Following an offseason of big moves and championship talk, the Los Angeles Clippers were quickly humbled in their season opener.
It doesn't figure to get any easier in their first official home game Thursday night against red-hot Klay Thompson and the Golden State Warriors.
The new-look Clippers (0-1) will try again for their first victory in the Doc Rivers era after the Kobe Bryant-less Lakers stunned them with a late 28-8 run en route to a 116-103 win Tuesday at Staples Center.
Blake Griffin led the defending Pacific Division champions with 19 points and seven rebounds, while DeAndre Jordan contributed 17 points on 8-of-10 shooting with 11 boards.
Despite missing eight of his 13 shots, Chris Paul added 15 points and 11 assists.
The Clippers, however, were outscored 76-34 off the bench - the most points by the Lakers' reserves since March 1985. New additions Jared Dudley, J.J. Redick and Darren Collison had minimal impact, combining for 27 points.
"We were not ready tonight," said Rivers, the longtime Celtics coach who hopes to push the Clippers into title contention. "(The Lakers) have heard for probably the last two months how good (we) were going to be ... so you knew that they were going to play like this was the world championship - with that type of energy. And I thought we never matched it. Everything they did was harder than us and more physical than us.
"So it was a good lesson for us."
After allowing 41 points in the fourth quarter and 14-of-29 shooting from 3-point range, Rivers' club will need a better performance against talented, up-tempo Golden State (1-0).
In their solid opener Wednesday, the Warriors showed why many believe they can contend for the Western Conference title. They shot 53.5 percent overall and sank 15 of 27 from beyond the arc in a 125-94 rout that made the Lakers look like a different team than the one from a night earlier.
"When we are clicking," coach Mark Jackson said, "we know how good we can be."
Golden State held visiting Los Angeles to 39.3-percent shooting and dominated the boards 48-39.
Thompson got off to an outstanding start, pouring in a career-high 38 points on 15-of-19 shooting - including 5 of 7 from 3-point range. He's fared well against the Clippers, averaging 18.4 points and hitting 17 of 37 from long range in his last five meetings.
Golden State averaged 106.0 points and shot 40.7 percent on 3s while taking three of the four meetings with the Clippers last season.
Paul scored 25.7 per game over the first three matchups before going 1 for 7 for four points in a 106-99 loss at Golden State on Jan. 21.
Jamal Crawford, who had 24 points and hit six 3-pointers in that contest, has averaged 27.3 points in his last four meetings with the Warriors.
Stephen Curry scored 27.3 per game while making 14 of 23 from 3-point range in the three wins over the Clippers in 2012-13.
Teammate Harrison Barnes missed the opener with left foot inflammation, and will sit out again in this contest.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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