Lakers Win L.A. Battle in Playoff Atmosphere, Defeat Clippers

With the Los Angeles Lakers (35-20) and Los Angeles Clippers (32-22) battling for playoff position within their division, last night’s game was nothing short of a playoff-type game. Not to mention the pride that comes along with beating a crosstown rival.

The Lakers prevailed, however, defeating the Clippers 113-108 in an intense battle behind strong performances by Andrew Bynum (36 points) and Kobe Bryant (31 points).

The Lakers got off to a hot start in the first quarter, with Bryant putting up 16 points on 7-for-10 shooting from the field (he missed his first three shots) and Bynum dropping in 11. Caron Butler also got off to a hot start for the Clippers, however, scoring 10 points in the period. But, the Lakers led after the first 12 minutes, 34-29.

In the second quarter the Lakers did not let up, outscoring the Clippers 29-26 for a 63-55 lead at halftime. Bryant led the Lakers with 18 points followed by Bynum’s 17, but the Lakers allowed Caron Butler to put up 23 points in the first half.

The third quarter is where the game got intense, however. Andrew Bynum and Kobe Bryant continued their respective onslaughts with Bynum putting up 12 points in the period and Bryant scoring nine. But, that was hardly the story of the third quarter as the game became even more intense than it was in the first half.

Blake Griffin absolutely abused Pau Gasol after a pick-and-roll pass and “posterized” Gasol. Not only that, but Blake stared down Pau after that, which ignited the designated Clippers home crowd. The play energized the Clippers as well, but the Lakers managed to recover and Gasol seemed to shake off the embarrassment and play physical with Griffin the rest of the way. The Lakers maintained their pace, and again outscored the Clippers 29-26 for a 92-81 advantage.

True to form, however, the Lakers once again let go of a solid lead and let the Clippers back in the game as Chris Paul and Nick Young went to work. The Lakers weren’t ready to let the whole game slip away, though, utilizing strong play by Bynum (who had seven points in the quarter) and late game heroics by Kobe Bryant.

Chris Paul tied the game with four minutes left, 102-102. Just a minute later, with the Clippers up by one, Kobe came through with a huge jumper over Caron Butler to put the Lakers up by one, 105-104.

Leading by just two, Ramon Sessions saw an opening and drove hard to the rack, scoring a layup and placing the Lakers up by four, 108-104 with 47 seconds remaining in the game. Chris Paul would keep the game close once again with another shot, cutting the lead back to two.

But, it was Kobe with the last laugh, as he hit another jumper to put the Lakers up 110-106 with 24 seconds left. Blake Griffin would bring the Clippers to within three points, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the Lakers as the purple and gold walked away with a 113-108 victory.

The Numbers

Andrew Bynum led the way for the Lakers, scoring 36 points (on 13-20 shooting), grabbing eight rebounds, and blocking four shots. Kobe Bryant put up 31 points (on a remarkable 13-19 from the floor), six assists, and five rebounds. Ramon Sessions continued his solid play, tallying 16 points, eight assists, six rebounds, and two steals. Pau Gasol added 12 points, seven rebounds, two assists, and two blocks while Metta World Peace scored seven points and grabbed four rebounds (three offensive).

As for the bench, Steve Blake had five points and two assists while Matt Barnes (four points, four assists) and Josh McRoberts (two points, two assists) each grabbed seven rebounds.

For the Clippers, Caron Butler was the high-point man with 28, and also had four rebounds and two assists. Chris Paul tallied 22 points and 16 assists while Blake Griffin had 15 points and 14 rebounds (seven offensive). Nick Young, who had a big fourth quarter, scored 13 points off the bench.

DeAndre Jordan (13 rebounds) and Randy Foye (five rebounds, four assists) added 11 points apiece. Eric Bledsoe had five points, two rebounds, and two assists while Bobby Simmons scored three to round out the box score for the Clippers.

Now, let’s break down the victory.

Next Page: The Breakdown

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