Nets Top Lakers in OT as Kidd Bests Bryant
New Jersey 102, L.A. Lakers 96 (OT)
LOS ANGELES, Nov. 27 (Ticker) -- Kobe Bryant had another big effort in the second half. Jason Kidd and the New Jersey Nets did not allow him to be the hero in overtime.
Bryant scored 39 of his NBA season-high 46 points after halftime but Kidd's season-best 35 points were the key to the Nets' 102-96 overtime victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.
"You have to give Kobe credit, he was unbelievable," Frank said. "But you have to give it to our guys. This was a huge test of will. The mental toughness that we showed in the overtime, of starting fresh and living in the moment was unbelievable - a true team win.
"Jason had an unbelievable game at both ends. The heart and will that this guy has is unbelievable. His defense on Kobe, his assertiveness on offense, he would not let our team lose tonight. Jason put us on his back. He stepped up but his teammates also came through in the clutch."
On the heels of Thursday's comeback win against Seattle in which he scored 29 of his 34 points after the intermission, Bryant nearly duplicated the feat Sunday as he helped the Lakers rally from an 18-point second-half deficit.
The league's leading scorer poured in 10 points in the final 1:32 of regulation, but it was Brian Cook's short jumper at the buzzer that sent the game into overtime tied at 91-91.
"It looked like we celebrated the game too early, we just could not hit shots at the end," Cook said. "I don't think we had enough energy to push over the hump but we fought back, which is good for us to know that we can stay in a ballgame."
New Jersey, which lost the first three games of its road trip, held Bryant to one point in the extra session by denying him the ball and forcing his teammates to make shots.
"They tried and I made them pay in the end of regulation when we had a chance to win the ballgame," Bryant said. "In the overtime, they doubled me, we got some wide-open looks for other guys, but they just didn't go down."
"Kobe made 'Kobe shots' down the end, but you got to give us credit, we didn't quit playing," Kidd said. "But the big thing was we showed our experience, we didn't panic. We came out in overtime and kept putting pressure on them and got stops when we had to."
Kidd scored five points in overtime as he posted his highest point total since January 23, 2003, when he scored 41 against Golden State.
"I just tried to put as much pressure on their defense as I could," said Kidd, who added 12 assists and eight rebounds in 46 minutes. "Tonight the ball was falling for me and coach and the guys were telling me to go to work. I had to step up to the plate and tonight I finally made some shots."
"They were going to their hot hand and we were going to ours," Nets guard Jeff McInnis said. "Jason was great. He wasn't going to let us lose."
The Lakers never led in the contest as they made just 3-of-20 shots in the opening quarter, allowing the Nets to take a 26-10 lead into the second period.
"We really dug ourselves at the start of the game and went down by 16 points and that's unacceptable," Bryant said. "We came out flat but all in all, we were able to battle back and make a game of it."
Los Angeles chipped the deficit down to six points in the second quarter but New Jersey re-established its dominance and took a 61-43 advantage on a layup by Kidd with 3:55 left in the third.
"It was experience on their part, getting the ball to Jason, letting him create mismatches, and putting pressure on our defense," Bryant said.