 13 minutes.