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Leonard leads Clippers past 76ers in Rivers' first game back

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Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard, right, shoots as Philadelphia 76ers forward Danny Green defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, March 27, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

LOS ANGELES – Kawhi Leonard scored 28 points, Terance Mann added a season-high 23 and the Los Angeles Clippers defeated the Philadelphia 76ers 122-112 on Saturday night in their first game against former coach Doc Rivers.

The Clippers won their fifth straight by playing the same type of basketball they did during seven seasons under Rivers — getting points in transition and strong games from Leonard and Paul George, who had 24 points.

“We fell behind early, but kept our composure. We figured it out and kept playing. Our mindset was right,” Los Angeles coach Tyronn Lue said. “Offensively we did a lot of great things. We attacked the paint and made the extra pass.”

Leonard missed Thursday's game at San Antonio due to a sore right foot, but didn't show any ill effects. The star forward had 19 points in the first half, including 12 in the second quarter.

Rivers, who was given a 90-second video tribute by the Clippers during the first timeout in the first quarter, said he wasn't surprised how his former team took control and started to pull away in the second half.

“They kept on the attack and moved the ball,” said Rivers, who took the Philadelphia job less than a week after being fired by the Clippers. “You can see they all trust each other with the ball. Kawhi and Paul played well. If they continue to do all that, they are going to be hard to stop.”

Tobias Harris scored 29 points for the Sixers, who had their six-game road winning streak snapped. Danny Green added 17 and Shake Milton 16.

Los Angeles led by five at halftime, but took command with seven straight points to open the third quarter. The Clippers were up 97-84 at the end of the period and led by 19 in the fourth.