Clippers send Lakers to 0-3 start with 105-95 win
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Chris Paul had 18 points and 15 assists, Jamal Crawford scored 21 points and the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Los Angeles Lakers 105-95 Friday night to send their Staples Center co-tenants to an 0-3 start.
Kobe Bryant scored 40 points and Dwight Howard had 13 points and eight rebounds while battling constant foul trouble for the Lakers, who are 0-3 for the first time since 1978 and just the fourth time in franchise history.
Steve Nash sat out with a bruised left leg for the Lakers, who have followed up their 0-8 preseason with three losses in four days.
Blake Griffin scored 15 points before fouling out and Caron Butler had 14 for the Clippers, who pulled away steadily in the second half.
The Clippers snapped a nine-game “road” losing streak against the Lakers dating to April 12, 2007.
While the Clippers celebrated, the pro-Lakers crowd reacted to another loss with angry shouts piercing the silence, much of it profane criticism of coach Mike Brown and his new Princeton-based offense.
Bryant attempted to put the Lakers on his shoulders in the second half, scoring 26 points out of sets that resembled the Lakers’ old offenses. The Clippers stayed comfortably ahead with big second halves from Paul and Griffin.
Nash’s absence was only one reason Paul had the same number of assists as the Lakers, with Nash replacement Steve Blake managing just two assists in 38 minutes before fouling out in the final minute. Paul had his 10th assist shortly after halftime and led the entire Lakers roster after three quarters, with 14 to the Lakers’ 12.
The Clippers pulled away in the third quarter, making an 18-5 run with nine points from Griffin to take an 82-67 lead into the fourth quarter. The Lakers trimmed it to 91-83 with 5 minutes to play, but Crawford and Matt Barnes kept the Clippers ahead with big buckets.
Bryant became the Lakers’ career steals leader with his 1,725th in the third quarter, passing Magic Johnson. But the Lakers’ defense was largely ineffective against Paul, and the Clippers forced 20 Lakers turnovers.
While the Lakers seem headed for growing pains this autumn as they integrate their two new stars into the lineup, the Clippers appear ready to make a run at their rivals’ supremacy.
The Clippers are frequently saddled with rough November schedules that make it tough to get off to a fast start, but everything has changed this year. They’ll only leave Los Angeles for one game before Nov. 19, playing seven of their first eight at Staples Center.
Meanwhile, the Lakers have caught few breaks since training camp opened with Howard still recovering from offseason back surgery. Nash’s absence is just the latest obstacle after he was hurt in the first half of the Lakers’ loss at Portland on Wednesday night in a collision with rookie Damian Lillard.
Just three games into his three-year contract with Los Angeles, the two-time MVP had to sit out, leaving Blake in his spot in the starting lineup.
Brown doesn’t know whether Nash will play in Sunday’s home game against Detroit.
NOTES: Bryant moved past Johnson into 15th place on the NBA’s career steals list. Isiah Thomas is 14th with 1,861. … Clippers C DeAndre Jordan threw down a stunning putback dunk in the third quarter, barely throwing down a rebound before falling onto his back. Jordan scored just four points. … Barry Diller, Diane Vopoinn Furstenberg and directors Kevin Smith, James L. Brooks and Adam McKay attended the game.