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                  === Kobe-less Lakers down Clippers ===
 Los  Angeles, CA  ( - The Lakers didn't have Kobe Bryant for
 their  season opener, but their unheralded supporting cast came up big Tuesday
 to down the rival Clippers, 116-103, at Staples Center.
 Bryant,  still rehabbing his Achilles injury, watched from the bench as Xavier
 Henry,  Jordan Farmar, Jodie  Meeks and Jordan Hill took over late to give the
 Lakers a surprising victory in the season's first battle for Los Angeles.
 Henry  scored 22  points, Farmar added 16  and Meeks and Hill added 13 and 12,
 respectively, for the Lakers, who made 14 3-pointers and erupted for 41 points
 over the final 12 minutes.
 "We were really aggressive. We believe in each other and everybody is very
 positive. It felt good to be back in this building. I love being a Laker,"
 said Farmar, who played for the Lakers from 2006-2010.
 Pau Gasol chipped in 15 points and 13 rebounds in the resounding win.
 The  Clippers' bench was a key component in last season's franchise-record 56-
 win  campaign. They  added several new names  to the fold after falling in the
 first  round of the playoffs, most notably J.J. Redick, who had 13 points in a
 losing effort.
 They also switched head coaches from Vinny Del Negro to Doc Rivers, and Rivers
 saw his bench get outscored 76-34 in his first game on LA's bench.
 Blake  Griffin  paced the Clippers  with 19  points, DeAndre Jordan checked in
 with 17 points and 11 boards and Chris Paul scored 15 with 11 assists.
 "This is a humbling loss. We have to play a full 48 minutes. They're not a bad
 team, they just wanted it more. It is a long season, we have to get back to
 work," said Griffin.
 Neither team led by more than eight points in the opening three quarters. That
 changed quickly in the fourth when the Lakers' reserves suddenly caught fire.
 Farmar, Meeks, Henry and Wesley Johnson all connected from behind the arc on a
 17-5  run that turned  a four-point deficit into a 94-86 Lakers lead with 7:35
 to play.
 A 10-0 spurt a little later stretched the cushion to 15, and after Hill banked
 in  an 18-footer and  tipped in a Johnson miss, the Lakers were on top, 108-91
 and cruised the rest of the way.
 There were 11 lead changes and seven ties in a tight, fast-paced first half.
 Gasol  scored  11 points in the  first five-plus minutes to counter the output
 from  Redick and Jordan, who combined for 22 points in an opening quarter that
 ended with the Clippers clinging to a 30-28 lead.
 Things  stayed close  throughout the second and the Clippers still led by two,
 57-55, at the break after Gasol had a jumper waived off at the buzzer.
 The  Clippers  led by  as many as  eight, 63-55, early  in the third following
 another  Jordan dunk, but  the Lakers responded with an 11-2 run to retake the
 lead. Griffin answered with a bucket inside and the Clippers took a 79-75 edge
 into the fourth.
                                   Game Notes
 Bryant  missed the season opener for the fifth time in his 18-year career. The
 Lakers have won all five games he's missed ... The Lakers had 30 second-chance
 points  to the  Clippers'  16 ...  Jamal  Crawford netted  15  points for  the
 Clippers,  who shot just 13-of-23 from the foul line ... The Warriors play the
 Lakers  on  Wednesday and the Clippers  on Thursday ... The Clippers swept all
 four games last season, winning by an average of 13.25 points per game.
 10/30 02:12:56 ET

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