Kawhi Leonard and Paul George combined for 42 points in their first game together as the Los Angeles Clippers pulled out a 107-104 overtime victory over the Boston Celtics on Wednesday.
The game marked the first time George and Leonard played together since both joined the Clippers in the offseason.
Leonard, who scored 17 points on seven-of-20 shooting, was coming off a three game rest and George – who missed the start of the season with a shoulder injury – was playing in his fourth game.
Rivers said George, who finished with 25 points, is still trying to play himself into shape.
“I was more concerned minute wise with Paul than Kawhi,” Rivers said. “It is funny. He (George) told me in the first half ‘I got to play more because I got to get in better shape. I am exhausted out here.’ This game helped. He was pretty strong at the end.”
Lou Williams scored a team high 27 points and Patrick Beverley grabbed a career-best 16 rebounds to go along with 14 points and seven assists. JaMychal Green also added 10 points as Los Angeles won its third straight game.
Jayson Tatum led the Celtics with a season-high 30 points. Marcus Smart recorded 15 points and eight assists, Brad Wanamaker added 14 points, and Kemba Walker had 13 points and nine rebounds.
“It was a high-level game,” said Celtics coach Brad Stevens. “Both teams competed, even when the shots weren’t going down.”
Boston had their chances as Tatum missed a tying three-point attempt with two seconds left, and Leonard blocked Walker’s desperation three-point attempt just before the buzzer in overtime.
“That was an ugly win, but it was beautiful,” Rivers said.
Elsewhere, Luka Doncic posted his league-leading seventh triple double of the season en route to a 35-point performance as the Dallas Mavericks trounced the Golden State Warriors 142-94.
The 20-year-old Slovenian scored 35 points in just 26 minutes of playing time and he finished with 11 assists and 10 rebounds in front of a crowd of 19,500 at the American Airlines Center.
“He’s doing his thing, knocking down threes, drawing fouls. He took it to us,” said Warriors coach Steve Kerr of Doncic.
Doncic scored 33 of his points in the opening half en route to his second consecutive triple double. He was coming off a career-best, 42-point performance in a triple double Monday against San Antonio.
Tim Hardaway Jr. finished with 20 points and went four-for-four from beyond the arc for the Mavs, who posted their third straight win to start a four-game homestand.
Rookie Eric Paschall led Golden State with 22 points.
Also, Nikola Jokic posted a season-high 27 points and grabbed 12 rebounds as the Denver Nuggets snapped the Houston Rockets eight game win streak with a 105-95 win.
Will Barton had 15 points and seven rebounds, and Paul Millsap scored 11 points for Denver, which had all five starters finish in double figures en route to its seventh win in eight games.
James Harden finished with 27 points, seven rebounds and seven assists and Russell Westbrook added 25 points in the loss.
The Rockets were held to under 100 points for the first time this season as they turned the ball over 20 times.
In Toronto, Fred VanVleet scored 24 points and added seven assists, and the Toronto Raptors improved to 6-0 at home this season with a 113-97 win over the Orlando Magic.
It was the second win for the Raptors against the Magic this season.
Terence Davis had a career-best 19 points and Pascal Siakam tallied 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Raptors who shot 52 percent from the floor.
Norman Powell added 15 points and Chris Boucher delivered 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Centre Nikola Vucevic and forward Aaron Gordon left the game with sprained ankles in the first half and did not return.