Notebook: Lakers 118, Warriors 116



Posted Apr 13, 2013 2:14 AM

Dan Arritt, for NBA.com

THE FACTS: The Lakers won the game they needed to Friday night, but they likely lost so much more. Kobe Bryant fell to the court with 3:08 left in the fourth quarter, clutching his left calf in pain. He struggled to the bench, returned to make a pair of free throws to tie the score, but then hobbled to the locker room, unable to witness his team's 118-116 victory over the visiting Warriors. Afterward, the celebration was muted even further went it was announced Bryant likely suffered a season-ending tear in his Achilles tendon, by far the most serious injury of his 17-year career.

QUOTABLE: "I made a move I've made a million times, and (the Achilles) just popped."
-- Bryant.

THE STAT: With two games to go, the Lakers maintained their one-game lead over the Jazz with the victory. Without the services of Bryant, however, the Lakers likely won't go far if they do make the postseason. Bryant will have the injury officially diagnosed with an MRI on Saturday.

TURNING POINT: The Lakers rallied from a nine-point deficit with 6:48 remaining. Bryant sank back-to-back 3-pointers to tie the score at 107 with 3:46 left but those would be his final baskets as he fell to the court while driving to the basket. After he tied the score with his free throws, it was left up to his teammates and they came through. Pau Gasol scored on a spin move and Dwight Howard hammered in a dunk for a 115-113 lead. Klay Thompson hit a 3-pointer out of a timeout to put the Warriors back ahead 116-115. Steve Blake made two free throws with 42.2 seconds remaining to put the Lakers back out front, 117-116. After a turnover by Golden State and a miss by Gasol in close, Carl Landry missed a 17-footer with two seconds left. Howard grabbed the rebound, was fouled and made one of two free throws with 1.5 on the clock. Stephen Curry then launched a full-court heave that caromed off the front of the rim as time expired.

HOT: The injury to Bryant overshadowed a remarkable night for Curry and Gasol. Curry finished with 47 points, shooting 9-for-15 from 3-point range, while also leading the Warriors with nine assists and three steals. Gasol finished with 26 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists for the fourth triple-double of his career. On any other night, those performances and the L.A. victory would be the main topic of conversation, but not on this night.

QUOTABLE III: "I hate it for Kobe, I hate it for us, I hate it for L.A., but we have three guys out there that are pretty good."

--Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni.

NOT: Just before Bryant's injury, Golden State forward David Lee had three good opportunities to extend the lead but missed all three field-goal attempts. Up until that point, he was 8-for-9 from the floor. Lakers reserve forward Antawn Jamison, who has been dealing with a painful right wrist injury, missed all four of his field-goal attempts and went scoreless for the first time since Jan. 4.

GOOD MOVE: The move was vintage Bryant, and showed just how youthful he had been playing lately. In the first quarter, he put a crossover move on Thompson that was so quick, it caused Thompson to fall to the floor while Bryant pulled up to sink a 3-pointer.

BAD MOVE: Bryant came into the game averaging 45.7 minutes over his previous six games and was about to enter his 45th minute against the Warriors when he went down with the injury. In the coming days, there will likely be much speculation that the overexertion led to the physical breakdown. The Lakers can also look back at the poor start to the season that forced Bryant to play to his limit when L.A. should have been safely in the playoffs.

QUOTABLE III: "If I had to do it all over again, then maybe I will second guess it and look at it, but he is an incredible competitor and it happened and we will go forward."
-- D'Antoni.

NOTABLE: Curry had 22 points in the first quarter, matching the highest-scoring quarter by a Lakers opponent this season. Carmelo Anthony of the Knicks also scored 22 against the visiting Lakers back in December.

UP NEXT: For the Lakers, Sunday vs. San Antonio, Wednesday vs. Houston. For the Warriors, Monday vs. San Antonio, Wednesday vs. Portland.