Clippers, Lakers tangle at Staples

( – The Los Angeles Lakers started the 2012 season 0-3 and
the third straight loss came at the hands of the rival Clippers.

History could repeat itself when the Pacific foes renew their rivalry Friday
night at Staples Center.

The Lakers lost their season opener to Houston, 108-90, then were hammered in
Phoenix by a 119-99 score Wednesday. Kobe Bryant, who scored 19 points in
Tuesday’s loss to the Rockets, put up 31 points on 11-of-25 shooting against
the Suns.

Bryant, of course, is coming back from an Achilles tear and knee injury.

“I told you guys from the beginning I am back to myself,” Bryant said.

Ed Davis and Wayne Ellington rounded out the double-digit scorers for Los
Angeles with 14 and 13 points, respectively, off the bench. The Suns had six
players in double figures, including two with 20 or more, and scored a 39-23
difference in the third quarter.

Jeremy Lin has yet to score in double figures with seven and six points in his
first two games with LA.

Los Angeles is without rookie forward Julius Randle (leg) for the season and
is 9-2 in the last 11 games on Halloween-night games. The team is 11-5 overall
on the specific night.

While the Lakers, who are the home team on Friday night, could finish near the
bottom of the Western Conference, the Clippers are expected to be at the top.

The Clippers got their season started off with a bang, handing the Kevin
Durant-less Oklahoma City Thunder a 93-90 defeat Thursday night. Thunder guard
Russell Westbrook is supposed to pick up the slack in Durant’s absence, but he
suffered a broken hand early in the game.

Still, Los Angeles had trouble with OKC and managed to prevail even though it
shot 39.1 percent from the floor. Blake Griffin led the hosts with 23 points
and seven rebounds, while Chris Paul posted 22 points and seven assists. LA
was dreadful from 3-point territory, going 7-for-30 beyond the arc.

The Clippers were even outrebounded, 47-33, but had 14 on the offensive end.

“Opening nights are tough. We won but we didn’t play well,” Clippers head
coach Doc Rivers said. “I didn’t like our tempo. We have to play at a better

DeAndre Jordan grabbed 10 boards to go along with eight points. Jamal Crawford
scored 16 points off the bench.

This was the first regular season game for new Clippers owner and former
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who purchased the team for a record $2 billion
this offseason.

The Clippers went 3-1 against the Lakers last season and won all four meetings
in 2012-13. The Lakers are 10-3 in the last 13 games as the host in this
series and lead the all-time rivalry, 144-56.

Bryant is averaging 25.9 points in 64 career games (56 starts) against the
Clippers. He has two 50-point games against them.