With only six days until their respective season openers and only a few practices under their belt, it would be understandable if the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers were a little rusty. But the two teams provided an entertaining first half in their exhibition opener on Monday night at Staples Center. The Clippers lead 55-50 at halftime.
Kobe Bryant led all scorers with 15 points on just five field goal attempts. Bryant made nine of his 10 free throws and dished out two assists.
The Clippers have three All-Star point guards on their roster, and the trio had a nice first half. Chris Paul, Chauncey Billups, and Mo Williams combined for 25 points, on eight-of-15 shooting, and eight assists in the first half.
Speaking of point guard, Darius Morris got noticed in his 13 minutes in the opening half for the Lakers, making four of his six field goals, all jump shots. The rookie out of Michigan hit his only three-point attempt and had two rebounds and one assist as well.
For the Lakers, the player who looked the most ready to play - well, maybe in the non-Kobe division - was the one who will miss the first five games of the year. Andrew Bynum played more minutes than any player on either team, with 18, and grabbed eight rebounds to go along with his six points, block, and steal.
DeAndre Jordan, who was third in the NBA in dunks last season behind Dwight Howard and Blake Griffin, had a pair of crowd-pleasing slams in the opening 24 minutes, including an alley-oop from Paul in the second quarter. Bynum broke up a second alley-oop attempt by Paul and Jordan by getting his hand on a lob pass from the point guard.
Griffin had a relatively quiet first half, but scored seven points in the final four minutes of the half to finish with 10 points and three rebounds. Griffin brought the house down with a breakaway dunk on a pass off the backboard from Billups. However, Griffin was called for a technical foul for hanging on the rim.