Paul George led seven players in double figures with 24 points and the Los Angeles Clippers routed a Lakers team minus LeBron James 118-94 on Thursday night, moving into the No. 3 spot in the Western Conference playoff race.

The loss kept the defending NBA champion Lakers at No. 6. The Staples Center co-tenants could potentially face each other in the first round.

The Lakers have lost four of five, with six games remaining in the regular season. The only thing they’ve clinched so far is a spot in the new play-in tournament, which James has derided. Still dealing with a high ankle sprain, he will be out again Friday night for a pivotal game at Portland. That season series is tied at one.

“We don’t look at it as something bad,” Anthony Davis said of the play-in format. “We need games to get back accustomed to each other anyway. We don’t want to go that route, but if it happens, it happens.”

Davis was limited to four points on 2-of-9 shooting in nine minutes. He said he tweaked his ankle after stepping awkwardly on the scorer’s table in the first. He fell, but got up and stayed in the game. He was later ruled out due to back spasms.

“I know it looked bad, but it’s fine,” Davis said of his ankle, adding that his back locked up. He had it worked on and expects to play Friday in what he called the Lakers’ biggest game left in the regular season.

“When we’re 100% healthy we are the top team in the league, so we keep that in our minds,” Davis said.

The Clippers were better on the boards (47-34) and at the free throw line, making 23 of 26. The Lakers hit 18 of 29.

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