LOS ANGELES, Jan. 17 (Ticker) -- Gary Payton had perhaps his best game of the season to lead the short-handed Los Angeles Lakers to their fifth straight home victory.

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Payton had 15 points and a season-high 15 assists to lead the Lakers to a 91-89 triumph over the crosstown Clippers.

"Gary had an interesting game tonight. Even though he couldn't find a way to make shots, he still found a way to score, to get some assists and help other people score," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said.

Slava Medvedenko added 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Lakers, who again were without injured superstar players Kobe Bryant, Karl Malone and Shaquille O'Neal but rebounded nicely from Friday's loss at Sacramento.

The Lakers had five players in double figures. Derek Fisher and Devean George had 11 points apiece while Kareem Rush, who had a career-high 30 points Friday, finished with 10.

"All we did was play good defense to get us back into the game," Medvedenko said. "We did the right things on defense to stop them when we needed to."

"It's up to us guys to step up and try to hold the fort while they're gone," Rush said. "I'm going to continue to stay aggressive and continue to play my game, take my shots and hopefully we continue to win."

Clippers forward Elton Brand had a season-high 35 points and 20 rebounds but did not touch the ball on the final possession.

Consecutive baskets by Marko Jaric pulled the Clippers within 91-89 with 43 seconds remaining. After Payton, who made just 7-of-19 shots, missed a fadeaway jumper, the Clippers had a chance to tie or win. But Corey Maggette lost his dribble and Keyon Dooling missed a 3-pointer as time expired.

"They played good defense," Jaric said. "We didn't lose the game there, we lost the game way before."

Maggette added 18 points and 13 rebounds and Jaric scored 15 points for the Clippers, who have lost five of seven.

The Clippers were also shorthanded, missing starting guard Quentin Richardson and reserve Bobby Simmons. Richardson sat out with a sprained right hand while Simmons had a sprained left hip.

"We're missing Quentin and Bobby Simmons," Brand said. "We're banged up. I don't want to make excuses, but we're improving."

Eddie House replaced Richardson in the starting lineup and finished with seven points as the Clippers used just eight players.

"We had a big 13-point lead and we didn't put them away," Brand said. "And good teams you've got to put away."

The Clippers led 30-17 after one quarter, but the Lakers pulled within 44-43 at halftime. The Lakers used a 14-6 run to seize a 57-50 advantage with 6:38 left in the third period and led thereafter.

This was the second meeting of the season between the teams, which share the STAPLES Center. The Clippers were victorious as the home team in their first meeting on Jan. 4.