NBA: Clippers move into fifth in West by holding off Lakers
Norman Powell scored 27 points off the bench and Kawhi Leonard added 25 as the Los Angeles Clippers moved closer to securing a top-six spot in the Western Conference with a 125-118 victory over the visiting Los Angeles Lakers.
The Clippers won their 11th consecutive game against the Lakers over the past three seasons.
Ivica Zubac scored 17 points with 13 rebounds and Russell Westbrook had 14 points against his former team as the Clippers (42-38) avoided slipping into the play-in tournament field. The Clippers improved to 4-3 since star Paul George went down with a knee injury.
The Clippers are tied with the Golden State Warriors (42-38) for fifth in the West, but Los Angeles holds the tiebreaker.
LeBron James scored 33 points and Anthony Davis added 17 points with 11 rebounds as the Lakers (41-39) saw their four-game winning streak come to an end. James and Davis played on consecutive nights after a 135-133 overtime road victory against the Utah Jazz on Tuesday.
Austin Reaves scored 20 points and D’Angelo Russell added 15 for the Lakers, who already have secured a spot in the play-in tournament. The Lakers also entered with seven victories in their previous eight games.
Both teams have two regular-season games remaining.
The Clippers had better energy early, leading by as many as 12 points in the first quarter before the Lakers rallied back to trail 37-31 at the end of the opening period.
The Clippers surged forward to lead 71-52 at halftime and had a 24-point lead early in the second half.
Again, the Lakers rallied, pulling within 79-71 with 6:02 remaining in the third quarter after a 14-2 run. The Clippers led 93-82 at the end of three quarters.
The Clippers took command with a 9-2 run to take a 112-92 lead with 6:35 remaining on a fastbreak alley-oop dunk by Leonard. Bones Hyland did not score in the first three quarters for the Clippers before making three 3-pointers and scoring 14 points in the fourth quarter.
Leonard, who added seven rebounds and shot 4 of 7 from 3-point range, played the entire second half for the Clippers after the team last played Saturday.