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LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers battled in a close game against Kawhi Leonard and the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday night in both teams’ first outing since March. The Lakers played phenomenal defense in the final two minutes of the game, allowing them to come away with a crunch-time win against their inner-city rivals. 

The Lakers hit the ground running and jumped to an early double-digit lead in the first quarter. The Clippers’ slow start didn’t define their game, which picked up momentum in the second as Leonard and teammate Paul George were able to bring the score back to within two points to end the first half. 

The Lakers’ Anthony Davis got hot in the third quarter, but the Clippers were still able to go into the final quarter with a one-point lead. However, James’ clutch performance on both ends of the court helped his team edge out the Clippers with a two-point victory to end the high-intensity game. 

Davis put up 34 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists and James got a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds to add to his 7 assists. George finished with 30 points to match Leonard’s 28.

Thursday night’s win was the Lakers’ 50th of this drawn-out season, and the first time they’ve reached the 50-win mark since the 2010-11 season when they finished with 57. They currently have the best record in the Western Conference and will be looking to tack on another win on Monday night when they take on the Utah Jazz at 6 PM PST. 

The Clippers are currently in second place in the Western Conference with a 45-21 record, putting them five and a half games behind the Lakers. They will look to get back to their winning ways on Saturday when they face the New Orleans Pelicans at 3 PM PST.

Written ByMatt Almeida

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