The Lakers pulled away in the fourth quarter to beat a heavily-favored Clippers in the battle of Los Angeles on Tuesday night at Staples Center. The bench of the purple and gold scored its team's final 48 points, including 41 points in the final period in their 116-103 victory in the NBA season opener for both teams.
Unlikely heroes emerged from all over the place in this one. Journeyman Xavier Henry led the way with 22 points off the bench, and born-again Laker Jordan Farmar went for 16 in the win. Mike D'Antoni got 76 points off his reserves, and Pau Gasol and Steve Nash were watching happily from the bench as the Lakers outscored the Clippers 41-24 in the fourth quarter.
The big story from the preseason was the impact of Doc Rivers on the Clippers' defense, particularly DeAndre Jordan. But it was a sieve on Tuesday. The Lakers were able to hit 14 of their 29 three-point attempts, getting nearly anything they wanted as the game wore on. But most of that was because of the Lakers' energy. The Clippers held the Lakers to a decent 45 percent shooting, but they gave up 18 offensive rebounds in the process.
Blake Griffin led the way for the Clippers with 19 points, and DeAndre Jordan wasn't far behind with 17 of his own, most of which came on dunks. Chris Paul had a double-double with 15 points and 11 assists in defeat.
Both teams have Golden State next on their schedule. The Lakers held north to battle the Warriors in Oakland on Wednesday night, while the Clippers remain in Los Angeles to host Golden State in their home opener on Thursday.