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LOS ANGELES -- Some media outlets referred to the Los Angeles Lakers' game against the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday as "Battle: L.A." and the game lived up to the nickname.
In what's becoming a common occurrence when these two teams meet, the play was physical and chippy, with five technical fouls being assessed -- four on the Lakers and one on the Clippers.
Lakers coach Mike Brown was the first to be T'd up after he had to be held back by assistant coaches John Kuester and Chuck Person on the sideline while yelling at the referees following a play with 12.3 seconds to go in the first quarter.
Lakers rookie guard Darius Morris drove to the hoop and a foul was called on Chris Paul. After the whistle, Morris came in contact with the 6-10, 251-pound Blake Griffin who sent the 6-foot-4, 190-pound Morris sprawling to the floor.
"I thought the play was dangerous," Brown said after the Lakers' 102-94 loss to their in-town rivals. "The rookie was in the air and the whistle had blown and it doesn't give anybody any right to shove anybody in the air. I thought Blake shoved him and there was no call and that was tough."
Said Morris: "I just went to the hole, tried to dunk it, and I felt (Griffin) push me and I thought they were going to call a warning or something like that. I guess Mike Brown got a little upset after that."
Brown's technical set the tone for a game that seemed to be played on edge in front of a sellout crowd of 19,895 that was split nearly down the middle with Clippers and Lakers fans.
Matt Barnes was whistled for a technical foul with 47.5 seconds remaining in the second quarter for arguing a no-call with an official. Metta World Peace and Griffin were whistled for a double technical with 4:25 remaining in the third quarter after getting tangled up and less than a minute later, Morris was called for a technical foul when Josh McRoberts was on the floor fighting for possession of the ball against several Clippers players.
"My whole purpose was to go over there and help my teammate," Morris said. "He was surrounded by Clippers jerseys, I just wanted to pick him up off of the ground. He did a great job diving on the loose ball and I just wanted to be there for him. I didn't go over there and try to be a tough guy or anything. I just tried to go pick my teammate up."
The Clippers went 3 for 3 on the free throws they were awarded following the Lakers' technical fouls. (No free throws were doled out after the World Peace-Griffin run-in because the technicals offset each other.)
Brown took responsibility for how he reacted to the play between Morris and Griffin.
"I lost my cool and I told my team at halftime, 'I apologize,' " Brown said. "I don't want to think that the refs can control the outcome of the game, and I don't want to give the other team free points and I gave them a point, so I apologized to our team at halftime. Hopefully I won't do that again and hopefully we won't do it again, but we need to be conscious of it. Because, that right there, I think we gave away (three) points tonight on unnecessary technicals. We need to be smarter with that, starting with me and we got to be better than that. I didn't do a good job."Dave McMenamin covers the Lakers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.