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Lakers, Clippers Face Off In Staples Center Showdown

(Sports Network) - The Los Angeles Clippers will play the host Sunday afternoon when they square off with their Staples Center co-tenants, the two-time defending NBA champion Lakers. The resurgent Clippers, who are opening up a three-game homestand, lost for the first time in four contests on Friday when Monta Ellis scored 30 points and dished out six assists to help the Golden State Warriors beat the Clips, 122-112, in Oakland.

Emerging superstar Blake Griffin recorded his franchise-record 25th straight double-double with 28 points and 13 rebounds for Vinny Del Negro's club, while Eric Gordon also scored 28 points in defeat. "We can't let down just because we lost this game," Gordon said. "We have some big games coming up. This is a lesson. We just have to get back to playing basketball."

The Lakers, who have a more than comfortable 11 1/2 game lead over second place Phoenix in the Pacific Division, won their seventh straight contest on Friday when Kobe Bryant notched 27 points to help the champs earn a 100-88 win over the lowly New Jersey Nets at Staples Center. Pau Gasol totaled 20 points and nine rebounds while Ron Artest and Lamar Odom both scored 14 points. Odom added 11 rebounds for the Lakers, who have also won seven straight against the Nets. Shannon Brown had 12 points in the victory.

"I felt pretty good out there," said Bryant. "It's been a while for me to work myself back into the rhythm. These are the toughest games for me to play." A win this afternoon and the Lakers would match their 8-0 start for their longest winning streak of the season. The Lakers have won 11 of their last 13 meetings over the Clippers, including a thrilling 87-86 win on Dec. 8 capped by Derek Fisher's layup at the buzzer.

For more information on today's game, be sure to read Silver Screen and Roll and Clips Nation.