Paul George finished with a team-high 27 points and nine rebounds, and Kawhi Leonard added 25 points to propel the Los Angeles Clippers to a 133-115 over the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night at Crypto.com Arena.
The Clippers (26-24) have beaten the Lakers in 10 straight games and moved into the 5th seed in the Western Conference, sitting only one game back from the 4th seed. The Lakers dropped to (22-26) overall and are currently two games out of the sixth seed.
The Clippers outrebounded the Lakers 47-32 and shot 50 percent from three-point range (19-38) on a season-high 15 makes in the first half. Norman Powell had 22 points and Reggie Jackson added 19 off the bench for the Clippers.
“We’re a better team when we play inside out. That means attacking the basket and making the right play,” Clippers coach Ty Lue said.
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LeBron James recorded a career-high nine three-pointers while finishing with 46 points, eight rebounds and seven assists on a historical night for the 38-year-old superstar.
“I’ve got to this place by not even thinking about it,” James said. “Just being in the moment, trying to play the game the right way. Even tonight, as well as I shot the ball, I was still trying to distribute to my guys, to make sure they felt some type of rhythm. That’s just always how I’ve played the game.”
“He’s a helluva player,” said Leonard on James.
In a losing effort, James became the first player in NBA history to score 40 points against all 30 franchises in the league.
“The league is his,” said George, who also made his own history by passing J.J. Redick for sole possession of 17th place on the NBA’s all-time three-point field goal list.
“Standup guy, been an amazing mentor to us younger guys,” added George on James’ 40-point night.
The Clippers were in control of the game from start to finish, never trailing on the night while jumping out to a commanding 77-54 lead at halftime.
Russell Westbrook had 17 points and Thomas Bryant finished with 15 for the Lakers, who are awaiting the return of their star big man in Anthony Davis (foot) sometime this week.
The Lakers shot 62 percent from the free throw line (15-24) and 44 percent from the field, struggling to keep pace with the Clippers who shot 60 percent for the game.
“We just don’t have room for error,” James said.
James scored 15 of the Lakers first 23 points in the fourth to get within 10, 113-100 with 6:46 left in the period.
“It was scary. I’ve seen that look in Bron. There was a moment where he had that look,” George added on James.
The Clippers quickly responded with an 8-0 run of their own after Leonard stole the ball off a bad pass and completed a three-point play after being fouled.
Jackson then hit a 3-pointer on the next possession and Leonard finished a dunk to take a 121-103 lead with just under six minutes to play and the Lakers were unable to overcome the deficit resulting in their 10th straight loss to the Clippers.
“(James) had a great shooting game, but we weathered the storm,” Lue said. “When they cut (the lead) to 10 and LeBron is on fire like that … we just tried to take everyone else out and make him go one-on-one.”