Kawhi Leonard scored a season-high 43 points, and the Los Angeles Clippers pounded the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers 128-103 on Tuesday night.
Clippers forward Paul George missed his third consecutive game due to a strained left hamstring, but Leonard more than made up for his absence. Leonard connected on 14 of 22 shots from the floor and 6 of 10 3-point tries in 29 minutes.
Leonard, who scored at least 30 points for the third straight contest, topped his previous season high of 42 points, set against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Dec. 13. He fell two points shy of his career high, which he recorded last season with the Toronto Raptors against the Utah Jazz.
Lou Williams had 24 points on 10-of-13 shooting, and Ivica Zubac added 12 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks for Los Angeles. Patrick Beverley contributed 10 points, nine assists and seven rebounds while Landry Shamet and Montrezl Harrell chipped in 12 points apiece.
Collin Sexton led the Cavaliers with 25 points, and Cedi Osman scored 21. They combined for nine of Cleveland’s 14 3-pointers. Darius Garland had 14 points and 10 assists.
The Clippers used a 13-0 run to close the first half for a 66-50 edge at the break. Los Angeles outscored Cleveland 35-24 in the second quarter. Leonard scored 26 in the first half.
Los Angeles continued to pour it on in the third. After Sexton’s 3-pointer cut the deficit to 70-59 less than two minutes into the quarter, the Clippers went on a 19-5 surge for an 89-64 advantage after a pair of free throws by Williams with 4:48 left.
The Clippers held a 106-71 lead heading into the final quarter.
The Clippers had 20 of their 29 assists in the first half.
The Cavaliers rested forward Kevin Love since the club was playing the second end of back-to-back contests.
Cleveland reserve forward Larry Nance Jr. returned after missing the previous six games with a knee injury. He finished scoreless in 19 minutes.