Two of the NBA's marquee stars didn't play when the Clippers played host to the Lakers at Staples Center on Friday night, but that didn't stop Blake Griffin from playing a starring role for his team and J.J. Redick from returning with aplomb.
And it didn't prevent the Clippers from administering a franchise-record 123-87 beat-down of the Lakers in the arena both teams share, and in a city where some want to make this out to be a rivalry.
The 36-point victory margin was the Clippers' largest ever against the Lakers, topping a 125-94 victory in 1992 at the Sports Arena, then the Clippers' home.
At least the Lakers could say they didn't suffer their worst defeat in franchise history. That was 46-point debacle against Portland in 1995. But this did equal the 10th-worst loss in Lakers history, a nadir reached twice previously.
"We just are focused on being a better team," Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said. "That's what I talked to our guys about, not the opponent and not the opponent's dilemma. Our job is to improve each day so by the end of the year we're a better team."
The Clippers held the Lakers to eight points in the third quarter, a season low for a Clippers opponent. They scored 43 points and shot 70.8% in the first quarter, both season bests for a quarter.
Also, the 43-point lead the Clippers built in the fourth quarter was their biggest of the season.
But all it meant on this night was bragging rights in Los Angeles for the Clippers, which the Lakers had held since Oct. 29, when they won the season opener between the teams.
"This game's supposed to be fun and you're supposed to enjoy it. But to lose like that, that's embarrassing," said Lakers forward Nick Young. "It shouldn't happen, period. Shouldn't lose by 40 to nobody, especially at home against a team like the Clippers. That makes it worse.
"Can't let people just dunk and us and clown us without giving them a hard foul or even showing any emotion. Foul somebody. Get mad."
Still, with Clippers All-Star Chris Paul out because of a separated right shoulder and Lakers All-Star Kobe Bryant out with a fractured left knee, it wasn't quite the same. The Lakers also were missing injured point guards Steve Nash, Steve Blake and Jordan Farmar.
But the Clippers still had an All-Star in Griffin, and they had Redick returning from an injury.
Griffin overpowered the Lakers with dunks, post moves and basically anything he wanted to do in scoring 33 points. He missed only three of his 15 shots, just two of 11 free throws. He also had 12 rebounds and four assists in just 29 minutes.
Redick, who had been out for the previous six weeks while recovering from a broken wrist on his right (shooting) hand and torn ligaments on the side of his wrist, played for the first time since Nov. 29.
Redick made his first shot, a running 15-footer in the lane, and his second, a driving layup.
Redick ended up making five of his first six attempts from the field in scoring 10 first-quarter points, looking as if he'd never missed a game, let alone the 21 he did miss while recovering from his injury.
He finished with 19 points on eight-for-15 shooting in 23 minutes.
"J.J., it didn't look like he missed any games," Rivers said. "But this is his first game back."
As for the Lakers, who have lost 10 of 11, it was just another bad game in a string of bad games this season. The loss dropped them to 14-23.
The last time the Lakers lost 10 of 11 games was during the 2004-05 season, when Rudy Tomjanovich was the coach. That season, they ended up out of the playoffs and in the draft lottery.
Lakers Coach Mike D'Antoni called it "our first really bad game" this season and gently reminded everybody of the lack of healthy bodies.
"We're going to need somebody to come off the injured list," D'Antoni said.