LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles belongs to the Clippers right now, and they're looking for much more than city dominance at this point.
Chris Paul had 30 points and 13 assists, Blake Griffin added 24 points, and the Clippers led all the way in a 107-102 victory on Friday night, giving them two wins in two games this season against their Staples Center co-tenants. They also stopped a two-game skid and maintained the NBA's second-best record at 26-8.
"Right now we're just focused on being one of the best teams in the league, not just the city," said Lamar Odom, one of four former Lakers on the Clippers' roster. "Focus can't be just to be better than one team. Now we're trying to be great."
Kobe Bryant scored 38 points and Dwight Howard had 21 points and 15 rebounds for the Lakers.
Bryant carried them in the fourth quarter when they closed to 99-97 on his 23-foot jumper with 1:29 left. But Paul scored the Clippers' final eight points to seal the victory and drop the Lakers two games below .500. The Clippers lead the Lakers by 10 games in the standings.
"He's lasered in on the game and trying to get us out of this ditch," new Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni said about Bryant. "We've just got to keep working and keep our heads up and try to do it."
The Lakers have lost three of their last four games.
"We played extremely well and we played well defensively in the fourth quarter, so we've just got to kind of rely on that a little bit," Bryant said. "We've got to watch the film and just kind of understand some of the adjustments that we made from the first three quarters. They're just extremely athletic and they do a good job of running and getting out and getting momentum for easy baskets."
The Clippers shot 50 percent and outscored the Lakers 52-36 in the paint, but they didn't play well with the lead down the stretch. Griffin picked up his fifth foul on a technical early in the fourth.
"We let some things distract us, which gave Kobe an opportunity to make some shots at the end," Odom said. "We can't worry about officiating and the small things in the game. Tonight was a mental test. We could've done better at times, but the win we'll take."
Bryant scored 16 points in the fourth, when the Lakers rallied from 19 points down. The Clippers fouled for much of the final 5:51, and the Lakers made 10 of 12 free throws. Howard missed two foul shots but then made two to get the Lakers within four before Bryant's jumper got the Lakers the closest they had been since early in the game.
"We've just got to continually work on doing a better job finishing games out the way we need to at times," Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said. "We made it a little bit harder on ourselves than we needed to. Sometimes it wasn't efficient, but we battled the whole night, which was great."