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Clippers 125, Lakers 101

The SportsXchange

LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Clippers jumped to an early lead, let the Los Angeles Lakers climb back into the game, then applied the pressure once more in a 125-101 win on Thursday at Staples Center.

The Clippers built a 15-0 advantage less than five minutes into the game as the Lakers struggled to even get any form of offense together until early in the second quarter. The Lakers cut the Clippers' lead to three points midway through the second quarter but the Clippers regained their footing and went into the half ahead 64-52.

That was the closest the Lakers would get as the Clippers eventually went up by as much as 22 points in the third quarter to take their third straight win over the Lakers, clinching just their third season series win over their Staples Center co-tenants.

The Clippers offered a balanced offense, finishing with six players in double-figures, including all five starters, with 25 assists and a .517 shooting percentage.

The Clippers were particularly successful behind the arc, connecting on 16 of 30 shots from 3-point range.

Chauncey Billups led the barrage, finishing with five 3-pointers and 21 points in just 16 minutes. Chris Paul had 24 points and 13 assists for the Clippers, who've won four straight, and Blake Griffin added 22 points and 10 rebounds.

The Lakers offered an impressive offensive performance as well, hitting 51 percent from the field and finishing with 30 assists. But the younger Clippers raced around the perimeter and dominated the glass, outrebounding the Lakers 47-37.

Kobe Bryant had 20 points and 11 assists to lead the Lakers, but he finished with six turnovers. Dwight Howard had 18 points and eight rebounds and Antawn Jamison added 17 points off the bench for the Lakers.

NOTES: Lakers center Pau Gasol remains out with a torn plantar fascia in his right foot. Jordan Hill (left hip surgery) is also out for the Lakers. ... The Clippers won the first two games of the season series despite huge games from Bryant for the Lakers. The Clippers won 105-95 on Nov. 2 despite 40 points from Bryant and 107-102 on Jan. 4 despite Bryant's 38 points. ... The Lakers won the series 2-1 in 2011-12 and lead the all-time series 143-51. ... Both teams return from the All-Star break with tough matchups. On Feb. 20, the Lakers host the Boston Celtics, who beat them 116-95 on Feb. 7; the Clippers welcome the San Antonio Spurs on Feb. 21. ... Nash entered the game just nine assists shy of tying Magic Johnson for fourth on the all-time list and three points shy of 17,000.
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