Lakers Cruise to 117-79 Win Over Clippers

Kobe Bryant didn't shoot much, didn't score much and didn't need to.

Bryant led seven Los Angeles Lakers in double figures with 16 points on 5-of-12 shooting and had eight rebounds Wednesday night in a 117-79 blowout that spoiled the Los Angeles Clippers' season opener.

Andrew Bynum added 12 points and nine rebounds, Derek Fisher and Jordan Farmar scored 15 each, Pau Gasol had 13, Trevor Ariza 11 and Chris Mihm 10.

"It feels good to be out there working together, being aggressive and playing hard," said Gasol, who had nine rebounds and is a force at forward since he no longer has to fill in at center.

The new-look Clippers seemed essentially like their usual sub .500 selves, no match for the talent and versatility of the defending Western Conference champion Lakers.

Baron Davis had 11 points on 4-of-13 shooting in his Clippers' debut, with seven assists. Al Thornton scored 16 points, and Cuttino Mobley and Tim Thomas each had 11.

"It was a rude awakening for us, to let us see that mountain we've got to climb," Davis said. "Did I expect to lose like that? No. Do I expect us to go 0-7? No.

"We're going to just have to figure it out on the fly."

The Lakers began their season with a similar rout a night earlier, breezing to a 96-76 win at home against Portland on Tuesday.

Even coach Phil Jackson didn't expect the Lakers' opening two games to be so one-sided.

"We have to say it's a surprise, (but) our team is playing at a high level," he said. "Our next game is on the road (at Denver on Saturday), so it's a team that has a lot of animosity I'm sure from last year's playoffs. We'll see how we do when we go to their place."

The Lakers swept Denver in the first round.

As they did against the Trail Blazers, the Lakers played suffocating defense, holding the Clippers to 38 percent shooting while shooting 51 percent themselves and going 10-of-19 from 3-point range.

Bynum, back after a knee injury last January that sidelined him for the rest of the season, went 4-of-7 from the floor and helped jam up the middle on defense, blocking three shots.

"We went out there and played great defense tonight again, and as long as we hold teams to under 80 points, I think we're doing a pretty good job," Bynum said. "I think the record for that is six straight (under 80) and we're going to try and go after it."

The Lakers' depth, he said, helps on both ends of the court.

"Everybody came in from the starting five to the second unit and moved the ball around and got a bunch of fast break points," he said.

The Clippers, who lost longtime mainstay Elton Brand and Corey Maggette among others during the offseason, have nine newcomers who played for other teams last season.

Davis played just one preseason game because of a finger injury, and another new addition, Marcus Camby, is out with a bruised right heel.

Down 33-32, the Lakers got some spark from the reserves and reeled off a 24-6 string beginning with Farmar's running jumper with 8:18 remaining in the second quarter. Ariza scored eight points during the run and Farmar had five points, three assists and a rebound.

That helped the Lakers open a 56-39 lead with 1:06 remaining and they were up 59-44 at halftime.

They outscored the Clippers 26-13 in the third quarter and were ahead 85-57 heading into the final quarter.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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