A combined team effort gifts LA Clippers much-needed win over Lakers

Kawhi Leonard, Norman Powell, LA Clippers - Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Kawhi Leonard, Norman Powell, LA Clippers - Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

Coming into last night’s matchup, the LA Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers shared the same record.

41 wins. 38 losses.

21-18 at home. 20-20 away.

The winner of the game would have jumped up to the fifth seed, while the loser would have fallen to the seventh.

And in arguably the most important game of the season, it was the Clippers that striked first, eventually knocking down their across-the-hallway rivals, 125-118.

Former Laker Russell Westbrook came out swinging for the fences to start the game. Hungry for revenge, the veteran point guard blocked Austin Reave’s shot from behind and connected to a jumping Ivica Zubac in the subsequent play.

On the offensive end, given a ton of space by his ex-teammates, Westbrook didn’t hesitate to pull the trigger from deep, and he made them pay. Draining a couple of threes and two mid-range jumpers, the nine-time All-Star finished the first quarter with 10 points.

The scoring torch was then passed onto Norman Powell. Despite not getting early foul calls, Powell persistently attacked the rim. The Clippers’ sixth-man found his way to the line ten times as he finished with a team-high 27 points.

The team’s anchor to success, Kawhi Leonard, did most of the team’s heavy lifting throughout the game: he logged a game-high 43 minutes, scoring 25 points on 9-of-17 shooting. Leonard’s exhilarating slam in the fourth quarter put an end to the Lakers’ remaining hopes of winning the game.

The LA Clippers’ young core guided the team to victory.

With an added boost from the team’s young one-two punch of Terance Mann and Bones Hyland, the LA Clippers managed to maintain the lead and eventually pull out with a win.

This stylish win over the Lakers marks the Clippers’ eleventh in a row against their Los Angeles counterparts. Riding from momentum, the Clippers will prepare for their final home game of the season against the Portland Trail Blazers.

Cause and effect of Batum starting for the Clips'. dark. Next

Although there are just two games left of the regular season, it is still too early to tell where the Clippers will end up — though the fifth-seed and sixth-seed seem to be the most probable.