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Clutch Luke Kennard, Clippers stage 35-point rally, beat Wizards

Clutch Luke Kennard, Clippers stage 35-point rally, beat Wizards
Los Angeles Clippers guard Luke Kennard (5) scored 12 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter in a win over the Washington Wizards on Tuesday in Washington, D.C. Photo by Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA-EFE

Jan. 26 (UPI) -- Luke Kennard hit two clutch 3-pointers, including one that resulted in a go-ahead 4-point play, leading the Los Angeles Clippers to an epic 34-point comeback victory over the Washington Wizards in Washington, D.C.

Kennard scored 12 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter of the 116-115 victory Tuesday at Capital One Arena. The Clippers earned their first lead when he followed a game-tying 3-pointer with a made free throw with 1.9 seconds remaining.

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"Little by little, that's what we kept telling each other, a little bit at a time," Kennard told reporters. "We had that belief in the back of our mind."

The comeback tied the Sacramento Kings for the second-largest since the play-by-play era started in 1996. The Kings also overcame a 35-point deficit in 2009 to beat the Chicago Bulls. The Utah Jazz rallied from 36 down in 1996 to beat the Denver Nuggets.

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The Clippers outscored the Wizards 65-44 off the bench, 52-46 in the paint and 16-6 off fast breaks. They outscored the Wizards 80-49 in the second half.

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"Our team keeps battling," Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said. "The coaching staff keeps finding combinations that will scrap and get it done. ... They tried to claw back into the game."

The Wizards started the game with a 9-0 run. Center Daniel Gafford scored 10 points over the first 12 minutes to help the Wizards take a 32-23 lead into the second quarter. All-Star guard Bradley Beal added seven points in the second. The Wizards led 66-31 with 80 seconds left in the first half and took a 66-36 edge into the break.

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Coffey poured in 13 points over the next 12 minutes, but the Wizards took a 93-76 lead into the fourth. The Clippers opened the final frame with a 10-1 run. They outscored the Wizards 22-10 over the final 4:33 to earn the victory.

Kyle Kuzma made a free throw to give the Wizards a 115-109 edge with 11.2 seconds remaining. Kennard hit a 32-foot 2-pointer about two seconds later to cut the deficit to three points.

The Wizards committed a 5-second violation on an inbound pass with 8.2 seconds remaining. Kennard then made another 3-pointer on the next possession and was fouled by Beal on the play. He then sank a free throw for the go-ahead score.

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Clippers guard Amir Coffey scored a game-high 29 points. Kennard totaled eight rebounds and six assists, in addition to his 25 points, off the Clippers bench. Isaiah Hartenstein and Terance Mann chipped in 16 points apiece for the Clippers.

Beal scored a team-high 23 points for the Wizards. Kuzma chipped in 19 points and 12 rebounds.

The Clippers (24-25) face the Orlando Magic (9-39) at 7 p.m. EST Wednesday at Amway Center in Orlando, Fla. The Wizards (23-25) battle the Memphis Grizzlies (32-17) at 8 p.m. EST Saturday at FedExForum in Memphis.

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