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Clippers send Lakers to 0-3 start with 105-95 win

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Clippers send Lakers to 0-3 start with 105-95 win

LOS ANGELES (AP) Kobe Bryant stuck his injured foot in an ice bucket and tried to relax. His star-studded Los Angeles Lakers are off to their first 0-3 start in 34 years, and even he isn't sure why nothing is working so far.

``It's particularly hard for me, because I'm not the most patient individual in the world,'' Bryant said. ``But you have to be. You have to be. You have to stay persistent. You have to stay committed to what you're doing, and just keep on trucking.''

So far this season, the Lakers have been a mighty 16-wheeler broken down on the side of the interstate - while their Staples Center co-tenants are cruising down the road.

Chris Paul had 18 points and 15 assists, Jamal Crawford scored 21 points and the Clippers beat the winless Lakers 105-95 Friday night.

Bryant scored 40 points and Dwight Howard had 13 points and eight rebounds while battling constant foul trouble for the Lakers, who are 0-3 for just the fourth time in franchise history. Steve Nash sat out with a bruised left leg for the Lakers, who have followed up their 0-8 preseason with three losses in four days.

``We need a win, obviously,'' Lakers coach Mike Brown said. ``I'm not trying to fool anyone here. That's part of the reason Kobe played the minutes he played, which is too many.''

Bryant logged 43 minutes on his bruised foot, which ``felt like it's about to fall off,'' he said.

``We're not supposed to coast and assume things are going to fix themselves,'' Bryant said. ``You've got to push at it. We've just got to keep working on what we do.''

The Clippers are no strangers to franchise turmoil, yet they coolly snapped a nine-game ``road'' losing streak against the Lakers dating to April 12, 2007. Blake Griffin scored 15 points before fouling out and Caron Butler had 14 for the Clippers, who pulled away steadily in the second half.

Just don't try to tell the Clippers that they're the new kings of L.A.

``I think it's the second game of the year, and you've got two teams here that just got together,'' Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said. ``It's too early to tell anything yet, other than we have to keep getting better.''

While the Clippers celebrated, the pro-Lakers crowd reacted to another loss with angry shouts piercing the silence, much of it profane criticism of Brown and his new Princeton-based offense.

Bryant attempted to put the Lakers on his shoulders in the second half, scoring 26 points out of sets that resembled the Lakers' old offenses, but the Clippers stayed comfortably ahead with big second halves from Paul and Griffin.

``We're getting better as a team,'' Griffin said. ``It's a great win for us, because they're a great team and they're in our division. I think the biggest difference in these games now ... is when we used to run out that tunnel for the starting lineups, nobody used to boo us. They didn't really care. And now they throw heat a little bit. So I think that says a lot about where we're at.''

Nash's absence was only one reason Paul had the same number of assists as the Lakers, with Nash replacement Steve Blake managing just two assists in 38 minutes before fouling out in the final minute.

The Clippers pulled away in the third quarter, making an 18-5 run with nine points from Griffin to take an 82-67 lead into the fourth quarter. The Lakers trimmed it to 91-83 with 5 minutes to play, but Crawford and Matt Barnes kept the Clippers ahead with big buckets.

``The key was that we weathered the storm,'' Paul said. ``We had a lead going into the fourth, and then Kobe started being Kobe. I've played against the Lakers enough times to see him get like that and have them come back and win. But we got some timely shots from our bench, and they stepped up for us.''

Bryant became the Lakers' career steals leader with his 1,725th in the third quarter, passing Magic Johnson. But the Lakers' defense was largely ineffective against Paul, and the Clippers forced 20 Lakers turnovers.

The Lakers haven't been very good, but they also have caught few breaks since training camp opened with Howard still recovering from offseason back surgery. Nash was hurt in the first half of the Lakers' loss at Portland on Wednesday night in a collision with rookie Damian Lillard.

Just three games into his three-year contract with Los Angeles, the two-time MVP had to sit out. Brown doesn't know whether Nash will play in Sunday's home game against Detroit.

NOTES: Bryant moved past Johnson into 15th place on the NBA's career steals list. Isiah Thomas is 14th with 1,861. ... Clippers C DeAndre Jordan threw down a stunning putback dunk in the third quarter, barely throwing down a rebound before falling onto his back. Jordan scored just four points. ... Barry Diller, Diane Von Furstenberg and directors Kevin Smith, James L. Brooks and Adam McKay attended the game.

