George, Leonard lead Clippers past Nuggets for No. 2 seed

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Kim Klement

Denver Nuggets guard Monte Morris (11) is defended by Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard (2) in the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Kim Klement/Pool Photo via AP)

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Paul George scored 27 points, Kawhi Leonard had 26 and the Los Angeles Clippers wrapped up the second seed in the Western Conference playoffs with a 124-111 victory over the third-seeded Denver Nuggets on Wednesday night.

The Clippers will face seventh-seeded Dallas when the playoffs get going next week.

And Los Angeles coach Doc Rivers likes how his team is shaping up as things get more serious. He said George and Leonard, the team's two prize offseason acquisitions, are “in great shape, which is just where we want them to be.”

The Clippers took control with 13 straight points midway through the third quarter and barely let the Nuggets get back in it.

George and Leonard were big reasons why. George made two 3-pointers midway through the period, and Leonard sprinted to up from the back court on a defensive possession, picked off a pass at mid-court and glided in for a basket.

The goal now, Leonard said, is to have everyone healthy and ready to go and “get in better habits with less mistakes going forward.”

Los Angeles took the lead for good with 10 minutes left on Lou Williams' jumper and steadily built the advantage to double digits on the way to its second straight win over the Northwest Division champions.

Williams was the third Clipper with 20-plus points, finishing with 23.