LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The revitalized Los Angeles Clippers showed their grit by staging a fourth-quarter comeback to defeat the Los Angeles Lakers 99-92 on Sunday in a testy game that featured four late ejections.
Rookie Blake Griffin scored 10 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter to shake off a slow start, and Eric Gordon recorded a game-high 30 as the Clippers (14-25) overcame a seven-point deficit midway through the final period.
The high-flying Griffin had managed just two points in the first half, but came on strong to help the Clippers outscore the Lakers 31-21 in the final quarter to snap a seven-game win streak for the two-time defending champions.
"It helped so much that my team mates were playing well in the first half," Griffin told reporters after grabbing 15 rebounds to reach double-digits in points and rebounds for a team-record 26th straight game.
"Eric Gordon had an unbelievable game. This was a great team win."
The victory ended with things getting ugly between the rivals in the final seconds when Lakers forwards Lamar Odom and Ron Artest were ejected alongside Griffin and Clippers guard Baron Davis after a scuffle broke out under the basket.
Odom and Griffin began tussling for position with five seconds to go and it quickly escalated with both teams pushing and exchanging words.
"I saw Lamar grabbed (Blake) and pushed him, and I was telling him to back up," said Davis, who had 14 points and eight assists. "(Teams) take cheap shots at Blake and it's not fair. They've been doing it all year."
Kobe Bryant had 14 of his team-high 27 points in the third quarter when the Lakers (30-12) led by as much as 12 but could not hold on.
The Lakers were up 77-70 with seven minutes left but the Clippers seized the advantage in a three-minute span.
Andrew Bynum finished with 18 points and 13 rebounds in the losing effort.
The Lakers had beaten the Clippers in their previous meeting, 87-86 on December 8, when Derek Fisher make a buzzer-beating shot.
But behind young players Griffin and Gordon, the Clippers have made strides and won nine of their last 13.
(Writing by Jahmal Corner; Editing by Steve Ginsburg)