The LA Clippers might not have been busy on the trade market on Wednesday night, but the team played with more than enough activity to make up for it in their 134-101 rout of the San Antonio Spurs.
The Clippers thoroughly outplayed the Spurs, leading from wire-to-wire and dominating the game on both ends of the floor. LA's 33-point margin of victory is tied for their second-largest of the season, and it also marked the second time in the last week that LA has beaten an opponent by 27 points or more. To put it bluntly, the Clippers are rolling right now.
LA started the game with a bang, exploding for a season-best 41-point first quarter. As a team, the Clippers went 7-for-9 from three-point range and 7-for-14 from inside the arc and scored six points at the free-throw line. LA also gave up just two turnovers in the opening frame, furthering their recent trend of protecting the ball.
The second quarter was a significant step back for the Clippers, as the team scored just 26 points in the frame and struggled from deep. That said, LA still held its own on the defensive end of the floor, holding San Antonio to 37.5% shooting from the field. The Clippers' lead was trimmed to just seven points in the final minute of the quarter, but a quick 7-0 run helped extend it back to 14 at the break.
The Clippers didn't look back from there, outscoring the Spurs 67-48 over the final 24 minutes of the contest. LA was fortunate to get some in-game load management as a result — only three players went over 32 minutes, and Kawhi Leonard and Paul George combined to play a little more than five minutes in the fourth quarter.
LA has now won four of its last five games and three in a row, which is the team's longest winning streak since mid-February.
Let's take a look at a few other things that stood out from the Clippers' big win:
Lou Williams Reaches Scoring Milestone
Roughly halfway through the fourth quarter, Lou Williams sank a mid-range jumper that gave the Clippers a 26-point lead. He checked out of the game for good less than a minute later, having scored 16 points on the night and an even 15,000 for his NBA career.
"It's a blessing," Williams said after the game. "For where my career has gone. Everybody has dreams of being a superstar guy in this league. We all feel like we can do things, so for me to have 15,000 points off the bench, I'm incredibly honored. I'm sure I'm in great company north of 15,000 and I just feel blessed to still be here and able to continue my career."
Per Statmuse, Williams is one of just 13 active players with 15,000 career points. He's joined on the list by some all-time greats, including Stephen Curry, Dwight Howard, Chris Paul, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony and James Harden. Of those 13 players, Williams has the lowest career minutes per game.
Williams has always been a fantastic NBA player, but he's enjoyed a large chunk of his success with the Clippers. In four years with LA, Williams has accumulated 4,975 points — roughly a third of his career total — with the two highest-scoring seasons of his career to date coming in 17-18 and 18-19.
No matter what his future with the franchise looks like, Williams has already cemented himself as one of the greatest players in franchise history and perhaps the greatest bench player in the history of the NBA.
Luke Kennard Earns... Something
After his historic performance against the Atlanta Hawks, it appeared that Luke Kennard would be in line to play a more significant role for the LA Clippers. Coach Tyronn Lue seemed to confirm that as well, saying he had "earned something" with his recent play:
"The way he's performed the last four games he's played, he's definitely earned something. Just seeing the way he played, and when he came in the locker room, the guys poured water all over him and jumped up and down for him... We're just glad he's playing well right now and just happy for him for a night like tonight."
To his credit, LA's rotations did change up a bit on Wednesday night. Rather than logging a DNP or coming in for garbage time, Kennard saw close to five minutes of action in the first quarter. He played only seven minutes the rest of the way, though, most of which came when the game was already out of reach for San Antonio.
It was nice to see Kennard get some meaningful minutes on the floor, even if fans had something else in mind. Regardless of his role, the Clippers certainly seem to be in on Kennard, and he should only continue to see his minutes go up over the next few years.
Kawhi Leonard Buries His Former Team
Kawhi Leonard was instrumental in the defeat of his former team on Wednesday night, racking up 25 points (9-12 FG, 2-2 3P, 5-5 FT), seven rebounds, three assists and five steals in a little more than 32 minutes of action.
It was one of Leonard's most dominant games of the season — especially on the defensive end of the floor — and one of his most efficient on offense.
With the Clippers climbing back up the standings, Leonard has quietly been fortifying his MVP campaign. The 29-year-old wing is averaging 25.9 points, 6.3 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 1.8 steals per game this season, and he's done so on near-50/40/90 efficiency. Leonard is also playing back-to-backs again, which has been held against him in the past.
Whether he brings home any hardware or not probably doesn't matter much to him, but if Leonard can build upon his current level of play in the postseason (as he usually does), there aren't many reasons to bet against him taking another trip to the NBA Finals.