Bench Carries Lakers to Second Straight Win
Posted Nov 2 2006 3:21AM
OAKLAND, Calif., Nov. 1 (AP) -- Ronny Turiaf had just buttoned his shirt after the best game of his NBA career when his cell phone rang.
Kobe Bryant couldn't travel to the Los Angeles Lakers' latest victory, but the injured star clearly didn't miss a minute of Turiaf's breakout performance.
Whatever Bryant has told his teammates while he's sitting out, it's working.
Turiaf had career highs of 23 points and nine rebounds, and Lamar Odom scored 22 points in the Lakers' second victory in two days without the defending league scoring champion, 110-98 over the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night.
Odom added nine rebounds and nine assists, and Luke Walton scored 15 points as the Lakers followed up their surprising 114-106 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night with a thorough thumping of the Warriors in coach Don Nelson's inauspicious debut.
"We need every win we can get, especially without my man here,'' Odom said. "If we can get these wins on the road, it'll help us a ton.''
Bryant stayed home to rest his surgically repaired right knee, and coach Phil Jackson also remained in Los Angeles while he's recovering from hip replacement surgery four weeks ago - but the Lakers' role players and assistant coaches led their 10th win in 11 meetings with Golden State.
Assistant coach Kurt Rambis, who ran the club in Jackson's absence, doesn't know when Bryant will be back in action - but with Turiaf's impressive play and Odom's steady efforts, the Lakers didn't need either.
"We have a lot of guys who can do a lot of things,'' Rambis said. "If we can get them to understand their potential and their ability to work together, I think we're going to have a really good ballclub.''
Monta Ellis scored 22 points, Baron Davis had 18 and Jason Richardson added 15 in his first appearance for the Warriors since undergoing cleanup surgery on his right knee late in the summer. Nelson waited until a few minutes before tip-off to decide Richardson, Golden State's leading scorer last year, would play.
But Richardson clearly was rusty, and his teammates didn't look ready for the regular season despite their 7-1 preseason mark. Nelson, the NBA's second-winningest coach, had an ugly start to his second tenure with the club he led to its last playoff appearance 12 seasons ago.
"So much for good starts,'' Nelson said. "I was disappointed with our performance, our energy and with whatever else went on out there. We reverted to last year, maybe worse. Any way you cut it, we were poor tonight. The team is telling me I might have to make changes.''
Nelson pledged to improve the Warriors' free-throw shooting and shot selection, but absolutely nothing changed in the opener. Golden State missed all nine of its 3-point attempts and went just 12-for-21 from the free-throw line in the first half.
"I hurt the team out there,'' Richardson said. "I need to get my conditioning up. We didn't come out as the team we were capable of being. That's the first and last game we'll play like that.''
Nelson ripped his entire team, but reserved particular disdain for Davis, who "pounded the ball too much,'' and Mike Dunleavy, who "was a disaster. He didn't rebound, he didn't score, he didn't do anything.''
Los Angeles closed the third quarter on an 18-8 run with seven points apiece from Odom and Turiaf, whose rookie season never got going after he underwent heart surgery. Turiaf pounded the Warriors with the same relentless energy he showed in his college days at Gonzaga, more than doubling his previous career high of 10 points.
"I'm thankful for the opportunity I have,'' Turiaf said. "I'm just trying to have some fun, and I have really great teammates. We're a young team, and it's fun when young guys get an opportunity to showcase their skills.''
The Lakers fans in attendance roared when he hit a 22-foot jumper to put Los Angeles ahead by 18 points in the fourth quarter. The sellout crowd at newly christened ORACLE Arena headed for the exits throughout the fourth, with the remaining fans booing the Warriors even after a late run made the deficit respectable.
Notes: Warriors center Troy Murphy had 11 points and 13 rebounds while wearing a clear mask to protect his broken nose. ... Forward Vladimir Radmanovic played despite a hand injury, scoring 11 points for the Lakers. Guard Shammond Williams made his Lakers debut after sitting out the opener with an abdominal strain. ... Guard Dajuan Wagner and center Adonal Foyle were inactive for the Warriors.
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