James Harden is on track to make his Clippers debut on Monday when Los Angeles faces the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported Wednesday.

Philadelphia agreed to send Harden, P.J. Tucker and Filip Petrusev to Los Angeles on Tuesday in exchange for Marcus Morris, Robert Covington, Nic Batum, KJ Martin, a 2028 unprotected first-round pick, two second-round picks, a 2029 pick swap and a first-round pick that can be routed from a third team.

The trade ended the saga between the 76ers and Harden, who in August blasted team president Darly Morey at a promotional event in China.

"Daryl Morey is a liar and I will never be a part of an organization that he’s a part of," Harden said. "Let me say that again: Daryl Morey is a liar, and I will never be a part of an organization that he’s a part of."

Harden's comments were a response to the 76ers telling Harden's agent that Morey was unable to find a trade for the 2017-18 NBA MVP, and the franchise wouldn't deal him unless it could find a trade that would help Philadelphia contend for a championship.

Harden picked up his $35.6million player option for the 2023-24 season in late June, and then immediately requested a trade.

He could have declined the option and become a free agent but was hoping by exercising his option it would facilitate a trade.

Harden reiterated his stance in early October, saying his relationship with Morey is beyond repair and he still wanted to be traded.

ESPN reported that Harden is delighted to be joining the Clippers, where he will team up with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. There will also be a reunion with Russell Westbrook, who Harden played alongside for the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder.

Harden averaged 21 points, an NBA-best 10.7 assists and 6.1 rebounds last season.

Russell Westbrook is thrilled to be reuniting with James Harden and P.J. Tucker at the Los Angeles Clippers.

The Clippers are acquiring Harden and Tucker in a blockbuster trade with the Philadelphia 76ers.

Filip Petrusev is also joining the Clippers, with Marcus Morris, Robert Covington, Nic Batum and KJ Martin heading the other way.

Harden, who was in attendance as the Clippers beat the Orlando Magic on Tuesday, had been in a dispute with the 76ers, and missed their opening game of the season – a loss to the Milwaukee Bucks – and their second fixture, a win over the Toronto Raptors.

The 10-time All-Star played alongside both Tucker and Westbrook at the Houston Rockets, and the latter, who refused to confirm the trade before it was made official, could not hide his delight.

"Right now, James and P.J. are off-limits. I got nothing for you until it's official," Westbrook smiled, as per ESPN.

Asked if he was happy, Westbrook said: "Yeah. I mean, s***, why wouldn't I be?

"Yeah, excuse my language, but definitely, definitely happy."

As for the Sixers, Tyrese Maxey is set to inherit the point forward role Harden occupied in the roster.

"I think our group has been prepared," Maxey said. "I think we've done a good job of keeping the main thing the main thing, and I think that's what's gotten us all to a solid start.

"We have some really good guys that are focused, that are determined to go out there and play and show what we can do, and [a] coach that's keeping our mind in the right place."

Maxey also had a special word of thanks for his former teammate.

"I texted him and I told him I love him, told him I appreciate him," Maxey added of Harden. "One thing that he really installed in me is confidence. I've always been a confident person, but he made me be even more confident than I already was, and all I can do is appreciate him for that.

"He took me under his wing, taught me a lot of things as far as just being a professional in this league and how things go. So I appreciate him and I love him. Same thing with Tuck. Love those guys."

Philadelphia coach Nick Nurse, meanwhile, seems ready to move on from the Harden drama.

"I got to get ready for Thursday, and I got to coach the guys we got," he told reporters. 

"I really like where we are right now. I mean, there's so much I'm learning about this group. I think there's so much improvement we have to make in a lot of ways, and I'll let Daryl and [76ers general manager Elton Brand] and the boys worry about all that stuff, and I'll coach the guys here on a daily basis."

The Philadelphia 76ers are sending wantaway James Harden to the Los Angeles Clippers, according to reports.

Harden has been in a dispute with the 76ers, and missed their opening game of the season – a loss to the Milwaukee Bucks – and their second fixture, a win over the Toronto Raptors.

The 10-time All-Star and returned to the roster for the win over the Portland Trail Blazers, watching on from the bench as Joel Embiid led Philadelphia to victory.

Now, the dispute between the 34-year-old and the 76ers will come to an end, with Harden heading to the Clippers.

