10:30 PM ET, October 18, 2009
STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA
LOS ANGELES -- Andrew Bynum overcame a cold-shooting start, scoring 20 points and grabbing 13 rebounds to help the Los Angeles Lakers erase a 15-point deficit and beat the Clippers 114-108 on Sunday night.
Shannon Brown made five of his first six shots off the bench and scored 19 points, seven of them in the final 3:43, after missing all six shots in a start against the Charlotte Bobcats on Saturday night.
Bynum started out 0 for 5 from the field, but converted a three-point play with 0.4 seconds left in the half to cut the Clippers' lead to 60-57 after the Lakers trailed 45-30 with just under 8 minutes left in the second quarter.
Kobe Bryant had 10 points in 28 minutes for the defending NBA champions, who trailed throughout the first half. Pau Gasol missed the game because of a right hamstring strain, forward Lamar Odom sat out again due to a bruised right shin and Luke Walton couldn't play on account of a sore back.
"We weren't prepared to play to start with and we made some mistakes defensively, which opened the doors," coach Phil Jackson said. "We still have to shore up the inside and stop the penetration dribble. We weren't very sharp offensively in the first quarter, either."
Adam Morrison scored 11 of his 14 points in the fourth quarter for the Lakers, including three baskets from 3-point range.
"It's nice to finally make some shots in a game," Morrison said. "You don't know before you get out there. I had good rhythm going for a little bit. My knee feels good and I feel comfortable out there, so hopefully I can squeeze my way into the rotation."
"I thought we played well," Smith said. "We came out aggressive in the first half. But in the second half, we kind of got away from what we were doing. They're the world champs, and they came out and took control of the game."
The Lakers didn't take their first lead until Bynum's layup put them ahead 61-60 with 10:49 left in the third, and they increased the margin to 85-77 on Jordan Farmar's layup 9 seconds into the fourth.
The Clippers closed to 87-86 when Griffin began a three-point play with a soaring dunk over 7-foot center DJ Mbenga that drew gasps from the partisan Laker crowd of 17,932.
"He looks like he's really an active player and a good athlete," Jackson said of Griffin. "He had an outstanding dunk over DJ. He runs the court well, but his improvement level has got a way to go as he adjusts to the game."
In a recent survey conducted by NBA.com, 79 percent of the league's general managers picked Griffin to end up as rookie of the year.
"He looks like he has a world of talent," Bryant said. "He is very athletic, he handles the basketball well and he has tremendous upside. He seems very polished, with good poise and good tempo. I think all he has to do is get used to the NBA game and get a feel for what it is he wants to do out there."
The Clippers went at Mbenga again moments later, as Baron Davis converted his foul into another three-point play after a 3-point basket at the other end by Morrison. But that was the last gasp for the Clips.
Farmar came right back with a 16-footer and a 3-pointer 25 seconds apart, and Morrison capped a 12-4 spurt with a 14-footer and another 3-pointer to give the Lakers a 102-93 cushion with 5:06 to play. Morrison added another 3 with 4:12 to go, and Brown's 21-footer gave the Lakers a commanding 109-97 lead with 3:09 left.
"We did a lot of good things," Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said. "But we made some careless mistakes where we let them back in the game. Then the Lakers' second group played well, and we committed a lot of fouls which screwed us up, substitution-wise."
Replacement referees Kurt Walker, Lorenzo Bronson and SirAllen Conner called 56 fouls. Dunleavy received a technical foul from Bronson with 8.9 seconds left in the third quarter for complaining after Griffin picked up his third foul.
The Clippers built a 13-point lead with 2:53 left in the opening quarter. Shooting guard Eric Gordon had the hot hand, hitting three shots from 3-point range during a 4:20 span. He finished with 18 points.
The Staples Center co-tennants will face each other in the regular-season opener on Oct. 27, when the Lakers hoist their 10th NBA championship banner since moving from Minneapolis to Los Angeles. It's the second straight season that the Clippers' first game will be against the Lakers, and the third time since the Clippers shifted from San Diego to Los Angeles in 1984. ... The Lakers are 31-9 against the Clippers during the regular season at Staples Center, which has been home to both teams since its opening in 1999-2000.
LOS ANGELES - OCTOBER 18: Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers greets Blake Griffin #32 of the Los Angeles...(Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
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