Kobe Bryant did not dress for the Lakers because of a torn ligament in his right wrist. A MRI revealed the injury, which occurred Monday night when he was sent crashing to the floor by Clippers center DeAndre Jordan on a layup early in the third quarter of a 114-95 loss.
Caron Butler and reserve guard Mo Williams each scored 16 points, and Jordan added 14 for the Clippers, who open their season Christmas night at Golden State. Chris Paul finished with 10 assists and seven points.
Andrew Bynum had 26 points and 11 rebounds for the Lakers, who also begin their schedule on Sunday against Chicago. Reserve Steve Blake had 20 points against his former team.
Bryant is wearing a soft cast on his shooting wrist, and his status for the season opener is up in the air. One thing is certain: The Lakers will start the regular season without Bynum, who had 41 points and 23 rebounds in the two preseason games.
Bynum was suspended without pay for the first five games because of a flagrant foul against Dallas’ J.J. Barea in Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals.
Derek Fisher had seven points and eight assists in 24 minutes.
The Clippers, who trailed by as many as 11 points, didn’t take their first lead until Jordan converted an alley-oop pass from Paul on a fast break to put them ahead 59-58 with 8:54 left in the third quarter. By game’s end, they had converted 20 Lakers turnovers into 30 points – while committing only six turnovers themselves.
The Clippers were leading 64-62 when Griffin was shoved to the floor from behind by former Clipper Matt Barnes as he tried to receive a pass from Paul with his back to the basket.
Barnes was assessed a flagrant foul, and the Clippers followed with an 11-0 run that extended their lead to 74-62 with 3:12 minutes left in the third.
The Lakers trailed by 13 early in the fourth before Troy Murphy capped a 14-4 run with a 3-pointer that sliced the margin to 90-87 with 6:07 to play.
But Griffin responded with nine points in a 1:44 span to help put the game out of reach.
With the regular season reduced to 66 games, Staples Center‘s co-tenants will face each other three times instead of the usual four.