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GAMEDAY LINKS: Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Box Score Los Angeles Lakers 31 22 21 34 118
Play by Play Golden State Warriors 27 34 26 21 115
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Lakers rally past Warriors in OT in Nash's return

By ANTONIO GONZALEZ


Posted Dec 23 2012 1:38AM

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) Kobe Bryant had 34 points and 10 rebounds, Steve Nash finished with 12 points and nine assists in his first game in almost two months, and the Los Angeles Lakers rallied from 14 points down in the fourth quarter to beat the Golden State Warriors 118-115 in overtime on Saturday night.

Metta World Peace and Nash each made a go-ahead 3-pointer in the final minutes of regulation before the Warriors came back. World Peace scored 20 points, and Nash converted a step-back shot for the final points in overtime to lift Los Angeles to its fourth straight victory.

Jarrett Jack scored 29 points and David Lee had 20 points and 11 rebounds in a disappointing collapse for Golden State, which had won 11 of 14 games to get off to its best start in 20 years. As so often has happened in this one-sided California rivalry, the Lakers took over when it mattered most.

The 38-year-old Nash missed the previous 24 games because of a small fracture in his lower left leg. He was injured in the second game of the season, the former Phoenix star's first with the Lakers.

Los Angeles' rejuvenated point guard showed no signs of rust in the crucial moments.

Nash's 3-pointer gave the Lakers a 103-102 lead with a little less than 2 minutes left in regulation. Festus Ezeli answered with an alley-oop from Jack to put the Warriors back ahead, only to watch Bryant swish a pull-up jumper from 20 feet on the other end.

After Lee's jumper gave Golden State the lead again, World Peace made a corner 3 to put Los Angeles ahead 108-106 with 24.1 seconds remaining. Jack followed with a tying, step-back shot, and the Lakers took over with 14.9 seconds left before Bryant missed a jumper over two defenders at the buzzer.

Bryant made three quick jumpers in overtime, including a fadeaway that left him pumping his fist near the Warriors bench, to put Los Angeles ahead by four. He has scored at least 30 points in eight straight games.

After Curry's 3-pointer trimmed the Lakers' lead to one, Nash's step-back shot in the paint over Curry extended Los Angeles' cushion again. Curry missed a potential tying 3-pointer before Los Angeles grabbed the rebound - and the game.

The Lakers had handed Golden State its most lopsided-loss of the season on Nov. 9, a 101-77 rout in Los Angeles. In the past two months, the Lakers had continued to slide while the Warriors had become surprising winners.

The matchup Saturday marked the first time the Warriors faced the Lakers with a better record through at least 25 games since April 23, 1994.

Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni said before the game that Nash's return could be a fresh start for the franchise, especially with more difficult matchups looming, including a showdown against the New York Knicks (19-7) on Christmas. He said the lineup with Nash is what he had envisioned when the Lakers called him in November to replace Mike Brown, who was fired after a 1-4 start to his second season.

With Nash anchoring D'Antoni's fast-paced system, the Lakers still had no problem settling in offensively.

They scored 15 points off 10 turnovers in the opening quarter to take a 31-27 lead. Dwight Howard was in foul trouble throughout, and the center's absence hurt Los Angeles on the other end, with the Warriors moving in and around the paint almost unchallenged.

At one point, Jack juked Nash and every other defender Los Angeles threw his way. He scored 15 points in the second quarter, sparking a 14-0 run that helped put Golden State ahead 61-53 at halftime.

The up-and-down pace had everybody winded. Curry had to ask coach Mark Jackson to come out for a moment in the third quarter as Golden State played its fourth game in five nights. After a brief rest, Curry keyed another surge to give the Warriors an 88-74 lead early in the fourth quarter.

Bryant practically willed the Lakers back by himself as he has done so often in his illustrious career. He finished an alley-oop from Nash on the next play with two hands, sliced Golden State's lead to 90-88 when he dunked after a give-and-go bounce pass from Howard midway through the fourth, and tied the game at 95 with a 3-pointer in the face of Harrison Barnes minutes later to set up the frantic finish.

NOTES: Darius Morris started at shooting guard for the Lakers ahead of World Peace. D'Antoni said he likes World Peace's energy off the bench, but he will still make some starts depending on the matchup. ... The Lakers have swept the Warriors in three of the last four seasons, including all four during the 2011-12 campaign. They have two more games against each other this season. ... Carl Landry's put-back layup at the halftime buzzer was waved off after officials reviewed television replays.

Copyright 2012 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited



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Points Bryant, 34
Rebounds Lee (GSW), 11
Assists JAck (GSW), 11
Steals Curry (GSW), 4
Blocks Ezeli (GSW), 3
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POSTGAME QUOTES



Mike D'Antoni:

On coaching tonight's game:
“It was a great game. They played well, shots were going down on both sides and we had to come from behind. Guys picked it up defensively and we got a win. So that was a great win for us.”

On what allowed them to come back:
“Defense and we just stayed after them. Kobe [Bryant] and Dwight [Howard] were able to play with five fouls each for about almost the whole quarter. Dwight [played] for the whole [fourth] quarter and almost the whole overtime. But a lot of little keys: Metta [World Peace] played great, Steve [Nash] makes a world of difference on offense and Dwight did a great job catching and hitting shooters on the side.”

