Chris Paul welcomed himself to Los Angeles on Monday night at Staples Center in his preseason debut with his new team. The Los Angeles Clippers used a 30-9 run to close out the third quarter, turning a close game into a blowout, beating the Los Angeles Lakers 114-95 in the first of two exhibition games between the two teams.
Paul scored 17 points, dished out nine assists, and had seven rebounds and five steals in his 24 minutes. Paul combined with fellow newcomer Chauncey Billups for a lethal backcourt combination that sank the Lakers. Billups scored 23 points in just 20 minutes, on just eight field goal attempts. Billups hit four of six shots from three-point range.
The Clippers ran circles around the Lakers in the third period, turning a 61-58 game into a 91-67 lead by the end of the quarter thanks in part to hitting six of their seven three-point attempts. Former Laker Brian Cook even got into the act with 12 points in 19 minutes off the bench.
The Clippers shot 48.8% as a team, compared to 44.8% for the Lakers.
Both teams play again at Staples Center Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m., with the Clippers playing the role of home team in their second and final preseason encounter.