Luke Walton scored 13 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter and the Los Angeles Lakers beat the short-handed Clippers 106-78 Thursday night for their fifth win in six games. The victory moved the Lakers (54-25) within 1 1/2 games of the Western Conference-leading New Orleans Hornets entering Friday night's showdown between the teams. The Hornets play three of their last four games on the road while the Lakers finish with three at home.
Kobe Bryant scored 16 points, Lamar Odom had 14 points and 13 rebounds and Pau Gasol added 13 points for the Lakers, who blew the game open by outscoring the Clippers 32-11 to finish the third quarter and start the fourth for a 94-67 lead with 6 1/2 minutes left. Odom was the only Lakers starter to play in the final period. Bryant shot just 6-of-17 and backcourt mate Derek Fisher went 3-of-10.