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It's two easy for Lakers

Clippers present little challenge in their opener, as the balanced Lakers send fans to the exits early.

October 30, 2008|Mike Bresnahan | Bresnahan is a Times staff writer.

After further review, the Lakers are still the Lakers and the Clippers are still, well, you know.

The Lakers drubbed their down-the-hall rivals, 117-79, Wednesday at Staples Center, short-circuiting Baron Davis' first game as a Clipper a day after ruining Greg Oden's debut with Portland.

This much is known: two games into the season, two victories by a total of 58 points, too many story lines to note in one or two paragraphs.

The Lakers' defense was dominant, yet again, holding the Clippers to 36.7% shooting on the way to an 85-57 lead through three quarters.

Seven Lakers scored in double figures (Kobe Bryant had 16 points, Derek Fisher had 15) and Clippers fans began filtering quietly out of the arena early in the fourth quarter.

The point differential was enough to send reporters scrambling for the record books. (No reason for the Clippers to fret. Their biggest loss against the Lakers remained a 46-point embarrassment in 1979, when they were still in San Diego. Wednesday night did, however, qualify as their second-worst loss to the Lakers in the Clippers' 38-year history.)

Then there was this added bonus for Lakers fans: After a slow opener, Andrew Bynum bounded back with 12 points, nine rebounds and three blocked shots in 25 minutes.

There was even a fairly forceful "M-V-P" chant for Bryant in the heart of Clipper Nation as he shot free throws near the end of the third quarter.

The teams meet again next Wednesday in a Lakers home game, for worse or for worse.

"Well, we have to say it's a surprise," Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said. "Our team is playing at a high level. Our next game is out on the road [Saturday at Denver]. It's a team that has a lot of animosity "

Either way, it was interesting to see how the Clippers started their season, dropping red, white and blue confetti before the game after Davis promised Clippers fans via courtside microphone that this season would be different.

It was certainly different from the Clippers' 107-80 victory three weeks ago in an exhibition game, the key word apparently being exhibition.

But it was no different from the past, the Lakers winning their fifth consecutive game against the Clippers with power and finesse.

Bynum converted on an alley-oop dunk and also scored on a baseline dunk after finding nobody else open.

On the other extreme, Bryant sent an entry pass to Pau Gasol, who touch-passed it out to Vladimir Radmanovic in the right corner for an open three-pointer.

The Lakers' reserves outscored those of the Clippers, 55-22.

Davis, the former UCLA star, finished with 11 points and seven assists, missing nine of 13 shots and four of five from three-point range.

"We ran into a brick wall," said Davis, who bought about 30 tickets for friends and family. "They're a championship team. They know what they're trying to accomplish. We're trying to figure it out. I didn't think it was going to happen like that, but it's a rude awakening for us to let us see that mountain we have to climb."

The Clippers could point to Marcus Camby's sitting out because of a bruised heel, but there weren't many other items of note for them.

Chris Kaman was largely ineffective, scoring eight points and missing six of nine shots.


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