Clippers too strong for shorthanded Lakers

    DOUBLE TEAM: Clippers star Kawhi Leonard tries to elude the defense of the Lakers’ Kyle Kuzma and Markieff Morris in first half play. REUTERS PHOTO

    THE battle of Los Angeles turned into a lopsided affair as the Clippers clobbered the Lakers 104-86 on Sunday afternoon (Monday in Manila).

    The Clippers never trailed, starting the game on a 13-2 run, and leading by as many as 24 points. Swingman Marcus Morris Sr. led the charge, with 17 of his game-high 22 points in the first half.

    The Clippers snapped a two-game home losing streak. They also won the earlier matchup of the season between the two LA teams, a 116-109 decision in the season opener on Dec. 22.

    Kawhi Leonard totaled 19 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists. Paul George contributed 16 points and seven rebounds, while Luke Kennard chipped in 15 for the Clippers.

    Montrezl Harrell paced the Lakers with 19 points and six rebounds. Talen Horton-Tucker added 16 points and Marc Gasol contributed 11.

    The Lakers continue to struggle without LeBron James and Anthony Davis. James has been out two weeks while nursing a right, high-ankle sprain sustained on March 20 against the Hawks. The Lakers are 3-6 in that stretch.

    In other games, it was the Bulls 115, Nets 107; Celtics 116, Hornets 86; Grizzlies 116, Sixers 100; Hawks 117, Warriors 111; Pelicans 122, Rockets 115; and Nuggets 119, Magic 109.

    Bulls 115, Nets 107

    The Bulls halted a six-game losing streak, and breathed life into their playoff hopes by handling a Brooklyn lineup that was missing James Harden and Kevin Durant.

    The Nets, who had a four-game winning streak snapped, looked lethargic and out of sync playing without Harden and Durant, who continue to nurse hamstring injuries.

    The Bulls got a game-high 25 points from Zach LaVine and a strong effort from Tomas Satoransky, who added 19 points and 11 assists. Nikola Vucevic contributed 22 points and 13 rebounds for Chicago, while Kyrie Irving led six Nets in double figures with 24 points and a season-high 15 assists.

    Celtics 116, Hornets 86

    Jayson Tatum scored 22 points with eight rebounds, and Boston rode dominant middle quarters to a rout of Charlotte.

    A 19-4 run to open the second quarter, kicked off when Romeo Langford knocked down one of Boston’s 21 made 3-pointers on the night, turned a one-point deficit into a lead that never dipped below eight for the rest of the way.

    The Celtics closed the period on a 9-2 run to finish the period with a 33-17 edge, then carried the momentum into a 40-27 third quarter. Tatum closed the third with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer.