The Los Angeles Lakers extracted a small measure of revenge for six years of frustration Wednesday night when rookie Josh Hart poured in a season-best 30 points in a 115-100 thumping of the rival Los Angeles Clippers in the regular-season finale at Staples Center.
The win was just the Lakers’ third in 24 meetings with the Clippers since 2012 and allowed them to avoid what would have been a fourth season-series sweep over that six-year run.
The game featured more star power on the bench than on the court, with the Lakers missing Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram and Isaiah Thomas while the Clippers were without Avery Bradley, Lou Williams, Danilo Gallinari and Patrick Beverley.
The Lakers, who had lost six of their previous seven games, led just 69-62 midway through the third period before Hart bombed in four 3-pointers in a 17-5 flurry that opened a 19-point advantage.
Hart, acquired on draft night from the Utah Jazz, shot 7-for-9 from 3-point range and 9-for-15 overall in his 30-point outing.
Lakers guard Gary Payton II, who had never previously scored more than eight points, added 25 points and a career-high 12 rebounds. Alex Caruso had 15 points and Brook Lopez 14 for the Lakers, who finished the season 35-47, a nine-game improvement over last season.
Payton, Caruso and Lopez hit three 3-pointers apiece to help the Lakers outscore the Clippers 51-18 from beyond the arc.
The losing season was the Lakers’ fifth straight.
Tobias Harris had a team-high 23 points for the Clippers, who finished the season losing six of their last seven.
Harris, acquired in the in-season Blake Griffin trade with Detroit, hit nine of his 15 shots.
Boban Marjanovic recorded a 12-point, 10-rebound double-double, while Montrezl Harrell totaled 15 points, Sindarius Thornwell 12 and Sam Dekker 10 for the Clippers, who finished 42-40, their seventh consecutive winning season.
The Clippers won nine fewer games than last year’s club that made the playoffs for the sixth consecutive time.
—Field Level Media