The good news for the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday night was that Kobe Bryant continued his scoring frenzy, scoring 42 points and almost singlehandedly delivering a comeback win. The bad news is that the lead, nor the win, never came as the Lakers fell to the Los Angeles Clippers 102-94 at Staples Center in their first meeting this season.
The loss snapped a five-game winning streak for the Lakers.
Bryant scored 21 of his 42 in the third quarter that saw the Lakers cut a 13-point deficit to two at one point. Kobe hit 14 of 28 field goals en route to his 42 points, his fourth straight game scoring at least 40 points, and the 111th time he has reached the 40-point plateau in his career. Bryant has averaged 38 points per game over his last eight contests.
Andrew Bynum (12 points, 16 rebounds) and Pau Gasol (14 points, 10 rebounds) each had double-doubles for the Lakers, but the duo also shot just 13 of 30 (43.3%) from the field. The Lakers were outrebounded 50-42 on the night, and gave up 17 offensive rebounds to the Clippers.
Yes, this was the fourth game in five nights for the Lakers while the Clippers had two days of rest to prepare for Saturday, but the fact remains that the Clippers are a force to be reckoned with in the Pacific Division. At 6-3 (.667), the Clippers hold a better winning percentage than the Lakers at 9-5 (.643), though the schedule wasn't built to figure games back with such a large disparity of games played.
The Lakers are off Sunday, then host the Dallas Mavericks on Monday night.