The Clippers had just one shootaround rehearsal with Leonard and George walking through together in the starting unit, and that came on the morning of Wednesday's tilt. Leonard, playing for the first time following a three-game absence due to a bruised left knee, shot 7-for-20 but provided the game-clinching block on a Kemba Walker 3 at the buzzer. The 29-year-old has recorded 29.3 points, 6.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists while shooting 56.3 percent from the field and 52.2 percent from the 3-point range in his first three games.
For all the fanfare of Leonard and George making their debut as a tandem against a marquee opponent on national television, the Clippers staged a furious rally in the fourth quarter that was reminiscent of their scrappy teams of recent seasons.
"We're going to have growing pains", he said. "We're really good with only Kawhi". They found themselves down by three with 35 seconds left and without the ball.
Tatum led the Celtics with 30 points and Brad Wanamaker added 14.
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After a timeout, Tatum hit a three-pointer with George falling down defending him to tie it 97-all with 13 seconds left.
Leonard's potential game-winning 3 rattled in and out as regulation ended.
Leonard and George combined to score the Clippers' first 11 points of the third for a 51-45 lead. "But I'm really excited", Zubac told reporters.
Daniel Theis also had one of the best games of his career, only scoring eight points but recording 14 rebounds (seven offensive), six assists, and three steals. "He knows when it's time to take over".
The player that ultimately edged the Clippers over the Celtics was Patrick Beverley.
Leonard and George each logged 37 minutes, not only earning this win but needing all the help they got from their teammates.