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3 reasons why the Caps beat the Sabres

3 reasons why the Caps beat the Sabres

You may think this was an ugly four-game road trip for the Caps, but with a 3-2 win in Buffalo on Monday, Washington managed to earn five out of a possible eight points.

Here is why the Caps beat the Sabres and managed to save the road swing.

A missed high-stick (maybe) from Ovechkin

Ovechkin scored the first goal of the game in the second period as he deflected a high-shot from Christian Djoos down past goalie Chad Johnson. But did the deflection come on a high stick? The play was reviewed and the goal was ultimately upheld. According to the NHL, it was determined that "video review supported the Referee's call on the ice that Alex Ovechkin's stick was at or below the height of the crossbar when he tipped the puck into the Buffalo net."

NBC Sports Washington analyst Alan May broke the play down during the second intermission and made his case for why the NHL actually got the call wrong.

Was that a high stick? I don't know. As compelling an argument as May made, it still looks inconclusive which means the review made the right call. What surprises me is that the referee did not disallow the goal on the initial call.

Whether the review is truly inconclusive or flat out wrong, Washington was fortunate to walk away from this sequence with the goal.

MORE CAPITALS: BIZARRE SEQUENCE LEADS TO CAPS SCORING AND GETTING PENALIZED AT THE SAME TIME

A centimeter of ice

Hockey is a game of inches and it took less than an inch to put Washington up 2-0. When an Evgeny Kuznetsov shot hit off the boards and bounced back to the front of the net, it sparked a scrum next to goalie Chad Johnson. Eventually, John Carlson was able to get a swipe on the puck sending it trickling to the goal line, but Kyle Okposo was there waiting and appeared to kick it out to safety just before it crossed. A review triggered by the Situation Room, however, revealed that the puck had just barely managed to cross the goal line before Okposo got to it.

Here's the view the NHL released after the review:

Philipp Grubauer's third period

After dominating the first 40 minutes of the game and taking a 2-0 lead, Buffalo predictably made a late push in the third period with two goals to pull within one. Washington outshot the Sabres in the first and second periods, but Buffalo reversed that trend in a big way in the third as they outshot the Caps 17-6. Grubauer turned aside 15 of those shots and was impressive after barely being tested in the first two periods.

RELATED: CHECK OUT THE 3 STARS OF THE GAME FROM CAPS-SABRE

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3 stars of the game: Caps knock out the punchless Sabres

3 stars of the game: Caps knock out the punchless Sabres

Coming off an ugly 7-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks, a Buffalo Sabres team missing star Jack Eichel was just what the doctor ordered for the Caps to get back on track. Washington dominated the first two periods and then survived a late surge from Buffalo for the 3-2 win.

After battling to a scoreless first, Alex Ovechkin and John Carlson spotted Washington a 2-0 lead in the second. They then held on in the third period as Buffalo began to tilt the ice in their favor, with Evgeny Kuznetsov scoring the empty-netter to put this game out of reach. Evander Kane would pull Buffalo within one, but with only three seconds left it was too little, too late.

Here are the three stars of the game:

1. Alex Ovechkin: Ovechkin opened up the scoring in the second period as he deflected down an innocent shot from Christian Djoos past Chad Johnson.

Ovechkin also set a physical tone as he battled with defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen all game long. After taking a high elbow from Ristolainen early in the game Ovechkin skated up to Ristolainen prior to the faceoff on his next shift and let him know that it was on. 

2. John Carlson: Carlson had a hand in both of Washington's first two goals. He recorded a secondary assist on Ovechkin's goal as he made a blue line pass to Djoos which Djoos fired on net and Ovechkin deflected. Carlson then managed to hit the puck past the goal line in a scrum next to Johnson. It looked initially like Kyle Okposo had managed to kick out the puck just before it crossed, but Carlson was awarded the goal as a review showed the puck had completely crossed the line.

3. Philipp Grubauer: A Sabres team that ranks last in the NHL in scoring and that was also without its leading scorer did not test Grubauer much in the first two periods. Facing a 2-0 deficit, however, Buffalo made a third period push to try to tie the game, but Grubauer was up to the task as he turned aside 15 of the 17 shots he faced in the final 20 minutes. He finished with 32 total saves on the night.