By Joe Resnick
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
LOS ANGELES _ Chris Paul scored 23 points and the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Los Angeles Lakers 94-84 on Friday night to end a three-game skid and win their eighth straight against their Staples Center co-tenants.
Kobe Bryant scored 12 points for the Lakers in his NBA-record 16th and final Christmas Day game. He played 26 minutes and sat out the entire fourth quarter while the Lakers outscored the Clippers 27-9.
J.J. Redick had 14 points and DeAndre Jordan had nine points and 14 rebounds for the Clippers. They have won 12 of their last 13 meetings with the Lakers.
Rookie D’Angelo Russell had a team-high 16 points off the bench for the Lakers.
Bryant announced on Nov. 29 that he will retire after this season, his 20th in the NBA. He has a record 395 points on Christmas Day.
The Clippers took an 85-57 lead into the fourth, and both coaches rested all of their starters until the Lakers started to make a move led by Russell, Julius Randle and Marcelo Huertas.
After missing a 35-point home loss to Oklahoma City on Wednesday because of a sore ankle, Randle started this one with 15 scoreless minutes off the bench. Then he got nine points in a 2:56 span _ including a 3-pointer that cut the deficit to 87-72 with 7:50 to play. He finished with 11 points.
The Clippers missed 15 of their first 18 shots in the final period. Clippers coach Doc Rivers was forced to put Paul, Redick, Jordan and Blake Griffin back in the game, while Lakers coach Byron Scott kept his reserves out there and left Bryant on the sidelines even as the crowd chanted Bryant’s name.
The Lakers got within 89-82 on a pair of free throws by Randle with 4:01 remaining, but then the Clippers pulled away with a 3-pointer by Wesley Johnson and a 16-footer by Paul.
The Clippers never trailed and used 17 points by Paul to build a 60-44 halftime lead. Bryant missed all three shots he took in the first quarter before scoring nine points in the second, including a pair of 3-pointers 29 seconds apart to help slice a 17-point deficit to 47-37 with 4:14 left.
The Lakers had 16 turnovers. Seven of them came in the first quarter, including a double-dribble violation against Russell and a travelling call against Randle on consecutive possessions during the final 64 seconds of the period.
Larry Nance Jr. also had an embarrassing moment in the opening quarter for the Lakers. The 6-foot-9 forward jumped for a defensive rebound and accidentally tipped the ball into the basket from just in front of the foul line about 2 1-2 minutes in. The points were awarded to Jordan.
Clippers: Doc Rivers played for the Knicks on Christmas Day in 1992, making 1 of 4 shots and scoring seven points in an 89-77 loss at Chicago. He also coached the Celtics on Christmas every year from 2008 through 2013. … G Austin Rivers was bummed about missing his second straight game because of a sprained right ankle _ and the timing of it.“ Man, I wanted to play so bad tonight, and I came this close,” he said, holding two fingers close together. “I’ve never played in a Christmas Day game. But I just can’t cut really quickly right now. It hurts.” … F Paul Pierce has played on Christmas Day for four different teams in the past four years, including Boston, Brooklyn and Washington.
Lakers: Bryant’s best game on Dec. 25 was in 2004, when he had 42 points in a 104-102 overtime loss to Miami at Staples Center. … The Lakers are 6-10 on Christmas when Bryant has played, including 0-4 against Miami. … Oscar Robertson held the previous career record for points on Christmas with 377 before Bryant broke it in 2012. He sat out the previous two years because of injuries. … This was the second time the Lakers played the Clippers on Christmas, having won 85-75 in 1991 at the Forum with 20 points from A.C. Green and 18 from Scott. … The Lakers have played on Christmas every year since 1998, when their season opener was delayed until Feb. 5 because of a lockout that reduced the schedule to 50 games.
Clippers: At Utah on Saturday night.
Lakers: At Memphis on Sunday night.