Clippers 107, Lakers 102By Jon Gold, The Sports Xchange | The SportsXchange – Sat, Jan 5, 2013 1:50 AM EST
LOS ANGELES -- Chris Paul had a double-double in the first half and finished with 30 points and 13 assists to lead the Los Angeles Clippers to a 107-102 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night at Staples Center. Without leading reserve Jamal Crawford, sidelined by a sore foot suffered Tuesday in their win streak-snapping loss at Denver, the Clippers turned to their two stars, Paul and Blake Griffin. Paul made a fadeaway jumper over Kobe Bryant with 27 seconds left to put the Lakers away after the Clippers nearly surrendered a huge second-half lead. The Clippers led by as much as 19 in the second half before the Lakers trimmed it to as little as three. Griffin had 24 points, including 10 in the third quarter, but had just five rebounds. Matt Barnes had eight points in the second quarter off the bench for the Clippers, who jumped back into the win column after losing two straight following a team-record 17-game winning streak. Kobe Bryant had 38 points to lead the Lakers, and Dwight Howard added 21 points and 15 rebounds before fouling out with just over a minute left. Howard bounced back from a poor shooting performance in the team's 103-99 loss to Philadelphia on New Year's Day. Despite the absence of Andrew Bynum, for whom he was traded in a four-team deal during the offseason, Howard had just seven points on 1-of-7 shooting against the 76ers. The Lakers long-distance shooting woes continued as they hit just 6 of 25 from 3-point range, with Jodie Meeks struggling to find any success. He had 14 points but shot just 3 of 13 from the field and 2 for 8 from 3-point range. Paul had 12 points and 11 assists at the break as he lifted the Clippers to a 61-51 halftime lead. The Clippers shot 54.3 percent in the first half and led by as much as 18 points with just more than eight minutes left in the first half. The Lakers trimmed the lead to four after a 19-5 run, but the Clippers went on a mini-run to close the second quarter to claim the 10-point halftime lead. NOTES: Bryant had 40 points to lead all scorers but the Lakers fell to the Clippers, 105-95, in the teams' first matchup this season. Crawford had 21 points and Paul had 18 points and 15 assists as the Clippers won an "away" game against the Lakers for the first time since 2007. ... Perhaps the biggest indication of the two teams' respective fortunes is bench scoring -- the Clippers ranked No. 2 in the NBA at 41.7 points per game entering the contest, while the Lakers ranked 26th with 25.8 bench points per game. ... According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Clippers are in some familiar company after losing their first two games after their 17-game winning streak -- the last four teams to win 17 straight lost their next two. ... The Clippers' Pacific Division lead marks the latest in a season (34 games) that they've held sole possession of first place.
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