Bryant Scores 42, Lakers Beat Warriors
L.A. Lakers 106, Golden State 94
OAKLAND, Calif., March 3 (Ticker) -- Even when he is not 100 percent, Kobe Bryant can be difficult to slow down.
Despite a sinus infection, Bryant scored 42 points and became the youngest player to reach 16,000 as the Los Angeles Lakers continued their recent dominance of the Golden State Warriors with a 106-94 victory.
"It's pretty cool," Bryant said. "I've played sick before. It's experience. I've been in the league for awhile. I've played sicker than this. I've played with IV's, so it's kind of old hat for me."
"He's a phenomenal player," Lakers center Chris Mihm said. "I don't know what else to say besides that. Players like him don't come along very often. He's certainly the best I've ever played with, so I'm happy for him and he certainly deserves it."
Bryant scored seven points in a 16-4 second-quarter run that gave the Lakers a 46-35 advantage. He opened the third quarter with a 3-pointer to spark a 12-3 burst that widened the margin to 71-52.
"I've seen quite a few guys do that in his situation, focused," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "He wanted to stay in, in the second quarter. He asked to stay in so he could get loose, get a second wind."
"You've just got to pick your spots a little bit and use your energy wisely," Bryant said. "You've got to play a more cerebral game."
The Warriors gradually cut the deficit in the fourth quarter as Troy Murphy scored nine points and Jason Richardson four to make it 99-90 with 2:15 to go. Bryant responded with a fallaway jumper from the right corner and three foul shots to seal the win.
"We tried to get back into it and play some good defense," Richardson said. "Troy hit a couple of shots. We tried to fight back into it but we dug ourselves into a hole by 20 (points) and it was hard to come back from that."
Mihm scored 16 points and Brian Cookadded 12 for the Lakers, who have won 10 of their last 13 meetings with the Warriors. The victory kept Los Angeles (30-29) 1 1/2 games ahead of Sacramento and Utah for the final Western Conference playoff spot.
"We don't focus on looking behind us. We want to look ahead," Bryant said. "And it's important for us to come out and get every win that we possibly can and not worry about who's behind us but who's in front of us and try and catch them."
Richardson scored 27 points and Murphy added 16 for Golden State, which made 10 baskets from the arc.
"It was a very important (game)," said Richardson, whose club fell 4 1/2 games behind the Lakers in the postseason chase. "They've got the eighth spot that we want. They came in here, played hard and they won the game."
Playing for the first time since missing seven games with a sprained right ankle, Warriors point guard Baron Davis hit 4-of-12 shots and scored 10 points, including a 3-pointer off the glass at the end of the third quarter.
"We're a rhythm team," Davis said. "If we're not playing to a certain rhythm, a certain beat, a certain pace, then we have to make adjustments and I think tonight we let the Lakers dictate, dictate, dictate and then we got down and then we tried to force the tempo."