Blake Griffin scored 39 points and went 11 for 12 from the free throw line, powering the Los Angeles Clippers to a gritty 118-111 victory over the winless Lakers in the first meeting of the season between the Staples Center co-tenants.
DeAndre Jordan had 11 points and 13 rebounds during a foul-plagued 39 minutes. The two-time defending Pacific Division champions have won eight of nine against the Lakers (0-3) since the start of the 2012-13 campaign, including victories by margins of 36, 48 and 23 points in the final three meetings last season.
Chris Paul had 12 points, 10 assists and two steals for the Clippers.
Jordan Hill scored 13 of his 21 points in the third quarter and Kobe Bryant had 21, but cost the Lakers down the stretch with his cold shooting.
After stumbling out of the blocks with an 18-point loss to Houston and a 20-point defeat at Phoenix, the injury-riddled Lakers are 0-3 for the fourth time since the franchise left Minneapolis. They also lost their first three games last season, as well as 1978-79 and 1960-61 – their first season in Los Angeles.
Jordan picked up his fifth foul with 6:23 remaining and the Clippers trailing 101-99. Griffin’s two free throws tied it for the third time in the quarter at 103 before Jeremy Lin beat the shot clock with a 3-pointer over Paul from the right sideline to give Lakers their last lead.
Lin finished with 17 points and nine assists.
Jamal Crawford, last season’s Sixth Man of the Year, had 22 points off the bench – including a 3-pointer that gave the Clippers the lead for good at 112-109 with 1:37 left. J.J. Redick put it away with four free throws in the final 15 seconds.
Starting forward Wesley Johnson, 0 for 5 in the first half, made a 3 on his first shot of the third quarter and Hill put the Lakers ahead 62-61 on a layup with 10:01 left in the period after they trailed by 15 points with less than 4 minutes to go in the first.
Griffin led the Clippers to a 62-56 halftime lead with 18 points on 8-for-13 shooting, after missing his first six shots in Thursday’s 93-90 win over Oklahoma City. His first 3-pointer of the season gave them a 25-12 lead with 4:34 left in the first. The Lakers sliced a 13-point deficit to 45-42 with an 11-1 spurt capped by Bryant’s 3-pointer with 4:31 left in the half.
Clippers: Griffin was 12 for 44 from 3-point range last season. … Jordan slammed home a rebound of Paul’s missed 3-pointer, increasing the Clippers’ lead to 55-48 with 2:21 left in the half. … Paul had 42 points, 15 rebounds and six assists against Golden State last Halloween.
Lakers: Bryant helped Paul to his feet after knocking him down in the second quarter. … The Lakers Band made a rare appearance on the court to play the national anthem. Team president Jeanie Buss high-fived each of them as they walked off. … Johnson had five points in 30 minutes before fouling out with 4:22 remaining.
Doc Rivers joked before season that he couldn't have Ballmer sitting behind his bench. But that's where Ballmer is today for roadie @lakers