Philadelphia have elected to send Harden, P.J. Tucker and Filip Petrusev to Los Angeles. In return, they will receive Marcus Morris, Robert Covington, Nic Batum, KJ Martin, a 2028 unprotected first-round pick, two second-round picks, a 2029 pick swap and a first-round pick that can be routed from a third team.

The NBA opened an investigation into whether Harden's absence from the 76ers' season opener was a violation of the league's player participation policy. 

ESPN reported that Harden is delighted to be joining the Clippers, where he will team up with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. There will also be a reunion with Russell Westbrook, who Harden played alongside for the Houston Rockets and the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Harden joined the 76ers in 2022, after a frustrating stint with the Brooklyn Nets.

The 2018 NBA MVP averaged 21 points, 10.7 assists and 6.1 rebounds per game last season.

Nikola Jokic had his best game of the preseason with 25 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists in the Denver Nuggets’ 101-90 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday.

The two-time MVP shot 9 of 15 from the field and 3 of 6 from 3-point range.  

Aaron Gordon and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope each added 13 points for Denver.

Los Angeles’ Bones Hyland had 25 points, seven rebounds and six assists against his former team.

 

Durant and James match up in Suns’ victory

Kevin Durant scored 21 points and the Phoenix Suns defeated the Los Angeles Clippers 123-100 in a game that put Durant and LeBron James on the court for the first time in almost five years.

James had 19 points and Anthony Davis added 15 for the Lakers.

The last time James and Durant were on the court together was Christmas 2018.

Devin Booker and Bradley Beal both sat out for Phoenix.

 

Timberwolves finish perfect preaseason

Anthony Edwards scored 19 points on 8-of-13 shooting and the Minnesota Timberwolves defeated the Chicago Bulls 114-105 to finish 5-0 in the preseason.

Minnesota had six players in double figures and 15 players scored at least one point.

Nikola Vucevic had 21 points and 10 rebounds for Chicago.

Kawhi Leonard and Paul George will continue to lead the Los Angeles Clippers next season.

That is according to Clippers president Lawrence Frank after their elimination from the NBA playoffs at the hands of the Phoenix Suns, going down 4-1 in the first round.

During his end of season address, Frank insisted Leonard and George remain important to the organisation's ambitions, with both averaging 23.8 points per game in the regular season, though only made 52 and 56 appearances respectively.

"When we traded for Paul and signed Kawhi as a free agent in 2019, it wasn't for one or two years, wasn't three or four," Frank said. "Every year you have those guys, they give you a chance. And so it's about surrounding those guys to continue to improve your chances.

"Kawhi's a ceiling raiser. When you study past NBA champions, they have a top-five guy on their team, and Kawhi has shown that when healthy he can be the best player in the world. Paul is an eight-time All-Star now. So we're going to continue to build around those guys and look for every which way [to improve around them]."

Frank also said Leonard will be ready to go next season despite a torn meniscus, which meant he could not play in any of their last three games against the Suns, all defeats, while George has not played since March 21 after suffering a knee injury.

"Regardless of the treatment [for the meniscus], Kawhi will be ready for next year," Frank said. "The really encouraging thing is the ACL's firmly intact, which is great. So this is a meniscus tear. And then over the whatever next couple weeks, figure out what's going to be the best source of treatment."

Both Leonard and George are entering their fifth season with the Clippers, and have $48million player options for the 2024-25 campaign.

"Those guys are great players and they're great partners and we want to keep them as Clippers for a long time," Frank added. "And so we'll look forward to those [extension] conversations.

"And the No. 1 goal is 'How can we build a sustainable championship team?' And those guys have been great partners, so at the appropriate time, we look forward to sitting down with them."

Devin Booker was lauded for his incredible 47-point performance against the Los Angeles Clippers but acknowledged the Phoenix Suns would take "a good lesson" from their series-clinching win.

The Suns wrapped up a 4-1 series victory with a 136-130 success on Tuesday in which Booker tied his playoff career high. He scored 25 points in the third quarter alone, another high mark in any single quarter.

That display epitomised a sensational series for Booker, who averaged 37.2 points, shooting 60.2 per cent from the field and 85.7 per cent from the foul line.

Only Michael Jordan, in the first round in 1992, had previously averaged 35 or more points on 60 per cent shooting from the field and 80 per cent shooting from the line.

Reflecting on the third quarter, team-mate Kevin Durant said: "It was spiritual.

"I don't scream too much in games as I get older, but when he hit that three at the top of the key, I felt that energy, and I know everyone in the crowd felt it. We feed off his aggression."

