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Kawhi Leonard gets stitches after taking elbow to face, Clippers beat Nuggets – Sportsnet.ca

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DENVER — Kawhi Leonard was hurt and the Denver Nuggets were mounting a rally like they did three months ago.

This time, the Los Angeles Clippers didn’t allow Denver to complete the comeback.

Leonard had 21 points before taking an elbow to the face in the fourth quarter, Paul George scored 23 points and had nine assists, and Los Angeles beat the Nuggets 121-108 on Friday night.

It was the second straight big win for LA, which beat the Lakers on Tuesday night.

“We’re a different team than last year,” George said.

The Clippers led by 11 with 6:11 left Friday night when Serge Ibaka went up for a rebound and caught the side of his teammate’s face with his right elbow. Leonard lay bleeding on the court before walking to the locker room.

“He got up and walked off the floor, so he’s going to be good,” LA coach Tyronn Lue said.

Leonard was ruled out shortly thereafter and was being evaluated postgame, but it did put a scare into George.

“Really worried. I was thinking the worst,” George said. “I didn’t know if he was concussed or what actually happened, I just saw him laying on the ground. That was first and foremost, making sure he was OK.”

The Clippers didn’t need Leonard to close out a Nuggets team that upset them in the second round of the Western Conference semifinals last season.

Nikola Jokic finished with 24 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds for Denver, which has dropped its first two games of the season. Jamal Murray added 23 points, 13 coming in the fourth.

The Nuggets rallied from double-digit second-half deficits in Games 5, 6 and 7 of the second-round series in September, winning all three and wiping out LA’s 3-1 lead to advance to the Western Conference finals. It was a surprising end for a team many thought could beat the Lakers and advance to the NBA Finals.

George said he has put that disappointment in the past.

“I buried last year, left last year in the bubble,” he said. “This is a new season, new team, new goals, new everything. I was ready and poised and confident coming into this year, and I was prepared coming into this season.”

Denver wasn’t able to do it again but made a run after trailing by 24 late in the third quarter. The Nuggets used an 11-0 run into early in the fourth, and two 3-pointers by Murray sliced a 98-74 deficit to 106-95 with 7:35 left.

“When you’re down 25, it’s about pride and about effort,” Murray said. “We wanted to play hard and let the lead take care of itself. We saw the lead chip away like we did in the playoffs, we just couldn’t get over the hump.”

Leonard went out soon after but Denver never got the deficit under 10.

“They made a run, we lost Kawhi so we could have lost our composure, lost our game, but we took a good timeout,” Nicolas Batum said. “We kept moving the ball and made big shots.”

TIP-INS

Clippers: F Marcus Morris (sore right knee) missed his second straight game, but coach Lue said he is day-to-day. “He’s been doing his own rehab with the sports science team and he’s progressing,” Lue said.

Nuggets: F JaMychal Green sat out with a left calf strain. Green, who played for the Clippers last season, has yet to play in the regular season after signing with Denver in the short off-season.

SCROOGED AGAIN

Denver was playing on Christmas night for the second straight season, with both ending in double-digit losses. Last year the New Orleans Pelicans beat the Nuggets 112-100 in Denver, stopping a seven-game winning streak.

“Two years in a row we weren’t ready to play on Christmas night,” coach Michael Malone said. “Bah humbug.”

UP NEXT

Clippers: Host the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday night.

Nuggets: Host the Houston Rockets on Monday night.

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Daily news: Maple Leafs start western road trip with a win – Pension Plan Puppets

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The Leafs opened their Alberta road trip with a win on Sunday. It was a rare afternoon game but that didn’t faze the team as they picked up two point in the 3-2 win over the Flames with Jack Campbell in net for the Leafs, and Auston Matthews returning from an undisclosed illness which caused him to miss Friday’s game. Our recap is in the related item box below.

There were some questions out of the game, most notably what happened to Jack Campbell in the last few moments of the game. Was he injured, and was it serious? There’s little information as of now, though he certainly looked very uncomfortable after Matthew Tkachuk lunged down on him.

After the game, Campbell said “I feel great” but, that’s Jack Campbell. He would say that if he had just stared at the Elephant’s Foot in Chernobyl.

Meanwhile we learned more about Auston Matthew’s injury.

Now they only have to figure out which one of the Oilers hurt him in Friday’s game and how to get revenge later this week.

