Lakers vs. Clippers: Game updates
Clippers 102, Lakers 94 (final)
It was just like the preseason, except this time it counted.
The Clippers held off a third-quarter charge and 42 points from Kobe Bryant to emerge as winners Saturday night at Staples Center in the season's first meeting of the Hallway Rivalry.
It was Bryant's fourth consecutive game of scoring at least 40 points, but it wasn't enough to overcome the deep and dynamic Clippers.
Chris Paul scored 33 points before hobbling off the floor with an injury in the fourth quarter and Blake Griffin finished with 22 points and 14 rebounds for the Clippers, who had four starters in double figures. Paul was at his best in the fourth quarter, burying three-pointers and fadeaway jumpers while feeding Griffin for a dunk.
Paul made a fadeaway jumper and a three-pointer as part of a 7-0 Cilppers run that gave them control after the Lakers had pulled to within 82-76 early in the fourth quarter. He left after making a 12-foot step-back jumper with 4:01 left.
"We'll see if it's a cramp, a strain or whatever it is and then evaluate," Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro said afterward.
Bryant made 14 of 28 shots but didn't get much help outside of Pau Gasol (14 points, 10 rebounds) and Andrew Bynum (12 points, 16 rebounds). The Lakers' bench combined for only 13 points one night after tallying four points.
Reserve guard Randy Foye scored 10 points, accounting for all of the Clippers' bench production.
Clippers 76, Lakers 72 (end of third quarter)
It was suddenly hard to tell it was a Clippers' home game during one breathless stretch late in the third quarter that had Lakers fans roaring inside Staples Center.
Kobe Bryant made two three-pointers, a flurry of free throws and a dunk as part of a 19-7 Lakers surge that helped them wipe out most of a 14-point deficit.
The Hallway Rivalry also took a few testy turns in the third quarter.
Clippers forward Blake Griffin took a no-look pass from Chauncey Billups for a layup while absorbing a hard foul from the Lakers' Matt Barnes. Griffin glared at Barnes after the play.
Griffin and Metta World Peace were later assessed offsetting technical fouls after a heated exchange, and a subsequent loose ball scrum ended with Lakers rookie Darius Morris being called for another technical.
Paul has 23 points to lead the Clippers, who are winning despite getting only three points from their bench players.
Clippers reserve forward Brian Cook suffered a sprained left ankle in the first half but is available to return, according to a team spokeswoman.
Clippers 55, Lakers 42 (halftime)
Lakers Coach Mike Brown said before the game that he thought the Clippers were a playoff team.
He can only hope they're one his team doesn't meet in the postseason.
Almost a month after they swept a pair of preseason games against their fellow Staples Center tenants, the Clippers continued to dominate the Lakers in the first half of their first regular-season meeting.
Chris Paul scored 15 points and Chauncey Billups added 14 to lead four Clippers in double figures scoring with 24 minutes left to play. Kobe Bryant had 11 points on woeful three-for-12 shooting for the Lakers, his streak of three consecutive games with at least 40 points nearing an end barring an exceptional second half.
Pau Gasol had 10 points for the Lakers, who were shooting 37.2% to the Clippers' 38.3% but were getting out-rebounded, 35-22.
Blake Griffin had 12 points and Caron Butler had 11 for the Clippers.
Clippers 31, Lakers 24 (end of first quarter)
The season is nearly three weeks old, but not much has changed in the Hallway Rivalry since the preseason.
The Clippers resemble a varsity team in its prime taking on a bunch of old-timers.
Blake Griffin made a crowd-pleasing dunk and Chris Paul had a three-point play after drawing contact from Lakers rookie Darius Morris before sinking a fadeaway jumper.
Morris immediately got some revenge, though, sinking a three-pointer from beyond half court to end the quarter.
Paul and Morris were involved in the quarter's three most intriguing plays, if you throw in a foul Paul committed on Morris followed by a shove from Griffin that incensed Lakers Coach Mike Brown so much that Brown received a technical foul for voicing his displeasure to officials.
Paul has 11 points on four-for-six shooting for the Clippers, who have 17 rebounds to the Lakers' 10.
Kobe Bryant, attempting to score at least 40 points for a fourth consecutive game, is off to a slow start, with five points on two-for-seven shooting. Morris also has five points for the Lakers, who are shooting 47.4% to the Clippers' 44.4%.
-- Ben Bolch
Photo: Clippers power forward Blake Griffin powers down a dunk against the Lakers in the first half Saturday night at Staples Center. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times