Coach Monty Williams added: "When he's going like that, we're not calling any plays."

The fourth quarter was a different story, however.

Booker had only six points as the Clippers, still without Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, outscored the Suns by 11 to threaten a fightback.

"I think it's a good lesson for us moving forward," Booker said. "Don't play with your food. Finish out as strong as you can. Keep playing all the way until the whistle blows."

Trae Young kept the Atlanta Hawks' season alive with a deep three-pointer in the final seconds of their 119-117 road victory against the Boston Celtics in Game 5 on Tuesday.

The win, which cut the Celtics' lead to 3-2, looked exceedingly unlikely when a Jaylen Brown three-pointer put Boston ahead 109-96 with 6:10 on the clock.

Seven quick John Collins points brought the Hawks back into the contest, before back-to-back pull-up threes from Young tied things at 111-111 with 2:30 remaining.

After trading free throws late, the Hawks got the ball back with seven seconds, trailing by one with their season on the line.

Showing no fear, Young pulled up from way beyond the three-point line and drilled it, leaving not enough time on the clock for the Celtics to get a shot up.

Young had 14 points in the final 3:18 of play, finishing with a game-high 38 points on 14-of-33 shooting, while also adding a game-high 13 assists as fellow starting guard Dejounte Murray was out serving a one-game suspension.

John Collins chipped in 22 points (nine-of-18 shooting) and Bogdan Bogdanovic made the most of his spot start with 18 points (six-of-nine shooting), six rebounds and five assists.

For the Celtics, Brown was clearly their top performer with 35 points (15-of-23 shooting), while it was another disappointing showing from Jayson Tatum, hitting only one of his 10 three-point attempts on his way to 19 points, eight rebounds and eight assists.

Nuggets knock out the Timberwolves

Despite the best efforts of young Minnesota Timberwolves star Anthony Edwards, the Denver Nuggets prevailed 112-109 in Game 5 to secure the 4-1 series win.

Edwards again led the Wolves in scoring with 29 points (13-of-27 shooting), but he was outgunned by Nuggets guard Jamal Murray.

Murray finished with a game-high 35 points (12-of-23 shooting), making up for Nikola Jokic's uncharacteristic shooting night (28 points on eight-of-29 shooting), although he still collected a big triple-double with 17 rebounds and 12 assists.

The Nuggets will face the Phoenix Suns in the second round.

Booker leads the way as Clippers season comes to an end

Devin Booker capped a terrific individual series with another 47 points and 10 assists as his Suns beat the Los Angeles Clippers 136-130 in Game 5.

Booker came into the contest averaging 34.8 points and 5.5 assists while shooting 57.1 per cent from the field and 43.5 per cent from deep in the first four games of the series, and he shot 19-of-27 to close things out for a 4-1 series win.

Kevin Durant added 31 points and Deandre Ayton collected 21 points with 11 rebounds, closing the door on a Clippers team that never stood a chance after injuries to both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.

Chris Paul said he has "never played with this much talent" after helping the Phoenix Suns to an imposing 3-1 lead over the Los Angeles Clippers in their first-round playoff series.

The Suns are among the favourites to reach the Conference Finals from the West given a stacked roster that now includes Kevin Durant alongside Paul and Devin Booker.

Paul (19 points), Durant (31 points) and Booker (30 points) all contributed in Saturday's 112-100 victory, which leaves the Suns one win away from progressing.

At 37, Paul – who spent seven years at the Clippers – has been around the block but this crop of Phoenix stars is among the best he has seen assembled.

"I've never played with this much talent," said Paul, who drained 12 of his points in the fourth quarter. 

"Where people are doubling off of me. I've never seen so many open shots.

"It's something that I'm getting used to. Trying to figure out when to pick your spots, when to be aggressive. We're figuring this thing out on the fly. I'm just happy that a few of them fell tonight."

The Suns were sloppy at the start of the second half, giving up seven straight points in the opening minute, leading to Paul aiming a few choice words at the team from the bench.

"I think the way the third quarter started, I was p*****. We all was," Paul added. 

"We were on the bench sort of going at each other. But it's healthy. Just trying to get us going. I tried to get myself going defensively. The shots, they're going to come."

One potential concern is a lack of depth, with Durant (45), Booker (42) and Paul (38) racking up big minutes – indeed the former two players are clocking an average of 43 minutes in the playoffs.

But Durant gave short shrift to the idea of being overworked.

"How'd I look tonight?" Durant said. "I felt great. I missed a lot of time this season. 

