Kawhi Leonard scored 29 points in just 3 quarters, and Marcus Morris added 18 points and 4 3-pointers, as the well-rested Los Angeles Clippers routed the Denver Nuggets 120-97 to start their Western Conference semifinals on Thursday (US time).
The Nuggets, who entered this series just 2 days removed from their hard-fought 7-game duel with the Utah Jazz, kept in step with the Clippers early.
The game was tied at 31 after the first quarter, and Denver trailed 46-40 midway through the second before Los Angeles went on a 10-3 run to pull away.
Leonard shot 12 of 16 from the floor, and Paul George added 19 points for the Clippers, who went ahead by as many as 29 points, 91-62, in the third quarter.
Overall, Los Angeles was an efficient 48 of 84 from the field (56.6%).
Nikola Jokic tallied 15 points to lead Denver.