L.A. Lakers 100, Milwaukee 96
LOS ANGELES, Nov. 23 (Ticker) -- Desmond Mason
disappeared in the second
half for the Milwaukee Bucks. Kobe Bryant
made his presence
felt down the stretch for the Los Angeles Lakers.
After Mason vanished offensively after the break, Bryant scored
10 of his 30 points in the final quarter as Los Angeles posted
its seventh straight victory over Milwaukee, a 100-96 triumph.
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Mason had 26 points for Milwaukee, making 12-of-16 shots off the
bench. He nearly was unstoppable in the second quarter,
scoring 18 points. But he was just 2-of-5 for five points over
the final 24 minutes as the Lakers rallied.
"Obviously in the first half of the game, I mean I had shots that
I felt like I could make, and we were penetrating and getting
the ball to me and I was in the right spots," Mason said. "In
the second half it was more of our bigs that were getting the
shots and we're going to live with that.
Mason felt that just because he was hot, he should not hoist
shots up at will.
"I'm not going to force anything, I am not that type of player,"
Mason said. "If I get the shots, I'm going to take them."
The Lakers felt the defensive effort of Caron Butler
reason for Mason's quiet second half.
"I think Caron took it as a personal challenge to step up and do
a job on him," Bryant said. "Desmond, he's an aggressive player
and he can create a lot of opportunities. I think Caron saw it
as a challenge and he stepped up to the plate."
Los Angeles trailed 79-76 just under two minutes into the final
quarter when Bryant took over, making 3-of-5 shots and all four
of his free throws. Continuing to battle a sore left foot,
Bryant finished 11-of-24 from the field, grabbed six rebounds
and had five assists.
"That's just something that they do." Mason said. "When the game
is on the line they put the ball in (Bryant's)
hands and try to have him create."
Lakers coach Rudy Tomjanovich
thought Bryant's defensive
contributions deserved mentioning -- especially the job he did on
"Kobe was fantastic, especially on Redd," Tomjanovich said. "He
just focused in on him and didn't need a whole bunch of help."
chipped in 17 points and nine rebounds and Butler had
16 for Los Angeles, which is 7-0 this season when holding
opponents under 100 points.
had 18 points and a career-high 11 assists for
Milwaukee, which held a 47-35 rebounding edge.
"It always hurts to lose, it hurts to lose." James said. "We
just have to be able to lock down at the end of the game, but
you know, Kobe is one of the best players in the league, and he
just took over the game."
Keith Van Horn
had a double-double with 10 points and 10
rebounds for Milwaukee.