Lakers vs Clippers: Lakers defeat Clippers
The Lakers made all the plays down the stretch, while the Clippers simply got frustrated.
Late in the game, Derek Fisher and Chris Kaman became entangled, leading to technical fouls.
But Kaman was issued two technicals and ejected from the game.
Behind Kobe Bryant's 37 points, the Lakers now have won 14 of their 15 games since the All-Star break.
Pau Gasol had 26 points and eight rebounds.
Clippers guard Eric Gordon finished with seven points on three-for-14 shooting.
Mo Williams led the Clippers with 30 points and Blake Griffin added 22.
Lakers 85, Clippers 80 (end of third quarter)
The Lakers opened a 13-point lead in the third quarter on a three-point shot by Ron Artest.
But the Lakers refused to play much defense, allowing the Clippers to creep back into the game.
Through three quarters, Mo Williams had 26 points for the Clippers, doing his part to help them. That offset an 0-for-11 performance by Eric Gordon.
Kobe Bryant had 25 points and Pau Gasol had 22 through three quarters for the Lakers.
It became a dunk-athon in the second quarter.
There was Ron Artest driving baseline by Chris Kaman and throwing down a reverse dunk.
There was Shannon Brown driving by Kaman and also throwing down a reverse dunk.
And there was Clippers rookie Blake Griffin throwing down lob dunks.
By the end of the first half, Kobe Bryant had scored 17 points to lead the Lakers. Griffin had 14 points for the Clippers.
Lakers 33, Clippers 23 (end of first quarter)
The Lakers built a 16-point lead in the first quarter, seemingly scoring at will against a porous Clippers defense.
Pau Gasol led the Lakers with 12 points on six-for-seven shooting and Kobe Bryant had 11 points on four-for-eight shooting.
The Lakers shot 58.3% from the field.
Blake Griffin led the Clippers with eight points, including a dunk on a half-court pass near the end of the quarter.
After missing two games because of being suspended by the NBA for a flagrant foul, Lakers center Andrew Bynum returned to play Friday night against the Clippers at Staples Center.
Bynum has anchored the Lakers' defense by blocking shots and clogging the lane.
"Playing without [Bynum] in the lineup made us struggle the last two games," Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said.
Bynum and Pau Gasol will have their hands full with Clippers big men Chris Kaman and Blake Griffin.
Jackson was told that this would be the last time he coached against the Clippers if he indeed does retire after the season.
Jackson had no feelings about that.
"I enjoy these games," Jackson said. "I think they are kind of fun for our fans. It's always a little dread involved in them because you never know what's going to happen. They always turn into something else."
-- Broderick Turner
Photo: Lakers guard Kobe Bryant goes for a layup against the defense of Clippers center DeAndre Jordan in the first half Friday night at Staples Center. Credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times