L.A. Lakers 97, Golden State 88
LOS ANGELES, Dec. 3 (Ticker) --
Deep into the fourth quarter, Kobe Bryant
was struggling through one of his worst offensive
performances as a pro. He turned it on when his team needed it
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Bryant scored six of his 10 points down the stretch and finished
with his 11th career triple-double and Caron Butler
season-high 27 points as the Los Angeles Lakers posted a 97-88
victory over the Golden State Warriors.
"We just held them down," Bryant said. "Jumaine (Jones) did a
great job and we did a solid job not letting them get second
shots. That also helped us get a little run of our own."
In his last meeting with the Warriors late last season, Bryant
scored 45 points to key a 109-105 win. In this one, he had just
four points on 1-of-7 shooting with seven turnovers midway
through the final period.
Bryant broke out of his funk with an 18-footer to give Los
Angeles the lead for good, 84-83, with five minutes left. In
the next 90 seconds, Bryant found Lamar Odom
for a dunk
underneath and hit another jumper to push the advantage to
"Kobe was great," Lakers coach Rudy Tomjanovich said. "Kobe
made those two great jumpers at the end of the game when we
needed them and when they doubled again, he moved the ball. I
just thought it was great that he can show that he can win even
when he is not at the top of his game."
"I am not going to force the issue," Bryant said. "I just moved
the ball around and did that over the course of the entire
game. I think teams want to see if I can do that. I have
worked hard since I entered the league to be a better playmaker
and now whatever the opposition throws at me, I can play off
that and do anything."
hit a 3-pointer from the corner to cap the 9-0 run
with 2:51 left.
"I am excited about it," said Cook, who hit three from the arc
en route to 15 points off the bench. "I feel I can bring a lot
of energy and make some shots coming off the bench. I just want
to contribute. It feels good to start showing people what I
The league's leading scorer entering the game at 27.8 points,
Bryant produced his lowest total since April 11, 2004, when he
had eight in a 102-85 loss at Sacramento - a game an
unidentified teammate accused him of "sabotaging."
Despite shooting just 3-of-12, Bryant managed to sweep 12 boards
and hand out 10 assists.
While Bryant struggled to find his game, Butler rose to the
occasion, making 11-of-20 shots to help Los Angeles improve to
7-2 at home.
"After I took the first shot, I felt like I had a nice rhythm
and Kobe just told me, 'Keep looking because I am coming to
you,'" Butler said. "We saw the aggressive double-teams being
thrown at him (Bryant) and that was just giving me a chance to
operate. I was knocking down shots and my teammates were just
Tomjanovich was pleased with Butler's performance.
"We got a real good game out of Caron Butler," he said. "He was
fantastic kicking the ball to the basket on the break. Kobe
didn't shoot the ball well but generated a lot of offense,
especially late. We wanted to exploit their double-teaming."
scored 22 points and Troy Murphy
added 13 and
13 rebounds for the Warriors, who used a pair of big runs in the
third quarter to turn a seven-point halftime deficit into a
Still, coach Mike Montgomery saw his team lose its fourth
straight and is concerned about its inability to hold late
"We've got to learn how to finish games," Montgomery said. "We
were ahead in Minnesota (on Wednesday) into the fourth quarter.
We're ahead of the Lakers into the fourth quarter and we get in
a stretch where they make plays and we don't. And that's the
next step for us.
"I thought we played pretty well in stretches again, the third
quarter in particular. In the first half, we were a little
passive. We tried to make a defensive adjustment and I think
mentally it slowed us down and Kobe was just passing the ball
made his first regular-season appearance against
the Lakers, a team he spent eight years with.
"I came here to try and win a game," said Fisher, who was
honored before the game. "But that didn't happen, so that takes
a lot of the game away for me.
"It was a very emotional night. I feel very thankful to the
Laker organization for choosing to take some time out before the
game like that. They didn't have to do that, but I am very
appreciative of that."