Bryant Turns It Up Late In Win Over Warriors
L.A. Lakers 106, Golden State 105 (OT)
LOS ANGELES, Jan. 27 (Ticker) -- The slow start in Kobe Bryant's encore performance was too close for comfort.
Bryant scored 16 of his 30 points in the fourth quarter and added nine in overtime to lead the Los Angeles Lakers to their fifth win in seven games, a 106-105 triumph over the Golden State Warriors.
Baron Davis scored nine points down the stretch for the Warriors, including a 3-pointer from the left corner with 2:28 remaining for a 94-88 edge. However, Bryant hit six straight free throws, including a pair with 7.1 seconds to go, to tie the game.
"It took me three quarters to kind of get into a rhythm down with what they were trying to do defensively so I could go into an attack mode," Bryant said, "The fourth quarter, I was able to attack the basket a little bit and get something going."
"Kobe is always a factor in the game," Lakers guard Smush Parker said. "I don't think Golden State stopped him from scoring the ball. He just got other guys involved in the offense. It was a game Kobe didn't have to force the game until late."
Averaging 45.4 points in his previous 10 games, Bryant opened overtime with a reverse dunk and buried a 3-pointer from the right corner to give the Lakers a 99-94 lead with 2:12 to go.
"I just tried to minimize him," said Warriors guard Mickael Pietrus, who had the unenviable assignment of guarding Bryant. "I know now he is a great legend. I tried not to get swept up in the game early. I tried to play with my heart and win this ballgame. Everyone played well."
Davis hit a 14-foot jumper with seven seconds remaining to bring Golden State within 102-100 before fouling out by grabbing Bryant, who made both free throws. Rookie Monta Ellis dunked on the Warriors' next possession before Bryant hit two more from the foul line for a 106-102 lead.
"We did a good job in the fourth quarter just refusing to lose," Bryant said. "We were down seven points with about five minutes to go and we got some defensive stops. That's where we can hang our hat tonight, our defensive effort."
"Kobe Bryant is a load down the stretch," Warriors coach Mike Montgomery said. "We had some opportunities to make plays down the stretch but couldn't get it done."
The league's leading scorer, Bryant made 7-of-22 shots and 14-of-16 free throws to reach the 30-point mark for the sixth straight game.
Parker scored 17 points and Chris Mihm and Brian Cook added 12 each for Los Angeles.
Trailing, 55-47, Golden State opened the second half with a 15-1 run. Davis scored eight points and Pietrus had a 3-pointer and dunk during the burst, which opened a 62-56 lead.
"They almost made me get up and walk out of the building in the third quarter," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "I almost left them alone on a sinking ship. But they got it right in time and it took another 10 minutes but they finally got it right and got going. That's what a layoff will do sometimes."
Davis scored 29 points with 10 assists and Pietrus added 20 with 10 rebounds for the Warriors, who have lost four straight overall and 12 of 13 road meetings with the Lakers.
"Tonight, it was tough," said Davis, who made 12-of-29 shots. "They were more aggressive in the fourth quarter. They got to the free-throw line and we didn't. They did a good job of fighting and fighting. We were holding them but they were a little more scrappy in the end."
Golden State played without guard and leading scorer Jason Richardson, who sat out with a sore back, and lost forward Mike Dunleavy to an ankle injury in the first quarter.
Davis, Troy Murphy and Derek Fisher fouled out, leaving the Warriors with just six players at the end of the game.
"I don't know what much more I could ask from our guys," Montgomery said. "Dunleavy goes down with a sprained ankle and Jason Richardson is not with us. We foul out three guys and Monta Ellis has to play a bunch of minutes."