"I want to be out there every minute. I wish I could play 48 every game."

Durant also had high praise for Clippers star Russell Westbrook, who had a game-high 37 points.

Westbrook endured a tough spell at the Clippers' rivals the Los Angeles Lakers, but Durant said he is among the best in the business.

"People going to always criticise when you're successful and doing your thing for this long. Russ has been resilient his whole life. He comes to work, doesn't say much. Just come hoop," Durant added.

"When he retires, people are going to really tell the truth about his game. Right now, the fun thing to do is to make a joke out of Russ. But the way he's been playing since he got with the Clippers is showing everybody who he really is."

Anthony Davis bounced back while LeBron James scored 25 points as the Los Angeles Lakers claimed a 2-1 first-round series lead with a 111-101 win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday.

Ja Morant returned from a hand injury for the Grizzlies, scoring a game-high 45 points, including 22 in a row for his team in the fourth quarter at Crypto.com Arena.

But the damage was done early, as the Grizzlies shot three-of-25 in the first quarter as the Lakers raced to a 35-9 lead.

Dillon Brooks was ejected for a flagrant 2 foul early in the third quarter following a hit to James' midsection, following tension between the pair after the former's comments after Game 2.

James put that aside to score 25 points on 10-of-20 shooting with nine rebounds, while Davis scored a team-high 31 points with 17 rebounds and three blocks.

The Grizzlies scored the final 10 points of the second quarter to close to 53-37 at half-time but were not helped by Brooks' ejection with 11:43 left in the third.

The Lakers kept Memphis at arm's length for most of the game, although Morant's remarkable fourth-quarter scoring run offered hope, getting within 10 points after a three-pointer with 2:54 left.

Jaren Jackson Jr lost the battle against Davis, contributing 13 points with five rebounds while Desmond Bane was kept to 18 points on three-of-seven three-point shooting. Morant made six-of-10 three-pointers, with 13 assists and nine rebounds.

Heat upset Bucks but left with injury worries

The Miami Heat claimed a 2-1 series lead with a 121-99 victory over the Eastern Conference top seed Milwaukee Bucks who were without Giannis Antetokounmpo due to a bruised lower back again.

But the excitement for the Heat was quelled by a worrying knee injury suffered late by Victor Oladipo, while Jimmy Butler battled a sore glute.

Butler top scored for Miami with 30 points on 12-of-19 shooting in 28 minutes. Duncan Robinson, on his 29th birthday, added 20 points on five-of-six three-point shooting.

Milwaukee shot at 44.7 per cent from the field, giving up 18 turnovers. Khris Middleton top scored with 23 points and six assists but was guilty for five turnovers.

Nets swept again, Suns go 3-1 up

The Brooklyn Nets suffered a first-round series sweep for the second straight year after the Philadelphia 76ers triumphed 96-88 in Game 4 despite the absence of Joel Embiid.

Tobias Harris scored a game-high 25 points with 12 rebounds, while James Harden had 17 points on four-of-18 shooting with eight rebounds and 11 assists. Embiid was out due to sprained right knee.

Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie managed a team-high 20 points and Nic Claxton had 19 points with 12 rebounds and four blocks.

The Phoenix Suns took a 3-1 lead in their series against the Los Angeles Clippers with a 112-100 win headlined by Kevin Durant's 31 points, 11 rebounds and six assists and Devin Booker's 30 points.

Two of the most important players in the playoffs will miss their respective Game 4s as Philadelphia 76ers MVP favourite Joel Embiid and Los Angeles Clippers franchise player Kawhi Leonard battle injuries.

It was announced on Friday that Embiid had suffered a knee sprain and would be unable to suit up for Game 4, although he is expected to return "early next week", per ESPN.

The 76ers lead their series against the Brooklyn Nets 3-0, with Tyrese Maxey stepping up as Philadelphia's top scoring option down the stretch of Game 3.

Embiid is having a down series by his lofty standards, averaging 20.0 points, 11.3 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 2.3 blocks in the three games so far, shooting 46.2 per cent from the field and only hitting one of his eight three-point attempts.

Meanwhile, Leonard was a surprise absentee in Game 3 with a knee injury of his own, and he has not been able to recover in time to make it back for a crucial Game 4 with his Clippers trailing 2-1.

Leonard has returned to his status as one of the best players in the league, and he was averaging 34.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 2.0 steals through his two games against the Phoenix Suns this series, shooting a blistering 54.5 per cent from the field, 60.0 per cent from deep and 88.2 per cent from the free throw line.

