Bryant Scores 43 to Lead Lakers in Seattle
L.A. Lakers 106, Seattle 96
SEATTLE, March 31 (Ticker) -- When things started to look bleak for the Los Angeles Lakers, Kobe Bryant seemed to have all the right answers.
Bryant scored 43 points and Kwame Brown added 12 and 13 rebounds to lead the Lakers to their fifth win in six outings, a 106-93 victory over the Seattle SuperSonics.
"We got Kobe going and got some momentum in the third quarter, and that was a big deal for us," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said after his team rebounded from Thursday's sluggish 96-85 home loss to San Antonio.
After trailing by 12 points in the first half, Los Angeles (39-35) rallied to beat Seattle for the third time in their last four encounters and remain in seventh place in the Western Conference, 1 1/2 games ahead of Sacramento.
"We came here with a little bit of a plan," Jackson said. "We were not going to let this game get by us. At the half, I told them it was a winnable game. We were down by 11 or 12 points in the second quarter and we were able to fight it back to a four-point deficit by the end of the half, and we knew we had a chance to win."
Ray Allen opened the third quarter with a 3-pointer to give the SuperSonics a 59-52 lead before the Lakers outscored Seattle, 29-14, the rest of the period. Bryant scored 14 points and Lamar Odom had a pair of baskets during the run.
"The third quarter has been our nemesis," Bryant said. "We wanted to come out tonight and play well in the third quarter and play well enough to give us a cushion going into the fourth quarter."
"Tonight, (Bryant) took a lot of jump shots with a hand in his face," Seattle coach Bob Hill said. "He shot the ball a lot, but when he had to make them, he made his share. You've got to give him a lot of credit."
The Sonics got within 89-83 with 7:20 remaining after Allen and Rashard Lewis hit consecutive 3-pointers. However, Devean George made a basket from the arc, Bryant scored six straight points and Luke Walton hit a layup for a 100-87 edge with 2:15 to go.
"We couldn't make a shot in the second half," Hill said. "Luke (Ridnour) couldn't make a shot and Rashard couldn't make a shot. We had plenty of offensive rebounds (18) and we got more shots than they did. But we had 20 turnovers. I think in many respects, we beat ourselves."
Odom scored 12 points and grabbed 10 rebounds and Smush Parker added 10 points for the Lakers, who limited Seattle to 4-of-21 shooting in the third quarter.
"Offensively, we just couldn't get any momentum going," Allen said. "I personally had a lot of good looks. It seemed like they were in and out. Both sides of the floor, it was a tale of two halves."
Seattle used a 13-2 second-quarter run to take a 50-38 lead with 4:20 left before halftime. Allen nailed a pair of 3-pointers and Mikki Moore scored four points during that stretch.
Allen made 10-of-27 shots and scored 29 points and Chris Wilcox added 16 for the Sonics, who made all 14 of their free throws.
"Ray Allen still amazes me," Hill said. "He's playing really hard. He competed his heart out and just couldn't get the ball in the basket."