Paul George made two free throws with 1.9 seconds left for the game’s final points to seal the victory for the Clippers (23-10). The sold-out crowd at Staples Center was announced at 18,997 for the Lakers home game.
Three other Clippers scored in double figures. Leonard, a San Diego State alum, added to his total with 11 in the fourth quarter, including a three-pointer and six free throws. He also pulled down a game-high 12 rebounds.
He downplayed the importance of the win over the Lakers, and called it just “another road game.”
The Clippers out-rebounded the Lakers 50-42 and held them to three points over the final five minutes of the game. The Lakers have lost seven of their last 10 Christmas Day games.
A dunk by Anthony Davis off an assist by LeBron James gave the Lakers a 103-101 lead with 4:58 to play. However, the Lakers missed eight of their next nine shots, including all seven 3-point attempts. They have lost four straight.
Kyle Kuzma led four Lakers (24-7) in double figures with 25 off the bench. James added 23, with 11 in the fourth quarter and had a game-high 10 assists.
The Lakers played on Christmas Day for the 21st consecutive year. They sought to increase their NBA-record 23 Christmas Day victories, one more than the New York Knicks. The Knicks, meanwhile, didn’t play Wednesday.
Leonard, in his first season with the Clippers is averaging almost 26 points a game, along with eight rebounds and five assists.
The Lakers have played on Christmas 46 times, second-most in NBA history. They trail the Knicks, who have played on Christmas 53 times.
This was the Clippers’ first Christmas Day game since 2016 and 16th in their 50 seasons. They are 7-9 on Christmas Day.
– City News Service