The Clippers lost Game 3 despite receiving a 42-point outburst from Norman Powell and a 30-point, 12-assist showing from the resurgent Russell Westbrook.

Russell Westbrook believes the Los Angeles Clippers were missing "the best in the world" as Kawhi Leonard sat out a Game 3 defeat to the Phoenix Suns.

Devin Booker scored 45 points as the Suns beat the Clippers 129-124 on Thursday to take a 2-1 lead, and only the Phoenix star is scoring more points so far in the postseason (36.3 per game) than Leonard (34.5).

But Leonard was not on the floor, watching instead from the sideline due to a knee injury.

The setback was only reported hours before the game in Los Angeles, although it was quickly clarified it was not related to the ACL injury that saw him miss the whole of last season.

Leonard could be back for Game 4, but his absence was a blow – especially as the Clippers came so close to beating the Suns even without him.

"I just feel sorry for him," team-mate Westbrook said. "He probably was playing his best basketball in a while, probably the best in the world, honestly. It just sucks just for him mentally.

"But it was good to see him be around and communicate with us on the bench. Hopefully we can see how he's feeling and see what's next.

"If he's not back, we have to rally around each other, support each other, find ways to make something happen. It's a series. First to four. Get ready for Saturday afternoon."

Coach Ty Lue added of the injury: "It's very deflating. I think more so for Kawhi.

"You have a guy who's coming off ACL, hasn't missed a rehab session, eats right, eats clean, does everything he can for his body, works extremely hard to get to this point. Then you have something like this happen.

"So, it's tough for him, for all the work that he puts in. I feel bad for him."

The Los Angeles Clippers will be without Kawhi Leonard in Game 3 against the Phoenix Suns due to a knee injury for the two-time NBA champion.

Leonard averaged 34.5 points across the first two games of the first-round playoff series, despite sustaining a right knee injury in Game 1 and playing through the pain in Game 2.

Yet the 31-year-old will miss Thursday's third showdown between the two teams, with the series tied at 1-1, according to reports.

Leonard's recovery from a knee strain will be monitored on a day-to-day basis, ESPN said, as the Clippers hope their five-time All Star will be healthy for Saturday's Game 4.

The two-time Finals MVP's aggravation of a knee problem is not related to the ACL injury that saw him miss the whole of last season, the ESPN report added.

The Clippers are already without fellow star Paul George, who is also recovering from a knee injury.

Kevin Durant said Devin Booker "can do everything at an elite level" after scoring 38 points on 64 per cent shooting in the Phoenix Suns' first round playoffs Game 2 win over the Los Angeles Clippers.

Booker was in scintillating form, making 14-of-22 from the field including four-of-seven from the beyond the arc, with nine assists as the Suns triumphed 123-109 to level the series after two games at Footprint Center in Arizona.

Durant contributed 25 points on 10-of-19 shooting with five assists, but was quick to praise his team-mate.

"He's an all-around player," Durant told reporters about Booker. "He can do everything at an elite level on a basketball court."

Booker's display came after a minor dip in offensive output late in the regular season where he averaged 24 points in their final six games, failing to have any 30-point games during that stretch.

Suns head coach Monty Williams insisted he was never worried about Booker's form and added to the praise.

"Book scores in a number of ways and when he's going like that, I think the team feeds off his high level play," Williams told reporters.

Booker scored or assisted 28 of the Suns' 33 third-quarter points as they pulled clear after scores were locked 59-59 at half-time.

"I was planning on taking him out the first two minutes of the fourth, then he got going, and then I said 'one more play', then 'one more play' and he kept hitting shots, so I just let him go," Williams said.

"When he's attacking like that, knocking down big shots from outside it just keeps everybody off balance."

Game 2 was Phoenix's ninth win from 10 games with Durant in the side, having been traded in from the Brooklyn Nets in February.

Williams added: "I thought the spacing was a lot better. Just having the balance of [Booker] and Kevin being able to get to their spots with a live ball helps. I thought Chris [Paul] did a really good job of putting the ball in Book's hands and saying 'you go'."

The Cleveland Cavaliers played some role reversal with their star backcourt on Tuesday as Darius Garland led the scoring charge to defeat the New York Knicks 107-90.

The Game 2 victory tied the series at 1-1 after the Knicks took the opener on the road, but following his 38-point performance in Game 1, Cavaliers All-Star Donovan Mitchell assumed point guard responsibilities.

