Los Angeles Clippers stars Paul George (13) and Kawhi Leonard (2) combined for 59 points in a win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday in Los Angeles. File Photo by Jon SooHoo/UPI | License Photo
Dec. 23 (UPI) -- Paul George had 33 points to lead the Los Angeles Clippers to a win over the Los Angeles Lakers on the night that their rivals received their championship rings from the 2020 NBA Finals.
George also had six rebounds and three assists in the 116-109 victory on Tuesday at Staples Center in Los Angeles. He scored 26 points in the second half.
"I just played basketball, it's as simple as that," George told reporters. "I applied the work I put in this off-season. It's not going to be pretty every night, but tonight I got it going."
Fellow Clippers star Kawhi Leonard chipped in 26 points in the win. LeBron James had 22 points, five rebounds and five assists for the Lakers.
The Clippers never trailed in the victory.
"We didn't play like we wanted to in the first quarter and they came out like gangbusters," James said. "They hit us in the mouth. They did a good job of closing the third quarter out and we weren't able to get back into the game after that."
Leonard and Serge Ibaka scored eight points apiece in the first quarter to give the Clippers an early 39-19 advantage. The Lakers then outscored the Clippers 35-17 to cut the deficit to just two points at halftime.
The Lakers went on to tie the score in the third quarter before the Clippers held on down the stretch to secure their first win of the season.
Ibaka had 15 points in the win. Lou Williams and Ivica Zubac scored 11 points apiece for the Clippers.
Anthony Davis scored 18 points for the Lakers. Montrezl Harrell scored 17 points in the loss. Lakers guard Dennis Schroder had 14 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists.
The Clippers face the Denver Nuggets at 10:30 p.m. EST on Friday at Ball Arena in Denver. The Lakers host the Dallas Mavericks at 8 p.m. EST on Friday at Staples Center.
St. Vincent-St. Mary High School senior LeBron James (L) drives around a Zanesvuille defender in Akron, Ohio, on February 14, 2003. James is expected to be the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft. A couple months later, the Cleveland Cavaliers coach was suspended
because James worked out with the team before he graduated from high school. Photo by Tom Cammett/UPI | License Photo