Lakers Gameday | 02/23/08 | Lakers 113, Clippers 95
Balanced attack leads Lakers to seventh straight win, share of West lead
Pau Gasol scored 23 points, five teammates finished in double figures, and the Los Angeles Lakers beat the short-handed Los Angeles Clippers 113-95 Saturday night for their seventh straight victory.
The Lakers (38-17), tied with Phoenix for the Western Conference lead, also won seven in a row earlier this season, their longest streak since they won 11 straight late in the 2003-04 season before going on to reach the NBA finals.
The Lakers have also won six straight road games -- their longest such streak in five years.
Lamar Odom added 20 points and 10 rebounds; Kobe Bryant had 17 points and seven assists; Sasha Vujacic scored 17; Jordan Farmar added 14, and Derek Fisher scored 12 for the Lakers.
Corey Maggette scored 23 points, Tim Thomas had 20 points and seven rebounds and rookie Al Thornton added 14 points for the Clippers (19-34), who were coming off back-to-back wins for the first time since their 4-0 start to the season.
Chris Kaman (sore lower back) and Sam Cassell (sprained right wrist) sat out, leaving the Clippers with a makeshift lineup. Kaman is averaging 16.2 points, 13.2 rebounds and 3.0 blocked shots. Injured starters Elton Brand and Shaun Livingston have been sidelined all season.
The Lakers broke the game open by outscoring the Clippers 28-14 to start the third quarter for an 84-62 lead. Fisher made three 3-pointers for nine points, Odom scored eight and Luke Walton added six during the spurt.
The Lakers led 90-72 entering the final period. The Clippers drew within 13 when Thomas made their only 3-pointer with 3:19 remaining. But the Lakers scored the next seven points to pull away.
The Lakers, coming off a thrilling 130-124 victory over the Suns three nights earlier, weren't the same team in the first half, shooting just 43.2 percent in taking a 56-48 lead. Gasol shot 5-for-7, Bryant was 4-for-7 and their teammates went 10-for-30 in the half.
The Lakers outscored the Clippers 12-3 to finish the first quarter for a 29-21 lead. Farmar scored five points and Bryant added four during the spurt, which put the Lakers ahead for good.
The Los Angeles Lakers are feeling good about themselves lately, but they're not about to overlook their crosstown rivals.
The Lakers will be trying to match their longest winning streak of the season on Saturday when they face the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Lakers (37-17) won their sixth straight on Wednesday, beating Phoenix 130-124 on the road. The Lakers, who posted their second-highest scoring total, have averaged 116.0 points during the run while outscoring opponents by nearly 14 per game.
"We are playing very well, so our confidence is naturally pretty high, and we feel like there are a lot of things we are able to recognize as a group, both on the offensive floor and the defensive floor," said Kobe Bryant, who scored 41 points. "Our confidence stems from the fact that we can adjust play by play and quarter by quarter, and not lose too much rhythm in doing it."
Wednesday's victory moved the Lakers into a tie for first place in the Pacific Division with the Suns, who were playing their first game with former Laker Shaquille O'Neal. Phoenix moved a half-game ahead of the Lakers with Friday's win over Boston, but the Lakers clinched the season series against the Suns.
"The really important part of this is the season series," Los Angeles coach Phil Jackson said. "We now have an advantage if this is going to be a tight race as it's been. That's all you get out of a game like that: momentum, obviously, and some confidence for our team."
Pau Gasol chipped in 29 points and is averaging 21.9 in eight games since joining the Lakers in a Feb. 1 trade with Memphis. Lamar Odom added 22 and 11 rebounds for his third straight double-double.
"It's one more game, a game that really felt good and was great to win. It was a nice statement," Gasol said. "But now we've got to keep playing and keep winning, keep doing the same thing. It doesn't matter if you go to Phoenix and you win and then tomorrow you lose to the Clippers."
The Lakers have won four of six against the Clippers (19-33), who also play their home games at Staples Center. The Clippers are mired in last place in the Pacific, but have won back-to-back games for the first time since starting the season 4-0.
