Kawhi Leonard and the Los Angeles Clippers were well on their way to winning their 38th game of the season and evening up the season series against LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers. And then the fourth quarter happened.

The Clippers, who led by 21 points early in the fourth quarter, were outscored 39-16 in the final period and lost for the third time in four games. Shocked Clippers fans at Crypto.com Arena were overwhelmed by the raucous Lakers crowd who had just watched one of the greatest comebacks in recent memory.

Kawhi Leonard finished with a team-high 26 to go along with seven rebounds and six assists. The night, however, belonged to the one and only LeBron James, who finished with a game-high 34 points, six rebounds, and eight assists. James single-handedly outscored the Clippers in the fourth quarter, 19-16, and shot 7-of-12 from the field in the final frame. He also shot 5-of-8 from three.

While LeBron's heroics were incredible, this outcome doesn't happen without the Clippers collapsing. Head coach Tyronn Lue took the blame for the loss immediately after in his postgame press conference.

“In the second half we got up and then we turned the basketball over, didn’t get back in transition, and then of course LeBron got it going and then offensively we weren’t very organized. We didn’t get organized, we didn’t do things we were supposed to do and so I take full responsibility for that. Just making sure we’re organized, knowing what we’re supposed to do. And like I said, then LeBron exploded.”

Kawhi Leonard, James Harden react to Clippers' collapse

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) shoots against Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard (2) during the second half at Crypto.com Arena.
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Leonard offered up similar sentiments.

“I mean tonight it pretty much was on us,” Kawhi Leonard said after the loss. “We had control of the game pretty much throughout the three quarters and then we got pretty stagnant, turned over the ball in that second half a little bit and they capitalized on it. I think they scored like 20 some points off of nine turnovers in the second half, so we got to do better, get back in transition if we do turn it over.”

James Harden poured in 23 points, three rebounds, and nine assists, but was held to just two points in the fourth quarter as the Lakers made their big run. With the loss, the Clippers' 1-3 record after the All-Star break can't be ignored as simple bad games here or there.

“[It was a] little bit of everything,” James Harden explained. “Injuries, a little of everything, it’s a part of it, but it's a long season. Obviously as much as you want to win every game, it's not reality. So just try to focus on game by game. And then even smaller than that, possession by possession. Like tonight was a tough one, but I think throughout the course of the game, for the most part, we played pretty well. So watch film, get better and be ready to go next game.”

In the loss, the Clippers coughed up 14 total turnovers which led directly to 30 points off turnovers for the Lakers. In addition to that, the Clippers also allowed 31 fast-break points.

“I think it's transition,” Kawhi Leonard added. “Even when we had stats of going 26-5 and we were 27th in transition defense. We got to do that. We got to get back, we got to talk, we got to communicate and we got to come in the game wanting to stop the other team.”

The Clippers will get a much easier test Friday night when the Washington Wizards come to town. It's still unclear whether or not Paul George or Ivica Zubac will be able to suit up.