A day after one of the worst shooting games of his NBA career, Kobe Bryant scored 40 points on 16-for-28 shooting as the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Golden State Warriors, 120-112. Bryant was just 3-for-21 against New Orleans on Saturday afternoon, but hit the go-ahead three with just 20 seconds left. That shot must have gotten him going, and he just kept rolling against the Warriors.
The Lakers lost center Andrew Bynum in the second quarter, as he left the game when he turned an ankle and did not return. X-rays on Bynum's ankle were negative, and it's being termed a moderate sprain. He'll be re-evaluated on Monday. It was the second time this week that Bynum missed a large portion of a game against the Warriors -- last Tuesday he was benched for the bulk of the second half after taking a three pointer early in the shot clock in a six point game.
In what should have been a relatively drama-free weekend, at home against the Hornets Saturday and the Warriors Sunday, the Lakers still kept the games interesting, much to coach Mike Brown's chagrin. Saturday they trailed New Orleans (decimated by injuries and not all that good in the first place) by 10 in the fourth quarter before rallying and winning in the final minute. Sunday against the Warriors (decimated by injuries and not all that good in the first place) they trailed in the first half and allowed the Warriors to get back within three twice in the final two minutes. But back-to-back three pointers by Bryant and Metta World Peace (both 28 percent from deep on the season) kept Golden State at bay. The Lakers seem determined not to give any garbage time minutes to the likes of Devin Ebanks and Darius Morris. In L.A.'s last 16 games, only one has been decided by double digits, as the Lakers continually play down (or up) to their competition.
In addition to Bryant's 40, Pau Gasol scored 26 to go with 11 rebounds and six assists, and Ramon Sessions had 23 points and nine assists. Without Bynum, who was scoreless, Bryant, Gasol and Sessions formed a new big three, scoring 89 of L.A.'s 120 points.
The Warriors were led in scoring by David Lee with 27, though he took 25 shots to get there. Klay Thompson pitched in with 18, and Nate Robinson and Richard Jefferson came off the bench to add 17 and 16. Robinson and Jefferson were lethal from deep, combining to make 9-of-10 three pointers.
The win keeps the Lakers a game ahead of the Clippers for third place in the Western Conference, with a showdown between the two L.A. teams looming on Wednesday. The loss was the fifth straight for the Warriors. They are now 2-9 in the 11 games since dealing away Monta Ellis at the trade deadline.
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