By GREG BEACHAM – AP Sportswriter
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Reggie Jackson hit 12 of his season-high 36 points in the fourth quarter while adding nine assists and eight rebounds, and the Los Angeles Clippers ended a four-game win of the season against the Los Angeles Lakers with a 132-111 win Thursday night.
Ivica Zubac had 19 points and nine rebounds for the Clippers, who took control of the win and their seventh straight win over the Lakers overall by scoring 23 straight points in the first six minutes of the third quarter.
The Clippers beat their Cross-Hallway rivals 37-10 late in the third before driving to their fifth straight win in the last eight days, including two against the Lakers.
The win was the latest in a hot period for the Clippers, who have won seven of their last eight without what are arguably their three most talented players: Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and Norman Powell.
Though none of the trio are believed to be close to returning, Jackson and a gritty supporting cast have kept the clips on track for another playoff spot with an increasing chance of avoiding the play-in tournament following this win, which she drew within a game of seventh place Minnesota.
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“We came out with a mission,” Jackson said. “We wanted to close. We’re still a hungry team. … We feel like we are writing our own history. We know what the narrative is when our boys are out. We’re trying to do something special with this group. It’s about this team to make our own story.”
Jackson hit four 3-pointers and embarrassed a number of Lakers defensemen, particularly on a fourth-quarter show that had the Clippers’ share of the crowd singing his name. After Jackson and former teammate Russell Westbrook clashed and exchanged words, Jackson responded by drilling a 3-pointer over Westbrook’s defense to earn one of several standing ovations.
“He loves it,” Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said. “He loves the moment. He’s a great player. Sometimes we go back and forth, but he’s kept us together all year. … It was a struggle when we first lost PG because the offense is largely built around PG and Kawhi. But once we got a set rotation and figured out how to play, these guys got into it, and it starts with our veterans. That’s the kind of team and the kind of culture that we’ve built here.”
LeBron James had 26 points and eight rebounds for the Lakers, who have lost four straight games and seven of eight to fall under .500 (27-35) in their worst eight games of the season. A proud franchise that started the season with championship aspirations now sits two games ahead of Portland in eleventh place and there’s little reason to think its spiral will end anytime soon.
“We had a neighborhood that killed us,” James said. “It was the second quarter. Today was the third quarter.”
After the Lakers scored 14 straight points to end the first half just three points behind, the Lakers were oddly confused early in the third after the umpires failed to give James a continuation foul and they were unable to contest the call.
“We’re just persistent and keep at work,” said Lakers coach Frank Vogel. “We’re going to do everything we can to get this right, but it just didn’t work out for us. We’ll keep trying to find ways to win if Anthony (Davis) is out. It’s nothing we can’t do, but we haven’t found it yet.”
Lakers: Talen Horton-Tucker sat out after spraining his ankle on Tuesday. He was deemed likely ahead of the game. … The Lakers capitalized on their 31st starting lineup of the season when Dwight Howard moved in alongside rookie Austin Reaves and Malik Monk. … Wenyen Gabriel hit a late 3-pointer in his Lakers debut. Los Angeles signed him on Tuesday.
Clippers: Nicolas Batum appeared in his 900th NBA game of his career. … Lue had no updates on George, Leonard and Powell’s injuries: ‘I don’t know. We’re sorry.” …Justin Bieber, Rami Malek, Saweetie and UFC Middleweight Champion Israel Adesanya attended the match.
DJ Augustin had three points and six assists on his debut with the Lakers, signing the 14-year-old NBA veteran Tuesday to bolster their backcourt depth. The Lakers are Augustin’s 11th NBA franchise; Houston waived him on February 11.
Lakers: Host Warriors on Saturday.
Clippers: Host Knicks on Sunday.
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