Clippers beat winless Lakers 97-91 in preseason
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Eric Bledsoe scored 22 points, Matt Barnes added 18 and the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Lakers 97-91 on Wednesday night, keeping their Staples Center co-tenant winless in seven preseason games.
Blake Griffin had 15 points for the Clippers on a night when both teams’ All-Star guards sat out.
Kobe Bryant missed his second preseason game with a strained and bruised right foot, and Chris Paul rested after being hit accidentally by a teammate in practice. Bryant won’t play in the Lakers’ final exhibition against Sacramento on Thursday night in San Diego, while Paul will play the Clippers’ finale in Denver that night.
Pau Gasol led six Lakers in double figures with 17 points. Rookie Robert Sacre of Gonzaga, starting in place of Dwight Howard, and Metta World Peace had 13 each. Jordan Hill added 12. Steve Blake and Jodie Meeks, who started in place of Bryant, had 11 each.
Lakers coach Mike Brown said he wanted to rest Howard, who was recovering from general soreness after his team debut on Sunday.
The Clippers opened the fourth quarter with an 8-0 run, including four by Bledsoe, to take an 80-73 lead. Blake hit a 3-pointer that drew the Lakers within one before rookie Travis Leslie ran off six in a row to keep the Clippers ahead 91-86.
Former UCLA player Ryan Hollins made consecutive baskets, extending the Clippers’ lead to 95-88. World Peace missed two 3-point attempts on the same possession and then Blake lost the ball with a bad pass in the closing 2 minutes.
Both teams tried numerous lineup combinations during the game, with the Clippers resting Jamal Crawford, Lamar Odom and Grant Hill. Chauncey Billups is still a ways away from returning after a torn Achilles tendon.
The Lakers led 68-60 with less than 5 minutes to go in the third. The Clippers’ second unit outscored them 12-6, including five each by Barnes and Willie Green, to trail 73-72 going into the fourth.
Paced by 10 points each from Griffin, Bledsoe and Barnes, the Clippers led 49-40 at halftime.
NOTES: Howard wore a three-piece suit on the bench, while Bryant didn’t sit with the Lakers, but was in the building. … The Clippers beat the Lakers twice when they met during last year’s lockout-shortened preseason in December. … Rapper-actor Common and former NFL star Terrell Owens attended as part of the sellout crowd of 19,060.