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Lakers Rally From 21 Behind To Beat Clippers, 116-112

LOS ANGELES, CA – FEBRUARY 28: LA Clippers guard James Harden (1) defends against Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23). Photo by Ric Tapia/Icon Sportswire

The battle in Los Angeles ended with the Lakers coming back from a 21 point deficit to beat the Clippers on Wednesday. The Lakers improved their record to 32-28 and currently are positioned in the 9th seed in the West. The Clippers dropped their second game in a row and fell to 4th place at 37-20. This was the first time the Clippers had lost back-to-back games since Dec. 23. 

Lebron James led the way in scoring with 34, 19 of which came in a brilliant fourth quarter. The 39-year-old James hit five of his season-high seven 3-pointers to outscore the Clippers by himself in the fourth quarter 19-16. Down the stretch he was able to either score or assist on 11 of the Lakers’ 13 buckets to end the game.

Anthony Davis put up yet another solid double-double with 20 points and 12 rebounds. D’Angelo Russell and Rui Hachimura had 18 and 17 points respectively. All of the Lakers starters reached double figures but they didn’t get much from the bench, who only had 14 points.

For the Clippers, Kawhi Leonard scored 26 points and James Harden had 23 points to go along with nine assists for the Clippers. Paul George was unavailable, missing his second straight game with a sore left knee. Starting Center Ivica Zubac was also out due to illness. 

Game Summary

The game started off relatively even as both teams traded baskets to end the 1st quarter at 30-29 in favor of the Clippers. It was there that the Clipper decided to crank it up on the defensive end. They held the Lakers to just 23 points in the second quarter while scoring 36 of their own. They went into the halftime break up 14, 66-52.

The Clippers were then able to build on the lead in the third, out scoring the Lakers 30-25.

They held a lead of 98-77 in the opening minute of the fourth quarter but from there it was all Lebron James and the Lakers. 

James led his team on a 29-8 run in just 7:34. Anthony Davis  made a pair of free throws which tied the game up at 106 with four minutes to play. James was then able to find Rui Hachimura for the go-ahead 3-pointer moments later.

D’Angelo Russell hit another dagger to put the Lakers up 114-108 with 1:12 to play. The Clippers kept pushing back however, with both Harden and Leonard scoring on quick drives to the hole. James missed a couple of shots which brought the game closer. 

Unfortunately for the Clippers Kawhi Leonard wasn’t able to convert on a 12-footer with five seconds to play. James took advantage, throwing a long pass to Cam Reddish for a dunk that cemented the comeback victory.

When everything was said and done, LeBron had accounted for 30 points via scoring and assists in the fourth quarter. He also boasted a point differential of +23 in the fourth, the highest since Ricky Davis in 2007. 

LeBron is now just 40 points away from hitting the 40,000 career-point mark. He will be the first player in the history of the league to ever do so.

Where are the Lakers now?

Despite one of their most impressive wins of the year, the Lakers are now only one game up in the loss column on the No. 10 Warriors. If they stay in a similar position come the end of the regular season they will be forced to take part in the play-in tournament.

If the Lakers plan to avoid the play-in tournament they will need to make a move and fast. With less than 30 games left in the season and three games back from 6th place, they will need a long win streak to make it through. 

The team made the move for Spencer Dinwiddie just before the trade deadline looking to improve their bench production. Dinwiddie has still been trying to find his feet in the offense but should provide some much needed scoring power come the playoffs.