Leonard, George, and defense lead Clippers past Knicks, 106-95

The Los Angeles Clippers put on a clinic in defense and offense, claiming their third consecutive win with a 106-95 victory over the struggling New York Knicks at crypto.com Arena on Saturday night (11). The star duo of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George delivered the goods, combining for 60 points, while their stifling defense held the Knicks to just 35.6% shooting from the field.

Leonard was the catalyst for the Clippers, scoring a game-high 38 points on 14-of-22 shooting, while George added 22 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists to his impressive stat line. Marcus Morris Sr. and Eric Gordon also contributed double figures with 11 and 10 points, respectively.

“I got some open looks in the third quarter,” said Leonard, who scored 19 in the third quarter, including three 3-pointers. “You know, started off attacking the basket, ended up getting that and-one. And then from there, just shot the ball with confidence.”

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Despite a commendable effort from Immanuel Quickley, who led the Knicks with 26 points, and Julius Randle, who added 19 points, the visitors struggled to find their rhythm throughout the game. Randle, in particular, had a tough shooting night, going 5 of 24 from the field.

Quickley managed to complete a double-double with 10 rebounds, while Mitchell Robinson added 14 rebounds but scored just six points on 2-of-8 shooting in the loss.

“I thought we played really well in the first half and for the most part played well in the third quarter, I didn’t like the way we started the fourth, and right now our margin of error is small,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said.

“We’ve got to understand that the intensity of the fourth quarter is different. So be ready to handle that.”

The Clippers took control of the game in the final quarter, limiting the Knicks to just 5-of-18 shooting from the field while converting 11-of-18 of their field-goal attempts.

Their defense was particularly impressive, holding the Knicks to just 95 points, marking the ninth time this season they have kept an opponent under 100 points.

The Knicks’ poor shooting was a major factor in the loss, as they finished the game shooting just 32-of-90 from the floor and a dismal 7-of-31 from beyond the 3-point arc. The defeat marked the second consecutive loss of their Western Conference swing, following their opening loss to Sacramento on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the Clippers continued their winning streak with this victory, improving their record to 3-0 over their current five-game homestand.

Ivica Zubac had a solid outing, scoring eight points on 4-of-6 shooting from the field and grabbing six rebounds, while Russell Westbrook, who passed Isiah Thomas for ninth on the NBA’s career assists list, chipped in seven points, five rebounds, and three assists.

“It’s great as a point guard like myself, the different conversations that I’ve had to overcome over my career to be on this side of it. It’s a special thing,” Westbrook said.