Clippers win round 1 of Battle for L.A. as Kawhi Leonard, Anthony Davis take centerstage
LOS ANGELES – After months of anticipation, the Battle for Los Angeles took centerstage on Tuesday night when the L.A. Clippers and Lakers faced off. Kawhi Leonard, LeBron James, and Anthony Davis did not disappoint, much to the delight of an electric Staples Center crowd.
The Clippers dusted off the cobwebs after a rough start en route to a 112-102 victory in what was an electric night.
Kawhi Leonard led the way for the Clippers with 30 points, six rebounds, five assists, two steals, and one block in 31 minutes of action. For the Lakers, Anthony Davis notched 25 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, one steal, and two blocks in 37 minutes. LeBron James added 18 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists in 36 minutes.
Without Paul George in the lineup, the Clippers decided to start Patrick Patterson tonight as the primary defender for Anthony Davis. That didn’t work out well, as the Lakers got out to a 13-2 lead quick.
Moe Harkless checked into the game and that changed everything for the Clippers. He helped spark a 40-point second quarter, including 15 fastbreak points.
The Clippers took a 14-point lead in the 3rd quarter and looked to be well on their way to victory, but the Lakers came back to tie it at 85 apiece entering a winner-take-all fourth quarter.
The fourth quarter saw Lou Williams (21 points, five rebounds, seven assists) and Montrezl Harrell (17 points, seven rebounds, four assists) take over when Leonard took breathers. He checked in with 5:11 left in the fourth quarter, and the trio put the finishing touches on the 10 point victory.
The Clippers get a day off and travel to San Francisco to battle the Golden State Warriors on Thursday night. Round 2 of the Battle for L.A. series will take place on Christmas Day. That time, however, Paul George is expected to be present.