Kawhi Leonard’s triple-double lifts Clippers past Lakers

© Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
The Clippers reached an eight-game home win streak against their in-town rivals, 127-116.

LOS ANGELES – In the latest installment of the “Battle for LA” the Los Angeles Clippers came out on top over the Lakers. 

LeBron James watched from the sidelines with left ankle pain as Kawhi Leonard had a 25-point triple-double and carried the Clippers to their third straight win. 

Leonard and James Harden combined for 20 assists and 3 turnovers in Tuesday’s win. Meanwhile, the team collectively shot nearly 60%.

Despite James’ absence, D’Angelo Russell led the way for the Lakers with an impressive 27 points and 10 assists. Anthony Davis had 26 points and 12 rebounds.

“It’s a different dynamic with him not being out there,” Leonard said of James. “You saw guys came in and stepped up and made big shots for him.”

Turning point: The Clippers led at the break by double digits, 77-64. Russell and Davis managed to get a rally going in the third for the Lakers, eventually getting their team within four. The Lakers outscored the Clips, 33-29, to shrink the lead to 106-97 into the fourth.

The Purple and Gold kept their momentum going in the final period, making it a two-point game. The Clippers responded, however, with nine straight points to get their lead back to double digits. From there, the Clippers took full control of the court and snuffed out any chance of a late Lakers comeback.

What it means: The Clippers advance to 28-14 with Tuesday’s win to continue their hot streak inside Arena. The team now finds themselves just 1.5 games behind the Western Conference’s top-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder.

Meanwhile, the Lakers suffered their fourth straight road loss Tuesday and dropped back under .500 at 22-23. The last installment of the “Battle for LA” between the two teams this season is set for Feb. 28 at 7:00 p.m.

Hits: As stated before, the Clippers collectively shot 59.1% from the field and 51.9 from beyond the arc. The team also collected 33 assists compared to the Lakers 27, and finished with 68 points in the paint, a new season-high.

Stat of the game: Leonard’s triple-double against the Lakers Tuesday marks his second-ever career triple-doubles. The All-Star Clippers forward had 25 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists. This was also Leonard’s fourth career game with at least 10 assists, and his first in more than 3 years, according to The Athletic’s Law Murray. All of Kawhi’s 10-assist games have come with the Clippers.

Up next: The Clippers will wrap up their week of play with a back-to-back against the Toronto Raptors and Boston Celtics. LA will take on the Raptors Friday Jan. 26 followed by the Celtics on Saturday Jan. 27.