LOS ANGELES - Although the Clippers were just a few seconds away from finishing off the Lakers and their seven-game winning streak, Blake Griffin and Lamar Odom refused to stop grinding and digging for one last rebound.
That competition led to a confrontation, which led to a minor shoving match, which led to a major scrum and four ejections as Los Angeles’ cross-hallway rivals put a feisty finish on a rivalry game that’s only getting more interesting.
Eric Gordon scored 30 points and Griffin had 18 points and 15 rebounds after a slow start in the Clippers’ latest stellar performance against the NBA’s elite, beating the Lakers, 99-92 on Sunday.
Baron Davis had 14 points and eight assists as the surging Clippers won for the fourth time in five games. Four days after beating Miami, the Clippers trailed by 12 points late in the third quarter before making a 16-3 run to blow past the two-time defending champions.
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“We have a good rivalry,” said Gordon, who scored 24 points in the Clippers’ loss to the Lakers last month on Derek Fisher’s buzzer-beating layup. “We always look forward to playing against these guys, and it’s always real interesting.”
This time around, Odom’s scuffle with Griffin and Davis with 5.7 seconds to play was the attention-grabber.
While Randy Foye made a free throw to put the Clippers ahead 99-90, Griffin slammed aggressively into Odom’s back while seeking position for a possible rebound. Odom grabbed Griffin’s jersey and verbally expressed his displeasure.
“Maybe I overreacted, but I just feel like if you’re up 9, a ram in the back at that point?” Odom asked. “Any other time, I get it. You play hard, you’re strong, whatever, but the ram in the back (while) up 9? I don’t get it, so I’m just going to have to react.”
Griffin ducked his head and tried to walk away from the confrontation. That’s when Davis shoved Odom firmly in the chest, leading to both teams circling under the hoop.