"The records are thrown out when we play the Clippers. It's an obvious fact, and the reality is that they're a talented team," Jackson said. "On their home court, it's going to be very difficult to win the game, we know that."
Bryant has averaged 25.7 points in 43 career games against the Clippers, but 38.3 in the last 11 meetings.
The Clippers upset Utah 114-104 on Friday, finally succeeding in their 14th attempt at consecutive wins since their 4-0 start. Rookie Al Thornton scored 14 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter, and Corey Maggette also had 27.
"I'm glad it happened," coach Mike Dunleavy said. "Now we have to go for three in a row. Utah has been playing great basketball, but our guys played for the whole 48 minutes."
Brevin Knight had four points and four assists in 22 minutes while starting at point guard for the injured Sam Cassell, who sprained his right wrist in Wednesday's 100-86 victory over Memphis.Copyright 2007 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited
(Noah Graham/NBAE/Getty Images)
SEASON & SERIES NOTES; CONNECTIONS
The Lakers lead their season series with the Clippers 1-0 after splitting last season’s series with the Clippers 2-2 for the third consecutive season. The two teams have met 174 times overall and on 108 occasions since the Clippers moved to Los Angeles. Overall, the Lakers have lost just two series in franchise history (1992-93 & 1974-75) to the Clippers. The Lakers are 5-5 in their last 10 games against the Clippers. At home against the Clippers, the Lakers are 13-4 all-time at STAPLES Center and have gone 7-3 in their last 10 home contests. On the road against the Clippers, the Lakers are 6-4 in their last 10 games as a visitor at STAPLES Center. Under head coach Phil Jackson, the Lakers are 22-7 versus the Clippers. In 43 career games versus the Clippers including 35 starts, Kobe Bryant is averaging 25.7 points. Additionally, Bryant has posted two 50-point games against the Clippers, most recently 4/12/07 vs. LAC (other: 50 points 1/7/06 @ LAC). Last season, Bryant averaged 37.0 points against the Clippers. Two Clippers (Elton Brand, Corey Maggette) remain from Lamar Odom’s time with the team while current Clippers head coach Mike Dunleavy led the Lakers to a 101-63 record in two seasons (1990-92) including a Western Conference Championship in 1990-91. Lakers forward Vladimir Radmanovic averaged 10.7 points, 5.7 rebounds and 29.5 minutes in 30 games (11 starts) with the Clippers in 2005-06 after being acquired from Seattle for Chris Wilcox. Clippers guard Dan Dickau (senior) and Lakers forward Ronny Turiaf (freshman) were college teammates during the 2001-02 season at Gonzaga.
BRYANT, YOUNGEST EVER TO 20,000 CAREER POINTS, PASSES DAVID ROBINSON FOR 27th ON ALL-TIME LIST
Additionally, at 29 years, 122 days, Bryant became the youngest player in NBA history to reach 20,000 career points and the third player ever to reach 20,000 points under the age of 30, ranking ahead of Wilt Chamberlain (29 years, 134 days) and Michael Jordan (29 years, 326 days). Bryant is the 31st player in NBA history to have reached 20,000 career points. Last season, Bryant became the youngest player to reach 17,000, 18,000 and 19,000 career points.
Already the youngest player in league history to accumulate 10,000 – 19,000 career points, Bryant was the 29th fastest to 15,000, the 22nd fastest to 16,000, the 20th fastest to 17,000, the 16th fastest to 18,000, and the 15th fastest to 19,000 points in terms of games. Bryant’s 39-point game in New York December 23 was the 811th for his career, making him the 15th fastest player to 20,000 points in league history, five games shy of Larry Bird (806 games) for 14th. Wilt Chamberlain was the fastest ever to 20,000 career points, doing so in a mere 499 games. (statistical assistance courtesy of Elias Sports Bureau)
BRYANT’S STREAK ENDS AT 51 STRAIGHT FREE THROWS