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Lakers' Bid to Repeat Gets Off to Good Start Against Clippers
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- There was no championship hangover for these Lakers.

Kobe Bryant scored 33 points and Andrew Bynum added 26 on his 22nd birthday as the reigning NBA champions opened defense of their title Tuesday night with a 99-92 victory over the Clippers, their Staples Center co-tenants who played without injured No. 1 overall draft pick Blake Griffin.

The Lakers began the evening with a ceremony unveiling the franchise's 15th gold-and-purple championship banner, earned four months ago after defeating Orlando in the finals. Commissioner David Stern handed out diamond-encrusted rings to almost everyone from last season's team except for Ron Artest, who joined the Lakers in the offseason from Houston with the sole purpose of winning a gaudy bauble for himself.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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