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Bynum, Bryant dominate as Lakers roll Clippers

LOS ANGELES -- Andrew Bynum wore a broad grin as he sat in front of his locker.

Little wonder, because he had just finished playing the game of his life.

Bynum scored a career-high 42 points, Kobe Bryant had his second triple-double in three games and the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Clippers 108-97 Wednesday night.

"If feels very good, to go out there and play the way I did," the 21-year-old center said. "I was able to get a lot of easy buckets. Kobe was Kobe Nash out there tonight. The ball was coming my way a lot. I was able to just get a lot of touches and get comfortable."

Bynum became the first Lakers player to reach 40 points other than Bryant since Shaquille O'Neal scored 48 against Boston on March 21, 2003. Bynum shot 17-of-24 from the floor and 8-of-11 from the foul line, and added 15 rebounds and four blocked shots.

"I didn't know how many [points] I had, and that's just the truth," he said. "The fans were yelling for me to get 40. And then once I got the dunk, everybody was on their feet cheering."

Bynum referred to a dunk off an assist from Bryant with 57.5 seconds left. He got another dunk before the buzzer.

While Bynum said he wasn't aware of his point total, Bryant certainly was, making several pointed efforts to get his young center the ball as time wound down. While that was going on, the Clippers cut a 16-point Lakers lead to seven, but that's as close as they got.

"There's nothing wrong with that," Bryant said with a smile.

Regarding Bynum, Bryant said: "The more you play, the better you get. He's going to continue to progress. It's great for him. I was more pleased to see how he controlled the lane."

The Lakers raised their record to a Western Conference-best 33-8 record at the halfway point of the season and earned Phil Jackson an All-Star coaching spot. He'll lead the West All-Stars on Feb. 15 in Phoenix. It's the fourth time Jackson has been an All-Star coach and first since 2000.

Bryant, playing in pain two days after dislocating his right ring finger, had 18 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists for his 16th career triple-double. He hadn't had one since April 1, 2005, before accomplishing the feat last Friday night in a 109-103 loss to Orlando.

Bryant has 45 assists in his last four games -- the most in any four-game stretch in his career.

"We're in a good rhythm of how teams are playing against me, how they're matching up against me," he said, adding his finger felt a lot better in this game than it did Monday night, when he was injured two minutes into a 105-88 victory over Cleveland.

Lamar Odom had 19 points and nine rebounds for the Lakers, who have won their last seven games against the Clippers by an average of 24.4 points.

Rookie DeAndre Jordan, making his second career start, had career-high totals of 23 points and 12 rebounds for the injury-ravaged Clippers (9-32), who have lost 14 of 15. Al Thornton added 20 points and rookie Eric Gordon had 16 points and six assists.

"I was certainly pleased with our effort again," Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said. "Our guys played their hearts out and did a lot of really good things out there. I thought we moved the ball nicely. But the big difference in the game was their size against us -- 17 offensive rebounds for 34 points."

The Clippers played without their four best players -- guard Baron Davis (bruised tailbone) and big men Chris Kaman (strained left arch), Zach Randolph (sore left knee) and Marcus Camby (sprained left ankle).

That left the seldom-used Jordan, journeyman Brian Skinner and second-year player Thornton as the starters up front, and they were no match for the Lakers' big men -- especially Bynum.

"He is a great player," Jordan said. "He is big. When he gets in the paint he takes up a lot of space. He uses his arms really well and makes you get over him."

Said Bynum of Jordan: "I don't think I picked on him. I think he was picking on us, the way he was dunking the ball out there."

Bynum surpassed his previous career high of 28 points with a dunk 2 1/2 minutes into the third quarter, giving the Lakers a 65-56 lead, and added seven points during a 21-11 run to finish the third quarter, putting the Lakers on top 88-73. They led by as many as 18 before the Clippers made a game of it, only to fall short.

Bynum shot 11-of-14 for 25 points and had 10 rebounds in the first half, which ended with the Lakers on top by just three points despite shooting 50 percent and committing only five turnovers. Jordan already had a career-high 12 points at that stage for the Clippers, who shot 56.1 percent in the opening 24 minutes.

The Lakers finished shooting 50 percent to 48.7 percent for the Clippers, and won the rebounding battle 46-26.

Game notes
The Lakers have an 89-25 record against the Clippers since they moved from San Diego to Los Angeles in 1984. ... The Lakers entered with an NBA-leading 107.6-point scoring average, while the Clippers were averaging 93 points to rank next-to-last, ahead of only Charlotte (91.2). ... Starting Lakers F Luke Walton returned to action after missing nine games because of an injured right foot and scored 11 points. ... Jackson said he hoped G Jordan Farmar, who missed his 16th game because of an injured left knee, would be able to practice later this week and return to action next Tuesday night against Charlotte or early in a six-game road trip that begins three days later at Minnesota.