Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard (2) finished with a game-high 36 points in a 144-122 win over the New York Knicks on Saturday, December 16. 2023 (Courtesy photo)

Kawhi Leonard once again only needed three quarters to completely dominate the competition, leading the way for a Los Angeles Clippers team that has yet to lose in December.

Leonard scored 36 points on 12-of-16 shooting, making five three-pointers as the Clippers cruised past the New York Knicks for a 144-122 victory on Saturday night for their seventh consecutive win.

Los Angeles improved to 15-10 on the season with the win and have now won 12 of their last 15 games. The Clippers had seven players finish in double figures as the team converted 16-of-33 three-pointers.

“Just clicking with everybody on the team,” said Leonard, who also added seven rebounds, four assists, and two steals. “We’re in a good rhythm right now. There’s some minor things we still need to get better at.”

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Paul George returned to the lineup after missing one game with groin soreness and had 25 points, James Harden finished with 10 points and 12 assists for the Clippers. Norman Powell had 16 off the bench and Ivica Zubac recorded a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds.

“Honestly, we’ve been locked in, everybody’s playing at a high level,” George said. “We’re taking care of the ball. Our defense has been great. And our attention to detail has been great.”

Leonard has tallied 142 points over the last four games and has taken charge in leading the Clippers lately on the offensive end.

“It’s exactly what I envisioned, just how we should play and how we can play,” Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said. “The biggest thing is just PG, Kawhi and James making each other better on a night-to-night basis.”

Knicks (14-11) guard Jalen Brunson, who was fresh off a career-high 50-point performance against Phoenix on Friday night finished with 22 points against Los Angeles. Julius Randle had 22 and RJ Barrett and Donte DiVincenzo added 18 points apiece for New York.

The Clippers led 35-33 after the first period and closed the second quarter on a 21-8 run to take a 77-66 lead into halftime.

Leonard made back-to-back threes in the third to give Los Angeles a commanding 105-85 lead with less than four minutes left in the period as the Knicks trailed by as many as 30 in fourth after Brandon Boston and Kobe Brown converted threes with 2:55 left in the game.

“Right now, no one is playing great defense,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said. “We got to fix that as a group.”

The Clippers are now on a three-game road trip and defeated the Indiana Pacers 151-127 on Monday.

Los Angeles will face Dallas on Wednesday and Oklahoma City on Thursday to close out the trip looking to stay undefeated in December.

“Some great offensive teams, but we got some good defenders on this team and guys with high IQ, that read very well on defense that can make plays,” Zubac said. “It’s going to be a great test for us.”