Clippers drop Lakers to 0-3
Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) - This was not the start Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard and the rest of the Lakers envisioned.
As for the Clippers, they finally got the upperhand as the visiting team at Staples Center.
Jamal Crawford led a balanced attack with 21 points off the bench and Chris Paul tallied 18 points and 15 assists in the Clippers' 105-95 triumph to deal the Lakers a third straight loss to begin the season.
Bryant scored 40 and Howard ended with 13 points, eight boards and five blocks. Pau Gasol totaled 10 points and 14 boards, but the Lakers fell to 0-3 for only the fourth time in their history and first time since the 1978-79 season.
The Lakers played without star point guard Steve Nash, who sat out due to a lower left leg contusion.
Paul, who had just one turnover, took advantage of the situation. He was masterful in pick-and-roll situations. Blake Griffin had 15 points and eight rebounds before fouling out.
"We weathered the storm," Paul said. "Our bench stepped up. We did a good job of running the court. We have so much depth. That's what makes our team special."
The only time the Lakers began 0-4 was in 1957 when Minneapolis dropped its first seven contests. The Lakers host Detroit Sunday night.
"It's the same song over the last couple of games, 20 turnovers and giving up 25 points off those turnovers, that's tough," Lakers coach Mike Brown said. "Twenty second-chance points off nine offensive rebounds, that's tough. We didn't play a great game."
As for the Clippers, this was their first victory as a road team at Staples Center since April 12, 2007. The Clippers had lost their last nine games as the road team in this series.
Bryant, who shot 14-of-23 from the field and 10-of-10 from the foul line, had his 113th game of at least 40 points. He also had two steals and has 1,725 for his career, moving past Magic Johnson (1,724) for first on the Lakers' all- time list.
The supporting cast was clearly the downfall for the Lakers on Friday as the Clippers held a 46-16 advantage in bench scoring.
"Everybody contributed. We have to use our depth. Different guys stepped up at different times," Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said. "We pushed the tempo. Overall we did some good things."
The Clippers won at home in their season opener Wednesday against Memphis, led by as many as 16 points Friday night and never faced a deficit greater than a point.
Bryant's jumper had the Lakers within 64-61 with 4:45 left in the third quarter, but Griffin responded with a 3-point play. DeAndre Jordan put in a thunderous one-handed slam off a missed 3-ball from Willie Green and was fouled by Howard to create a 69-63 difference.
The Clippers had the Lakers reeling, especially when Crawford drained a shot from beyond the arc for an 80-65 lead with 1:24 remaining. The same 15-point margin remained heading to the last quarter.
Bryant hit a fadeaway jumper with 4:35 left to get the Lakers within 93-85, but ex-Laker Matt Barnes responded by hitting a bank shot and the Lakers never got closer than eight the rest of the way.
Caron Butler's jumper extended the Clippers' lead to 20-11 midway through the first quarter. Up five after 12 minutes, the Clippers widened the gap to as much as 11 in the second before the hosts closed within 49-47 on a Devin Ebanks 3-ball in the closing minute.
The problem was, the Lakers left Butler open on the left wing, and he drained a 3-pointer as the buzzer sounded for a 52-47 score at halftime.
Steve Blake started in place of Nash and had eight points ... Butler scored 14 ... The Clippers shot 45.2 percent to 50 percent for the Lakers.
11/03 02:06:07 ET