Lakers vs. Clippers: Lakers lose; game turns ugly with four ejections
Clipppers 99 Lakers 92 (final )
A close, competitive game between crosstown rivals turned messy at the end, resulting in four players getting ejected.
The 12-point lead the Lakers had in the third quarter quickly all but dissolved near the end of the quarter.
Because the Lakers couldn't stop the Clippers' onslaught in the fourth quarter, the Lakers had their seven-game winning streak snapped.
Pau Gasol, who had his hands full with Clippers rookie Blake Griffin, fouled out with 5.7 seconds left.
Things turned ugly with 5.7 seconds left after Randy Foye made a free throw for a 99-90 Clippers lead.
Lamar Odom and Griffin became entangled, with Odom grabbing Griffin's jersey.
Baron Davis and Ron Artest both joined the scrum.
In the end, Odom, Griffin, Artest and Davis all were ejected. Griffin finished with 10 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter.
Kobe Bryant led the Lakers with 27 points.
Eric Gordon had 30 points to lead all scorers.
Lakers 71, Clippers 68 (end of third quarter)
With 13.8 seconds left in the third quarter, after no foul was called on a shot, Andrew Bynum argued just enough with the officials to be given a technical foul.
Earlier in the quarter, behind the defense of Bynum, the Lakers had raced to a 12-point lead.
But after Gordon made a three-pointer just before the third-quarter buzzer, the Clippers had gotten to within three points entering the fourth quarter.
Bynum had two of his three blocked shots in the third quarter.
The Lakers had four blocked shots in the third.
Kobe Bryant has 22 points on eight-of-15 shooting with eight rebounds and four assists to lead the Lakers. Bynum has 16 points and 12 rebounds, and Pau Gasol has 13 points and six rebounds.
Gordon has 22 points on 10-of-16 shooting to go with four assists and three steals through three quarters. DeAndre Jordan continued to play well for the Clippers with eight points and 15 rebounds, and Blake Griffin was struggling with eight points on three-of-12 shooting with seven rebounds.
Lakers 45, Clippers 44 (end of first half)
The Lakers had a bettter effort in the second quarter, holding the Clippers to 17 points.
Lamar Odom played a big role in that.
Odom entered the game and did a good job on Clippers prized rookie power forward Blake Griffin.
Odom scored over Griffin and drew a foul on him early in the second quarter. Odom also took a charge on Griffin in the second, sending him to the bench with his third foul.
Odom finished the first half with eight points, five rebounds and two blocked shots. Griffin had only two points, on one-for-six shooting, and five rebounds.
Pau Gasol led the Lakers with 11 points. Andrew Bynum had eight points and seven rebounds and Kobe Bryant had eight points, three rebounds, two assists and a steal in the half.
Eric Gordon led the Clippers with 13 points on six-of-10 shooting from the field while Baron Davis, who made two of three three-pointers, had 10 points and four assists in the half. DeAndre Jordan has six points and 11 rebounds.
Clippers 27, Lakers 22 (end first quarter)
The Lakers couldn't make any of their shots, shooting only 38.9% from the field in the first quarter.
The Clippers, on the other hand, made 52.2% of their shots.
Kobe Bryant led the Lakers with seven points in the first quarter.
Since the Lakers last played the Clippers on Dec. 8, a game the Lakers won on a last-second shot by Derek Fisher, the Clippers have made some big strides.
Lakers Coach Phil Jackson has noticed.
The Clippers have won eight of their last 12 games, including a rout of the Miami Heat.
"I think they are better at both their offense and their defense," Jackson said. "Both things have come a long way for them. They have kind of found a unit that they are playing with, that they are comfortable with."
Jackson was asked if Clippers rookie Blake Griffin should be on the All-Star team. Griffin will be in the dunk contest. But many are saying he should be an All-Star as well.
The high-flying power forward is averaging 22 points and 12.7 rebounds a game.
"That's hard for me to say," Jackson said.
Jackson said there is Kevin Love, Tim Duncan, Dirk Nowitzki, Rudy Gay and Zach Randolph to consider.
"There's a zillion of these forwards out there that have played very well in the West," Jackson said.
-- Broderick Turner
Photo: Clippers guard Eric Gordon looks to pass after driving to the basket against Lakers big men Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum in the first half Sunday afternoon. Credit: Gus Ruelas / Associated Press