Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 4)

Series starts 11/18

Game 1: Friday, November 18th
Game 2: Saturday, January 7th
Game 3: Friday, February 24th
Game 4: Sunday, April 9th

Clippers 97

(7-2, 4-2 away)

Lakers 91

(4-5, 2-2 home)

    Coverage: FSPI

    7:30 PM ET, November 18, 2005

    STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA

    1 2 3 4 T
    LAC 27 26 21 2397
    LAL 21 24 20 2691

    Top Performers

    LAC: E. Brand 23 Pts, 14 Reb, 3 Ast, 1 Stl, 5 Blk

    LAL: K. Bryant 36 Pts, 4 Reb, 5 Ast

    Clippers take first round in Battle of Los Angeles

    LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The NBA's balance of power in Los Angeles seems to be shifting.

    Led by Elton Brand, the Clippers beat Kobe Bryant and the Lakers 97-91 on Friday night.

    Bryant, making some of his off-balance, high-arcing jumpers but missing more often, scored 36 points on 12-of-35 shooting.

    The win extended the Clippers' franchise-best start to 7-2 and was their third victory in a row over their city rivals dating to last season.

    "The wins keep piling up. It's not about a rivalry," said Brand, who had 23 points, 14 rebounds and five blocks. "If you ask us, we think we're a better team. We have a better record, we're in the same division, and it feels good to get out of here with this one."

    Bryant noted the Clippers' improvement.

    "They made a lot of big changes this year. Their management team went out there and made some big acquisitions and brought in some very talented players along with the players that have been here," Bryant said. "It is a good team."

    Corey Maggette added 21 points, Cuttino Mobley had 20, and Sam Cassell had 17 for the Clippers, who never trailed.

    Both Cassell, who turned 36 Friday, and Mobley are newcomers this season.

    "Lakers versus Clippers is great for the fans and the community and we just want to keep it going," Maggette said. "We wanted it. It's great to beat the Lakers, so maybe we have some bragging rights."

    Lamar Odom had 18 points for the Lakers, who dropped to 4-5.

    The Clippers and Lakers split their series 2-2 last season. The Lakers lead the series 78-22 since the Clippers moved to Los Angeles, and 124-42 in all games against the franchise.

    The Clippers were ahead 74-65 heading into the fourth quarter, and increased the lead to 78-65 before the Lakers began a comeback that cut it to 87-82 with 2:54 remaining. But they got no closer.

    Bryant scored 12 points in the fourth, but 10 of those came on 11 free throws. He was good on only one of his nine field goal tries in the quarter.

    "I think we are relying on me way too much and I am taking way too many shots to try to keep us competitive," Bryant said. "We really have to get back to the basics."

    The Clippers shot 44 percent to the Lakers' 39 percent.

    Bryant scored 13 points for the Lakers in the third, but his teammates totaled only seven points in the period.

    The Clippers were up 53-45 at halftime after leading 27-21 at the end of the opening period.

    Although they never led, the Lakers pulled even four times in the first half, the last at 43 on Bryant's drive and free throw 4:03 before halftime.

    Brand hit a 14-footer to put the Clippers back in front, and they went on to open an eight-point lead over the closing four minutes of the half.

    Game notes

    Lakers F Kwame Brown left in the third quarter with a right hamstring strain. He had two points and eight rebounds. ... The game drew a sellout crowd of 18,997 to Staples Center, where both teams play, but it was the Lakers' home game. ... Lakers C Chris Mihm has been playing on a sore left ankle, but didn't appear to be slowed much. He had 12 points and nine rebounds. ... The Clippers last won a season series against the Lakers in 1992-93, and had done it just once before that, in 1974-75.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 97 91
    FGM-FGA 32-72 (.444) 33-85 (.388)
    3PM-3PA 3-10 (.300) 2-14 (.143)
    FTM-FTA 30-35 (.857) 23-30 (.767)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 6-43 13-41
    Assists 17 22
    Turnovers 13 10
    Steals 4 6
    Blocks 9 3
    Fast Break Points 8 6
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 22 (0/0) 20 (1/0)
    Largest Lead 13 0

    Top Performers

    Los Angeles
    Los Angeles
    Elton Brand Brand
    Points: 23
    Reb: 14
    Ast: 3
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 5
    Kobe Bryant Bryant
    Points: 36
    Reb: 4
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 0