Lakers 112, Clippers 104

Kobe Bryant scored 12 of his 37 points in the fourth quarter tonight, leading the Lakers to their third victory in four games this season over the Clippers. Pau Gasol added 26 points, Ron Artest scored 15 points and had a key steal late in the game and Andrew Bynum scored 11 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. Mo Williams scored 30 for the Clippers, a season high by two points. Blake Griffin had 22 points.

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Half: Lakers 57, Clippers 48

Kobe Bryant played like there was absolutely nothing wrong with his sprained left ankle, scoring 17 points in the first half of the Lakers’ Hallway Series game tonight against the Clippers. Pau Gasol added 14 points on 7-for-10 shooting, which meant he was on the hook for $14,000 in his charity relief effort for victims of the Japan earthquake and tsunami. Blake Griffin had 14 points, including a dunk off a lob from Al-Farouq Aminu. Mo Williams added 12 points for the Clippers, but Eric Gordon was scoreless on 0-for-7 shooting.

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Bynum doesn’t get it

Andrew Bynum said today of his two-game suspension for cracking Michael Beasley in the chest and knocking him to the floor last Friday: “I don’t think what I did was deserving of it. I really don’t think I did anything too wrong. It was unfortunate the guy fell the way he did and got hurt. If he didn’t fall down or get hurt, it would have been different.”

And if this was 1981 he probably wouldn’t have been suspended, but it’s 2011 and he did get a two-game vacation for failing to make a play on the ball. Luckily for Bynum, the Lakers won both games while he was barred. If not, if his absence cost them two wins and they finished third instead of second in the West, then it was an even sillier play.

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Gasol gives for a good cause

Pau Gasol will donate $1,000 for every point he scores in Friday’s game against the Clippers to a charity providing relief to victims of the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Gasol is one of 20 NBA players, including his younger brother, Marc of the Memphis Grizzlies and Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose, who are participating in the relief effort. If you want to help the effort, you can donate to the Japan Relief and Recovery Fund at www.directrelief.org/Japanrelief or text Give10 to 20222 to give $10.

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Day of rest

Andrew Bynum promised to talk today, but he and the rest of the Lakers got a day off after their triple-overtime thriller of a victory Tuesday night over the Phoenix Suns. Bynum hasn’t spoken publicly since he was suspended for Tuesday’s game and Sunday’s victory over the Portland Trail Blazers for his flagrant foul against Minnesota’s Michael Beasley. We’ll do our best to corner him and make him explain himself after Thursday’s practice. Bynum is eligible to play Friday against the Clippers, the fourth and final game of the Hallway Series this season. The Lakers lead so far, 2-1.

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Lakers 139, Suns 137 (3 OT)

Many of the numbers were staggering. The Lakers needed three overtimes and 3 hours, 9 minutes to defeat the Phoenix Suns tonight at Staples Center for their fifth consecutive victory and their 13th in 14 games since the All-Star Break. Kobe Bryant scored a season-high 42 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and added nine assists in 48 minutes. It was his third game with 41 points or more this season. Lamar Odom scored a season-high 29 points, grabbed 16 rebounds and added five assists in a team-leading 55:13. Pau Gasol had 24 points and 13 rebounds in 52:22. Channing Frye scored 32 points in 56:59 for Phoenix. Marcin Gortat added 24 points in 53:05 in a reserve role for the Suns, and Steve Nash scored 19 points with five rebounds and 20 assists.

Said Odom: “I’m tired. I want to go home. I’m hungry for pancakes.”

Said Bryant: “We rallied, stuck with it and won the game.”

Said Lakers coach Phil Jackson: “I was hoping to be home by 11 o’clock.”

It was the Lakers’ first triple OT game since a Dec. 29, 2006 loss to Charlotte.

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Half: Lakers 66, Suns 60

The Lakers streak of 11 consecutive games of holding the opposition to less than 100 points was doomed by a high scoring first half tonight against the Phoenix Suns at Staples Center. The Portland Trail Blazers, who had 101 points in the Lakers’ overtime win Feb. 23, are the last team to top 100. The Suns are also assured of 100 or more tnoght, though. The Lakers took a modest lead just before halftime. Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant each scored 14 points for the Lakers. Vince Carter had 13 for Phoenix.

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Van Gundy to replace Jackson?

The Lakers are going to need a new coach when Phil Jackson rides off into the sunset at the end of the season. Brian Shaw, a longtime Lakers assistant, figures to be the most logical internal candidate. But what about from outside the organization? Marc Stein of ESPN.com offers a few lines about one possible replacement: “I heard again this week that the Lakers remain intrigued by the prospect of hiring Jeff Van Gundy — and you have to presume that the reigning champs are in the select club of teams with the wherewithal to finally lure Van Gundy away from ESPN’s courtside announcing table — but I’ve had the same question every year when someone says he’s a candidate in L.A.: Can Van Gundy really deliver the sort of entertainment that Lakers owner Jerry Buss craves?”

Ummm, my answer would be, no.

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Bryant back to normal

After he showed as much on-court emotion as he has all season after hitting a key jump shot during the Lakers’ victory Sunday over the Portland Trail Blazers, Kobe Bryant was back to providing painfully short answers for reporters after today’s practice.

“Yeah, it was intense,” he said of the Lakers’ come-from-behind victory.

“He’s being doing it from Day 1,” he said of Derek Fisher’s fine fourth quarter play.

“We know how to get it done,” he said of rallying to win.

“Yeah,” he said when asked if was a little more emotional than usual Sunday.

“I don’t know why. I just was,” he added.

The playoffs must be right around the corner.

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Lakers 84, Blazers 80

The Lakers won their fourth in a row and their 12th in their last 13 games when they rallied to defeat the Portland Trail Blazers tonight at Staples Center. They also clinched the Pacific Division title and the playoff berth that goes with it. Kobe Bryant scored 22 points on 9-for-20 shooting, Lamar Odom had 16 points and 11 rebounds and Pau Gasol added 14 points and 13 rebounds. Andrew Bynum served the first game of a two-game suspension. Nicolas Batum had 25 points for the Trail Blazers, a possible first-round playoff opponent. LaMarcus Aldridge added 18 points. The Lakers (50-20) won with defense, holding the Trail Blazers to 14 points on 5-for-18 shooting (27.8 percent) in the fourth quarter.

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