Award-winning Leonard takes Spurs to playoff lead

Picks up NBA defensive player of the year award and scores career-best 32 points in defeat of Clippers.

    Leonard was MVP of the NBA Finals in 2014 when Spurs won the title [EPA]
    Leonard was MVP of the NBA Finals in 2014 when Spurs won the title [EPA]

    Kawhi Leonard was handed the NBA defensive player of the year award and then scored a career-best 32 points along with three steals as the Spurs defeated the Los Angeles Clippers 100-73 to take a 2-1 lead in their Western Conference first-round playoff series.

    Leonard, MVP of the 2014 NBA Finals after the Spurs won their fifth title, had 13 points in the third quarter, outscoring the Clippers by two.

    Elsewhere, James Harden scored a career-playoff-high 42 points and the Houston Rockets withstood Dallas' desperate punch to beat the Mavericks 130-128 and take a commanding 3-0 series lead.

    The Rockets can close out the best-of-seven playoff series and move on to the Western Conference semi-finals with a victory Sunday night back in Dallas.

    Marcin Gortat scored 24 points and guard John Wall had 19 points and 15 assists as the Washington Wizards downed the Toronto Raptors 106-99 for a commanding 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven playoff series.

    Six Wizards scored in double figures, including forward Paul Pierce with 18 points on four three-pointers.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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