Kobe Bryant attempts to drive around Matt Barnes and Lamar Odom. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles…)
The Clippers hope to make history this season by getting to the Western Conference finals for the first time.
The Lakers already created some, falling to 0-3 for the first time since 1978.
When the two Los Angeles teams banged into each other Friday, it was clear which one was better these days, the Clippers pelting the Lakers, 105-95, in a designated Lakers home game.
Kobe Bryant told angry Lakers fans to shut up and "let us work" a day earlier, and the Staples Center crowd seemed compliant, the arena eerily quiet in the second half. Or maybe that was because of the Lakers' 16-point third-quarter deficit.
The Clippers ran the Lakers off the court in fastbreak points, 21-8, and bullied them in second-chance points, 20-7.
Chris Paul was a delight with the ball, amassing 18 points, 15 assists and taking advantage of Steve Nash's absence because of a bruised left shin.
To be remembered from now until April: The Clippers haven't won the season series with the Lakers since 1992-93. In fact, they took the series one other time in the 42-year history of their franchise, when they were the Buffalo Braves in 1974-75.
"It's only a rivalry if both teams win. It's been pretty lopsided," Paul said. "For us, we just wanted to come in, try to get a win in a tough environment and we did."
The Lakers were lousy on offense in their opener Tuesday, lame on defense the next night against Portland, and unremarkable in both against the Clippers.
Bryant had an impressive 40 points and passed Magic Johnson as the Lakers' career steals leader with 1,725 after a third-quarter theft. That was it for their highlights.
Dwight Howard was bothered by foul trouble and had only 13 points and eight rebounds. Pau Gasol was a spectator on offense, scoring 10 points.
"We're hitting the panic button now," Bryant said. "That's what we're supposed to do. That's our job. We're not supposed to just kind of coast and just assume things are going to fix themselves. We've got to push at it."
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was on the Lakers the last time they started out so poorly. Norm Nixon and Jamaal Wilkes too. Jerry West was the coach. It was a long time ago. A long, long time ago.
The Lakers would love to have the Clippers' reserves. Jamal Crawford had another stellar game off the bench, scoring 21 points, and Eric Bledsoe was a blur, adding 10 points. The Lakers' backups were outscored, 46-16.
"Once again, our bench stuck up for us," Paul said. "We have so much depth and that's what makes our team special. Jamal had 21 off the bench, and that's huge for us."
The Clippers were also lucky, Lamar Odom drilling a 34-foot three-pointer as the shot clock expired in the fourth quarter.
The Lakers did their best beforehand to downplay any hint of a rivalry.
"I don't have an issue with the Clippers," Howard said, smiling. "I thought the rivalry was the Celtics. I like the guys on the Clippers."
Lakers Coach Mike Brown, in his second season with the Lakers, said he didn't consider the Clippers any more important than Memphis, Portland or Golden State. Just living in L.A., doesn't he see Clippers games more often than other Lakers opponents?
"I watch two L.A. teams, and that's it. I watch us and I watch Mater Dei," said Brown, whose kids are students at the Santa Ana high school.
It was so quiet at the end of Friday's game, Lakers public-address announcer Lawrence Tanter reminded Lakers fans to set their clocks an hour back this weekend for daylight savings time.
There weren't many people left in the building. They walked into the night quietly, almost sleepily.