Lakers-Clippers: Updates from first exhibition game
The Chris Paul and Chauncey Billups era got off to a memorable start.
Not so much for the Mike Brown tenure.
In a whipping that could be quickly forgotten considering the teams meet again two days from now, the Clippers struck the first blow in the renewed battle for Los Angeles with a 114-95 exhibition victory over the Lakers on Monday night at Staples Center.
After a competitive first half, the Clippers toyed with the Lakers during a third quarter in which they outscored their crosstown rival, 36-17. The Clippers outscored the Lakers on three-pointers alone in the quarter, making six for 18 points.
The Clippers eventually led by as many as 27 points in a defeat so thorough that Lakers fans started leaving early in the fourth quarter, leaving large pockets of empty seats.
Billups finished with 23 points on five-for-eight shooting and Paul had 17 points on six-for-nine shooting to go with nine assists and seven rebounds. The Clippers made 13 of 28 three-point shots.
Kobe Bryant had 22 points, Pau Gasol 16 and Andrew Bynum 15 for the Lakers, who received little from their reserves besides rookie Darius Morris' 11 points. Metta World Peace was a flop in his first game off the bench, missing all eight shots and finishing with three points.
The Lakers committed 21 turnovers to the Clippers' 11, but part of that may have been because they were missing veteran point guard Derek Fisher, who sat out while continuing to round into game shape after the lengthy lockout.
It's a little early to say the pro basketball monopoly may be ending in Los Angeles, but the Clippers have to like the way things are shaping up behind their new dynamic duo.
Point guards Chris Paul and Chauncey Billups led what might have been the most encouraging quarter the woebegone franchise has experienced in years, with the Clippers transforming a five-point halftime lead into a rout against their crosstown rival.
Billups made three three-pointers, including one to finish an unconventional two-on-five fastbreak, and Paul continued his spate of highlight-reel passes, including another lob to DeAndre Jordan for a dunk. Billups has 23 points and Paul 17 for the Cippers, with 12 minutes left to play.
Things got so bad for the Lakers that Kobe Bryant threw a behind-the-back pass to Josh McRoberts out of bounds, and an offensive foul on McRoberts wiped out a Bryant three-pointer. Metta World Peace has been a disaster coming off the bench, missing all six of his shots so far.
Bryant has 19 points for the Lakers, who are supposed to be a defensive-oriented team under first-year Coach Mike Brown but didn't look like it during a quarter in which they allowed the Clippers to make six three-pointers. The Clippers' 18 points on three-pointers was one more point than the Lakers scored in the quarter.
Clippers 55, Lakers 50 (halftime)
For a brief stretch of brilliance in the second quarter, the Clippers turned Staples Center into Lob City.
There was a lob from Chris Paul to DeAndre Jordan, who finished the play with a monstrous one-handed dunk.
Not to be outdone, Chauncey Billups threw a pass off the backboard to Blake Griffin, who grabbed the ball and dunked so hard he was called for a technical foul.
The Clippers used the fancy plays to build a seven-point lead and were still ahead, 55-50, at halftime of their exhibition opener against the Lakers.
Billups had 12 points and two assists for the Clippers, who also benefited from Paul's haul of seven points, five assists and four rebounds.
Kobe Bryant had 15 points for the Lakers, mostly on the strength of making nine of 10 free throws. Pau Gasol had nine points, as many as rookie Darius Morris had off the bench for the Lakers.
Paul has not fed Griffin with a lob for a dunk, something Clippers fans expect to see a lot of this season, though he did facilitate the power forward's dunk off a bounce pass late in the quarter.
Lakers 28, Clippers 28 (end of first quarter)
There was a memorable lob and dunk in the first quarter of the Lakers' exhibition opener Monday night at Staples Center against the Clippers, but it didn't involve Chris Paul or Blake Griffin.
Kobe Bryant fed Josh McRoberts on the crowd-pleasing play, part of a tight first quarter that ended in a 28-28 tie after Lakers rookie Darius Morris made a fadeaway jumper at the buzzer. It was one of several nice moves by Morris, who also made a long jumper while falling down and didn't let a jumper going off the side of the backboard bother him, collecting the ball and then sinking a putback.
Bryant had nine points and Morris six for the Lakers. New Clippers acquisitions Paul and Chauncey Billups had seven points apiece for the Clippers.
Lakers fans greeted Metta World Peace with a nice ovation when the small forward walked toward the scorer's table midway through the quarter and entered the game as a reserve, something he never did in his first two seasons with the team.
-- Ben Bolch
Photo: Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, left, hugs Clippers guard Chris Paul prior to the start of Monday's exhibition game at Staples Center. Credit: Danny Moloshok / Associated Press