NBA regular season

Fully healthy Clippers beat Hornets for 10th straight time

Reuters
Fully healthy Clippers beat Hornets for 10th straight time

LOCKED IN. Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard (2) controls the ball against the Washington Wizards during the first half at Crypto.com Arena

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports-Reuters

A team very rarely at full strength, the Los Angeles Clippers show off their title-contending potential with a quick blowout of the lagging Charlotte Hornets

Paul George scored 22 points to lead seven Los Angeles players in double figures as the Clippers dominated the first half en route to a 126-105 win over the visiting Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday (Thursday, December 22, Manila time).

Nicolas Batum scored 21 points on seven 3-pointers, Kawhi Leonard added 16 and Norman Powell had 14 for Los Angeles, which made a season-high 23 3-pointers and led by as many as 36 in the first half.

LaMelo Ball led Charlotte with a triple-double – 25 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists – while Mason Plumlee added 18 points and Jalen McDaniels finished with 16. Kelly Oubre Jr. had 13 points and P.J. Washington chipped in 11 for the Hornets, who have lost nine of 10.

Los Angeles was at full strength for the first time all season with several players returning to action, including Ivica Zubac, who had four points and eight rebounds in 23 minutes after missing the past two games with a left knee bruise.

The Clippers’ full roster made an immediate statement against Charlotte, which trailed 37-19 after shooting 22.7 percent in the first quarter.

Los Angeles carried the momentum into the second quarter and moved ahead 60-27 on George’s 3-pointer with 6:50 left in the half.

George had 14 points in the first half for the Clippers, who led 71-40 at the break after shooting 52.2 percent from the field, including 12 of 25 (48 percent) from beyond the arc.

The Clippers have won their last 10 meetings against the Hornets, who opened the second half on a 13-3 run to pull within 74-53.

Batum’s 3-pointer against his former team with 4:44 left in the third quarter pushed Los Angeles’ lead to 87-60.

Charlotte trailed 97-74 after three quarters and would get no closer than 14 points in the final period. The Hornets shot 40.2 percent and 9 of 31 (29 percent) from 3-point range.

Marcus Morris Sr. had 13 points for the Clippers, while Luke Kennard had 12 and Reggie Jackson finished with 10.

Los Angeles won for the fifth time in its last six games despite committing a season-high 27 turnovers. The Clippers shot 50.6 percent from the field and 23 of 49 (46.9 percent) from beyond the arc. – Rappler.com

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