April 21, 2024

As the Clippers began to pour it on against the Washington Wizards in the third quarter Friday, bad news surfaced when the team announced guard Russell Westbrook had a left hand fracture.

Westbrook sustained the injury in the first half of the Clippers’ 140-115 win, on his bobblehead night at Crypto.com Arena. Westbrook, a 16-year veteran, was averaging 11.1 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.5 assists.

The Clippers (38-20) had lost three of four games since the All-Star break and were in need of good vibes, especially after collapsing against the Lakers on Wednesday when they blew a 21-point lead in the fourth quarter.

But against the Wizards, the team with the worst record in the NBA and playing on the second of back-to-back nights, the Clippers coasted to victory after pulling away in the third quarter. The Clippers opened a 28-point lead, shooting 50% from the field. They held the Wizards to 36% from the field and 22.2% from three-point range.

It helped the Clippers to have Paul George back after he missed two games because of a left knee injury. George had 22 points, six rebounds and three assists in 30 minutes.

But it was the play of James Harden and Kawhi Leonard that set up the blowout.

Harden was efficient, scoring 28 points on nine-for-13 shooting, going six for nine from three-point range. He also had eight assists and four rebounds in just 25 minutes.

Clippers forward Paul George, left, speaks with coach Tyronn Lue during the first half Friday.

Clippers forward Paul George, left, speaks with coach Tyronn Lue during the first half Friday.

(Ryan Sun / Associated Press)

Leonard had 27 points, nine rebounds and four assists in 29 minutes.

With Westbrook out, Bones Hyland got some playing time and had seven assists in 16 minutes.

The Clippers play their next three games on the road, two of them against stiff competition.

They face the Western Conference-leading Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday before playing a Milwaukee Bucks team with the third-best record in the league Monday. The Clippers finish their trip Wednesday night at Houston.

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