Chris Paul and Chauncey Billups combined for 29 points in the first half, leading the Los Angeles Clippers to a 55-42 halftime lead over the Los Angeles Clippers Saturday night at Staples Center. Caron Butler, who has scored exactly 20 points in each of his last three games, scored nine of his 11 points in the first quarter for the Clippers.
Kobe Bryant, who has scored 40 points or more in each of his last three game, struggled mightily in the opening half, making just three of 12 field goals on his way to 11 points.
The Clippers abused the Lakers on the glass, outrebounded the purple and gold 35-22, including 13 offensive rebounds. DeAndre Jordan had nine rebounds in the first half, while Blake Griffin had a double-double with 12 points and 10 boards himself for the Clippers. Board machine Reggie Evans had six rebounds in 10 minutes off the bench in the opening half.
Tempers flared at the end of the first quarter, when rookie point guard Darius Morris was fouled with 12 seconds remaining in the opening period. After the play was long over, Morris drove to the hoop and dunked it, but was lightly pushed by Griffin as he did so. Lakers' coach Mike Brown went ballistic on the sideline that there was no technical foul called on Griffin, and Brown drew a technical foul himself, and was really lucky he wasn't ejected.
Pau Gasol scored 10 points and had five rebounds in the opening half, while Andrew Bynum added eight points and eight rebounds for the Lakers, who shot 37.2% (18 for 46) in the first half.