Los Angeles: Reigning play-off MVP Kawhi Leonard scored a team high 25 points as the Los Angeles Clippers won their sixth straight game with a 120-105 rout of the Houston Rockets on Thursday.
Ivica Zubac and Montrezl Harrell finished with double doubles for the Clippers in a battle between the two Western Conference powerhouses.
They have played each other four times this season with both teams winning twice. But the Clippers would have the edge if they tie in the standings because they have a better record against team in their conference.
The Rockets trailed by as many as 30 points and led only once at 4-2.
Leonard also had six rebounds and five assists and Zubac finished with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Harrell tallied 19 points and 10 rebounds for the visiting Clippers at the Toyota Centre arena.
The crowd was announced at 18,055 but only about half that figure remained for the fourth quarter as the smaller Rockets couldn’t keep pace with Los Angeles.
Paul George scored 13 points and Marcus Morris chipped in 11 points in the drubbing.
Russell Westbrook scored 29 points and had 15 rebounds while former league MVP James Harden scored just 16 points on dismal four-of-17 shooting for Houston.
Also, Jamal Murray drained a clutch jump shot with six seconds left to lift the Denver Nuggets to a 114-112 win over the Charlotte Hornets.
Murray finished with a team-high 18 points as seven Denver players scored in double figures.
Charlotte’s Terry Rozier missed desperation three-point attempt at the buzzer.
Will Barton finished with 16 points, Monte Morris posted 15 points, Jokic and Gary Harris each had 14 points and Paul Millsap and Grant scored 11 points apiece in the win.
Graham scored 24 points and PJ Washington had 20 points for the Hornets.
Rozier (19 points), Willy Hernangomez (14 points) and Zeller (10 points) helped give Charlotte a chance.