Farewell, Kobe: Lakers lose 103-81 to Clippers as visitors
LOS ANGELES, California—Chris Paul scored 25 points and the Los Angeles Clippers defeated the Lakers 103-81 on Tuesday night, beating their Staples Center co-tenants for the 10th straight time in Kobe Bryant’s last game as a visitor in his home arena.
Jeff Green added 21 points off the bench for the Clippers, whose franchise-record victory streak over the Lakers is their second-longest active run against any opponent.
Bryant scored six points on 2-of-12 shooting following a 34-point performance in a loss to Boston on Sunday. The crowd, including plenty of Lakers fans, made Bryant feel at home, cheering his introduction and when he re-entered the game in the second quarter.
The Clippers paid tribute to the superstar guard, who retires next Wednesday, with a video shown just before he was introduced. Paul and Paul Pierce wished him well in between highlights of Bryant playing against the Clippers. Bryant clapped in appreciation.
Fans chanted “MVP! MVP!” while Bryant shot free throws in the first quarter but it was more in reverence for the five-time NBA champion than for anything he’s done lately. He was a combined 2 for 18 in two games before his breakout against the Celtics.
The starting five combined to shoot 10 for 51 in the Lakers’ 10th loss in 12 games. Metta World Peace led them with 17 points. Jordan Clarkson, who scored 10 points, had X-rays on his right foot and leg after getting stepped on.
Blake Griffin had four points in 16 minutes of his second game for the Clippers since returning from a 45-game absence.
The Clippers began the third quarter on a 19-3 run that extended their lead to 71-47. Paul scored 12 points, including consecutive 3-pointers, in the spurt. Bryant missed his only two jumpers of the quarter and had a steal and a turnover while his teammates mustered no defense, leaving the Clippers leading 84-60 going into the fourth.
Bryant didn’t play in the fourth and sat on the bench looking more like an aging NFL quarterback, with both shoulders and both knees heavily wrapped. Fans saluted him by doing various chants of his name, causing Bryant to laugh and point at them in thanks. They held up homemade signs and used camera phones to capture his constant smile.
At the final buzzer, Bryant gave a thumbs-up and walked off.
The Clippers raced to a 20-2 lead to start the game, with Bryant missing all six shots in the first quarter. The Lakers cut their deficit to seven points four times in the second, once on Bryant’s pull-up jumper. His reverse layup sent the Lakers into halftime trailing 52-44.