Before that happens the Leafs will play the Flames again tomorrow, but you’ll have to stay up late for this one. Game time will be 9:00 p.m. ET.

Other News

Speaking of the Oilers topped the Jets 4-3 yesterday with a literal last second goal in the third period.

Brent Burns completely undresses the whole Minnesota Wild team here, and the Wild eventually lost. I wonder why?

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The Six weekend in review: first games and first goals, but still no wins – The Ice Garden
It was a flurry of firsts for the Toronto Six this weekend — and some lessons to build upon in search of their first win.

Former Leafs captain George Armstrong dead at 90 – CBC
Armstrong played a franchise-record 1,188 games for the Leafs, with 296 goals and 417 assists over 21 seasons — including 13 as team captain.

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Dustin Poirier explains game plan for Conor McGregor rematch: ‘He was in bad position early’ – MMA Fighting

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Dustin Poirier handed Conor McGregor the first knockout loss of his career at UFC 257, stopping the former two-division UFC champion in round two of their lightweight contest in Abu Dhabi on Saturday. Six years after their first match, one pivotal part of his strategy was attacking the legs.

“The Diamond” spoke with the media after his big win on Fight Island and explained that his game plan was “not to be heavy on my feet and throw power shots and box early,” mixing it up with kicks, wrestling and boxing.

Mike Brown was real big on me throwing calf kicks in this fight,” Poirier said at the post-fight press conference. “Really big on it, and it worked. We compromised his leg and he was in bad position early, just from the repeated leg kicks.

“Even when he started checking, he wasn’t contacting with the shin, like a small rotation more, I would’ve been paying for those kicks, but I was still getting the muscle of his leg and that part of your leg and muscle is so small and thin that you can’t take many shots there. After the second leg kick, I knew he was hurting.”

McGregor weighed in on the effect of the strikes during his post-fight interview, saying his leg was “completely dead” and “badly compromised,” like “an American football in my shoe at the minute.”

“I just know from experience how bad those things hurt,” Poirier said. “And I knew it was a five-round fight so it would only get worse. He started catching it and trying to counter it with his left hand towards the end, but I knew they were still landing. He was catching it after they were making contact. I knew that was still hurting him.”

Not being afraid of takedowns made Poirier more confident on the feet, also.

“And if he did catch it and take me down, then I was gonna – it’s a five-round fight,” he said. “Of course you never wanna give up a round, but I’d to throw some submissions up and see what happens, you know? I’m a black belt in jiu-jitsu and I’m very confident in my jiu-jitsu, but I knew the leg kicks would be a problem because Jim Miller tore my leg up and that was a three-round fight, and I just know how painful it is.”

The UFC has yet to determine where Poirier goes from here. On a two-fight winning streak since his attempt to unify the UFC lightweight titles against Khabib Nurmagomedov in 2019, “The Diamond” is likely the next in line for the undisputed gold, whether it is against “The Eagle” himself or for a vacant throne.

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Dana White hates Chandler’s UFC 257 celebratory backflip: ‘Somebody’s going to get f—king hurt’ – Bloody Elbow

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Michael Chandler’s promotional debut at UFC 257 couldn’t have gone any better after knocking out Michael Chandler in the first round, but Dana White was not a fan of the newcomer’s celebration.

Chandler (22-5) stopped Hooker (20-10) in the co-main event of UFC 257 this past Saturday, winning a $50,000 bonus to make his victory even sweeter. After the fight ended, Chandler celebrated by doing a backflip off the top of the octagon.

Talking at the post-fight press conference, White said he hates this celebration and feels one day someone will get seriously hurt from it.

“Do you guys hate the backflips as much as I hate the backflips? It’s just f—king, it’s just — the kid gets his fight in the UFC then does a backflip that looks like it’s going to blow out both f—king ankles, knees, and his spine,” White said. “I just — I don’t get the backflip thing and I don’t like it. Somebody’s going to get f—king hurt doing that.”

It’s not the first time we’ve seen fighters in the UFC do this, with fellow lightweight Justin Gaethje also usually flipping off the cage after a win. The Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) has taken action to the celebration, banning fighters from backflipping off the cage when fighting in Vegas.

The unranked Chandler, 34, will likely take Hooker’s #6 spot when the new UFC lightweight rankings are published.

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