Kawhi Leonard lifts Clippers to statement win over Kings

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Leonard scored 31 points in Los Angeles’ 119-99 victory against Sacramento.

LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Clippers hold the longest active win streak in the NBA with their most recent win Wednesday over the Sacramento Kings.  

Both the Los Angeles Clippers and Sacramento Kings met at Arena on the end of back-to-backs after squaring off less than two weeks ago.

With zero days of rest, the Clippers reached a season-high five-game run.

Turning point: From the moment the Clippers won the tip-off, they lived out their season mantra, “Give No Quarter.” 

LA outscored the Kings 32-24 to set the tone in the first. The Clippers led Sacramento by 29 points before the Kings managed to cut their deficit to 63-41 at halftime. 

A 13-4 Clippers run in the third allowed them to lead Sacramento by as many as 31 points. The team’s 55% shooting throughout three quarters allowed head coach Ty Lue to bring his bench into the fourth and carry to a 119-96 win. 

What it means: The Clippers pass the Houston Rockets for 7th in the Western Conference (13-10) with Tuesday’s win over Sacramento. Meanwhile Sacramento drops to 13-9 for 5th in the West. 

Los Angeles is now 2-0 this year against the Kings, and 9-3 when the team is at Arena.

Hits: Russell Westbrook continues to set the pace on both ends for the Clippers, contributing to their healthy lead throughout Tuesday’s game. Westbrook’s ball movement allowed for eight points on 4-8 shooting, 7 rebounds and 3 assists in 20 minutes off the bench. He also started the game at +16 in 10 minutes in the first quarter.

Since his decision to come off the bench with the secondary unit, LA is 10-3 since.

Misses: Paul George exited the game after the first half with left groin soreness while Norman Powell started in his place for the second half. George finished the half with nine points, six rebounds and two steals in 16 minutes. 

Backup center Mason Plumlee missed his seventeenth consecutive game this season as he continues recovery from a left MCL sprain. Moussa Diabate with soreness in his left hip. 

Stat of the game: On Nov. 25, Leonard was 2-for-12 when LA faced Dallas. Now in his past 11 quarters, Leonard has logged a whopping 106 points, 15 rebounds and 13 assists. He has shot at an impressive 36-for-56 from the field (64.3%) while going 11-for-19 in threes (57.9%). Leonard has also made all 23 of his free throws in his last 11 quarters.

Up next: LA will wrap up a four-game home stand this week when the team hosts the Golden State Warriors on Thursday and the New York Knicks Saturday. Then the Clippers will go on a three-game road trip with stops in Indianapolis, Dallas and Oklahoma City.