Paul George scores season-high 38 to lead Clippers over Thunder

Paul George scored 18 of his season-high 38 points in the fourth quarter as the Los Angeles Clippers got the best of a matchup between two of the top teams in the Western Conference with a 128-117 victory over the visiting Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday.

James Harden and Kawhi Leonard each scored 16 points while Mason Plumlee added 14 as the Clippers won without center Ivica Zubac (calf) while improving to an NBA-best 18-4 since the start of December. Harden had eight assists.

The Clippers won the opener of a three-game home stretch that will be followed by seven consecutive road games against Eastern Conference teams.

Jalen Williams scored 25 points and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander added 19 as the Thunder lost in Los Angeles again, following a defeat against the Lakers on Monday. The back-to-back losses followed a four-game winning streak.

Luguentz Dort also scored 19 points and Isaiah Joe added 15 for Oklahoma City, which is 0-2 to start a four-game road swing that will conclude at Western Conference-leading Minnesota on Saturday.

Both teams shot an identical 22 of 42 (52.4 percent) in the first half, with the Clippers taking a 65-61 lead into the break. Los Angeles used 66.7 percent shooting in the third quarter to take a 99-89 lead into the final period.

Oklahoma City made its run, outscoring the Clippers 15-5 to pull within 106-104 with 7:52 remaining. Twice the Thunder pulled within one, at 108-107 with 6:09 remaining and again at 113-112 with 4:18 left.

A 3-pointer by Williams finally gave the Thunder a 115-114 lead with 3:37 on the clock, their first lead since the first quarter. The Clippers took over from there, led by George.

An immediate 7-0 run, with six of the points scored by George, gave Los Angeles a 121-115 lead with 2:29 remaining. After Williams made a jumper for the Thunder, the Clippers went on another 7-0 run, with George following a 3-pointer with a reverse dunk for a 128-117 lead with 1:14 remaining. Los Angeles closed it out from there.