Paul George scored 20 points and the Los Angeles Clippers put together an overwhelming second-half stretch to beat the host Charlotte Hornets 113-90 on Thursday night.
Reggie Jackson poured in 19 points, Kawhi Leonard posted 16 points and Marcus Morris Sr. provided 15 points for Los Angeles. Nic Batum, a former Hornet, finished with 11 points as the Clippers improved to 2-0 midway through a four-game road trip to complete the regular season.
The Clippers made 21 of 45 attempts from 3-point range, with George and Jackson each connecting on five. George also grabbed 10 rebounds.
Los Angeles (47-23) has maintained a slim lead on the Denver Nuggets for third place in the Western Conference playoff pecking order.
The Hornets (33-37), who were playing in their home finale, have a three-game losing streak despite sealing a spot in the Eastern Conference postseason play-in round during that time frame.
LaMelo Ball racked up 18 points and Bismack Biyombo had 13 points for Charlotte, which received 10 points apiece from Jalen McDaniels, Terry Rozier and Cody Zeller.
The Clippers began to take over with a 40-point third quarter, after only managing 13 points in the second quarter.
Los Angeles’ lead grew to 90-77 — buoyed by the first six points of the final quarter by two Rajon Rondo 3-pointers — as the Hornets went more than three minutes without scoring to begin the fourth quarter. Charlotte’s first two points of the quarter came on free throws as they had an eight-minute stretch dating back to the third quarter without a basket from the floor.
The Clippers scored 16 of the first 18 points in the fourth, extending their advantage to 100-79 before Devonte’ Graham’s 3-point basket with 5:25 to play.
The Hornets scored the last five points of the first half for a 47-44 lead at the break. Charlotte shot only 37.8 percent from the field in the half.
The Clippers managed just one field goal in the last 5 1/2 minutes of the first half. Los Angeles was charged with nine first-half turnovers, continuing a trend that has been troublesome for the team. It had 17 turnovers in the game.
Half of the Clippers’ 16 successful first-half field goals were 3-pointers.
–Field Level Media