Mitchell dished a career-high 13 assists to go with 17 points as he went six-of-11 from the field, setting up Garland to shoulder the scoring workload.

After 17 points in Game 1, Garland posted a game-high 32 on eight-of-17 shooting, draining six-of-10 from long range, and he also chipped in seven assists in a masterful offensive showing.

Evan Mobley, who was third in Defensive Player of the Year voting, blocked two shots and snatched two steals to go with his 13 points and 13 rebounds, while his interior partner Jarrett Allen racked up three steals and three blocks as they controlled the paint throughout.

For the Knicks, who found themselves down 59-39 at half-time and could not claw their way out, Jalen Brunson shot a disappointing five-of-17 from the field for his 20 points, although he added six assists and four steals.

Julius Randle was not much better, finishing with 22 points on eight-of-20 shooting with eight rebounds and six turnovers, and the Knicks shot seven-of-29 (24.1 per cent) from three-point range.

After splitting the first two games, the Knicks will head to Madison Square Garden for Games 3 and 4 with home court advantage now in their favour.

Boston's White knight delivers

Complimentary guard Derrick White gave the Boston Celtics a match-winning cameo in their 119-106 Game 2 victory over the Atlanta Hawks.

White, who was one of only 10 players this season to play all 82 games in the regular season, put together a terrific game with 26 points (11-of-16 shooting), seven rebounds, three blocks and a steal after starting and playing 34 minutes.

His hot-shooting night saw him usurp Jaylen Brown for the evening in shot attempts as the Celtics' second All-Star chipped in 18 points (seven-of-14), three steals and two blocks, while First Team All-NBA candidate Jayson Tatum led the way with 29 points (12-of-22), 10 rebounds and six assists.

Dejounte Murray was strong for the Hawks with 29 points (11-of-24), six rebounds, six assists and four steals, finishing with a dead-even plus/minus in his 40 minutes, but Trae Young was minus 15 and Atlanta were torched when he was left on the floor without Murray.

While the Celtics will take a 2-0 lead to Atlanta for Games 3 and 4, the Hawks can put all the pressure back on Boston by holding serve at home.

Booker shines for the Suns

Devin Booker stepped up and helped his Phoenix Suns tie their series at 1-1 with a 123-109 triumph over the visiting Los Angeles Clippers.

Booker put up a game-high 38 points on 14-of-22 shooting, playing 45 out of a possible 48 minutes while also leading the Suns with nine assists.

Kevin Durant was excellent in support with 25 points (10-of-19), six rebounds, five assists, two blocks and a steal, while Deandre Ayton added 14 points with 13 rebounds and Chris Paul chipped in eight assists to go with his 16 points.

It was another ubiquitous performance from two-time NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard as he embarks on his quest to join LeBron James as the only Finals MVP-winner with three different teams.

He had a team-high 31 points (11-of-20), a team-high seven assists and a team-high three steals, while Russell Westbrook posted 28 points (nine-of-16), five rebounds and five assists, but they did not have enough help.

The series will head to Los Angeles for Games 3 and 4.

Russell Westbrook delighted in his match-winning play after a mixed Los Angeles Clippers turn during victory against the Phoenix Suns in the NBA playoffs.

The point guard shot only 3-for-19 during Sunday's 115-110 Game 1 victory in the first round, and was involved in a fan confrontation at half-time.

But eight assists and 11 rebounds, coupled with the clinching defensive block on Devin Booker, saw him still register a vital contribution to start the postseason.

Speaking afterwards, Westbrook spoke of his glee at being able to showcase his all-around skills, particularly in his efforts to close down Booker.

"My whole career, I [have] prided myself every season on doing everything," he said. "Whatever is needed of me to win the game, I'll do it.

"You [have] just got to make sure [Booker] sees you, make sure he knows that you're there. He's a hell of a shot-maker, one of the elite scorers. [You have to] try to make it difficult for him."

With Westbrook posting single-figures with ball in hand, it fell to Kawhi Leonard to lead the way for the Clippers with an excellent 38-point performance.

His turn drew plaudits from his team-mates, with Westbrook adding: "His patience [and] his awareness throughout the game was amazing.

"He's been like that for us since I've been here. We had his back on the defensive end. We'll make sure we find ways to keep making the game easy for him."

The Clippers face the Suns on the road at Footprint Center again on Tuesday, and could take a 2-0 record home to California ahead of Game 3 if they claim victory.

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