LeBron James hit a career-high nine 3-pointers while scoring 46 points, but the Los Angeles Clippers hit 19 3-pointers of their own on the way to a comfortable 133-115 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night.
James scored at least 40 points against the Clippers for the first time in his 20-year career, giving him a 40-point game against all 30 teams in the NBA. James hit his record ninth 3-pointer with 6:45 to play, setting a career high from distance in his 1,404th game.
James also ramped up his chase of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s career scoring record with his 101st 40-point game, including the postseason. He trails Abdul-Jabbar (38,387 points) by just 177 points, putting him in position to potentially break the record at the end of the Lakers’ upcoming five-game road swing instead of back home in Los Angeles.
James’ brilliance wasn’t nearly enough: The Lakers never caught up after falling behind by 23 points, and James spent the final minutes on the bench after the Clippers pulled away for their 10th consecutive victory over their arena co-tenants in downtown Los Angeles.
Paul George had 27 points and nine rebounds, and Kawhi Leonard added 25 points in the Clippers’ third straight win overall. The Clippers hit a season-high 15 3-pointers in the first half while scoring a season-high 77 points and jumping to a 23-point halftime lead.
Norman Powell had 22 points and Reggie Jackson added 19 for the Clippers.
Russell Westbrook scored 17 points and Thomas Bryant added 15 for the Lakers.
The Clippers never trailed, largely because of a spectacular outside shooting performance in the first half.
Powell hit four 3-pointers and George and Jackson added three apiece while the Clips went 15 of 23 behind the arc, making more 3s than two-point buckets (12) while going up 77-54. The Clippers hadn’t made 15 3-pointers in a half in the past three seasons.
James went tumbling headfirst onto the walkway behind the courtside seats while chasing a loose ball in the third quarter, but got up unhurt.
Rui Hachimura sat on the Lakers’ bench in street clothes one day after Los Angeles acquired him from Washington in a trade for Kendrick Nunn. The Japanese big man could be in uniform Wednesday.
“I’m super-duper excited” about the Lakers’ acquisition, coach Darvin Ham said. “A multifaceted, strong, skilled, athletic player. Definitely fills a big void and can just fall into the system seamlessly. … I think he’s going to bring a lot.”
Clippers: Marcus Morris left the game with bruised ribs. ... John Wall missed his sixth straight game with an abdominal injury. ... Luke Kennard missed his ninth straight game with a calf injury, but could return Thursday.
Lakers: Davis is close to his return, although the team still hasn’t put a date on it. Davis had “another great day” of rehabilitation, Ham said. ... Guards Lonnie Walker and Austin Reaves also are both close to returns from injury, Ham said. Reaves hasn’t played since Jan. 4, and Walker has been out since Dec. 28. ... Westbrook scored his 24,000th point in the first quarter, becoming the 28th player in NBA history to hit the mark.
Clippers: Host San Antonio on Thursday night.
Lakers: Host San Antonio on Wednesday night.