On this game being a great team effort:
“We hadn’t had many wins and that’s how it’s got to be. It doesn’t matter that Kobe took 41 shots, it doesn’t matter. If you take them in the right spots then everybody will get their touches and chances [when] the ball moves like it did today. There’s a lot of things that we need to correct. We can get a lot better.”

On Steve Nash's performance:
“I asked him ‘Are you okay?’ He said ‘Yeah, great.’ So he just keeps on going 40 minutes after not playing for like seven weeks. He’s unbelievable and down the stretch he made some great plays.”

On the difference that he made in the game:
“I think that we’re a completely different team with him out there. He’s done that his whole career so it’s not really that much of a surprise. He’ll even get better and he’ll get used to the guys. I thought that Pau [Gasol] made some great passes down there so we’ve got a couple of playmakers we can go through and we’ve got guys that can make shots.”

On how he decided who to rotate throughout the game:
“When they all play well you can’t hardly make a mistake. That’s what they’ve got to do. They’ve got to keep from making mistakes. I don’t know what’s going to happen. I do know that we have a bunch of guys that, most of the time will go with how we want to stop. That’s kind of the team that I envision, but there will be other chances for other people.”

On Steve Nash's last shot:
“That doesn’t surprise me. If it wasn’t him he would have kicked it to someone else. The guys a winner that’s about all you can say.”

On the mental lift Nash gives the team:
“The guys know that they’re going to get it, it’s a lot different. The floor opens up and it changes everything. All of the perspective of playing. We didn’t play defense first although they’re good offensively and they’re not easy to guard, but we need to tighten up and get better. But it’s a good first step and we’ve got a long ways to go.”




Steve Nash:

On any soreness:
“There’s some soreness and some pain but right now it’s okay. It’s manageable. As long as it’s manageable I’ll just keep going.”

On playing through bad spurts:
“They were making threes and getting baskets in transition. I think we had a few turnovers. I think we just got in a rut there and that’s going to happen. It’s a game of runs, but for us, it’s about being solid, the little things, winning the hustle plays, getting back in transition. If we do that, I think our offense will score enough points and our defense will get enough stops, but if we don’t get back in transition or win the rebound battle or the loose ball battle then it won’t matter how much talent we have.”

On playing 40 miutes tonight:
“I got through it. It was only my third day of basketball in seven-plus weeks, so it was a lot, but I didn’t feel too bad.”

On building of tonight's comeback:
“We need it. We need to build every day. We need something to build on. You can’t build on anything without hard work and perseverance. There was a stretch there where the lead could have gotten to 20 for them, but we hung in there and kept it, at times, just keeping it at 13 was important. It allowed us to creep back in at the end of the game.”




Kobe Bryant:

On playing hard:
“We played hard. That’s the thing we talked about during our time off. Dwight [Howard] had four or five fouls at the time. Pau [Gasol] had four or five fouls. I had four or five fouls. We weren’t playing particularly well. I wasn’t shooting the ball well. We just said that we had to go harder. It didn’t matter what the challenge was. We just had to go harder and that’s exactly what we did.”

On Steve Nash's contribution:
“He orchestrated things. He got us in some sets and in actions and that’s exactly what a great point guard is supposed to do. He lined us up and saw things that were executing well for us and he went to them. You saw being a lot more organized tonight.”

On the team's colletive effort:
“We moved the ball extremely well. Everybody contributed, everybody played hard. That’s a good dilemma to have. For us as a team, we just want to be unselfish and whoever is playing well stays in and plays and I think guys accept that. [Devin] Ebanks has been playing very for us and he didn’t get in tonight and the same thing with Antawn [Jamison]. We have a lot of guys who can step in and contribute.”




Mark Jackson:

On the fourth quarter:
“They started making shots and we didn’t take care of the basketball. You look back and realize that one defensive rebound, one well executed defensive trip, one less turnover and we are out of here before overtime. It’s disappointing the way the fourth quarter went, but Kobe Bryant has a history of making good shots – he did that tonight.”

On the pace of the game in the second half:
“We made some mistakes, they made some mistakes. You are going to make mistakes as a basketball team. They started making shots. They hit some big three’s and they executed their offense which made it difficult to run off of made shots – that made a difference. I told the guys, waiting to talk with them and they show Steve Nash on television and he was asked ‘What do you guys need to do?’ Steve Nash said ‘We need to play with the spirit that the Warriors play with. They’re unselfish and play for one another’. I’m not going to lose sight of that. We are going to be fine. We will learn from our mistakes made tonight because that is a good team despite their record. I like where we are heading.”

On Jarrett Jack:
“He’s been great all year long. He comes in and has a calming effect when he runs our offense. He’s a scoring threat and he makes plays – been great all year long. Credit again to our ownership and front office by doing a great job of finding what we needed. He’s everything that we thought he would be when we traded for him.”




Jarrett Jack:

On motivating Fesus Ezeli:
“He wasn’t happy with a couple of plays for himself individually down the stretch, I just shared with him a moment I had my rookie year worse than that. The NBA has a bunch ups and downs. You have to stay on the straight and narrow and put the last game behind and move forward.”

On what he learned from this game:
“We are definitely not a team into moral victories. We come out and feel like we can win every game when we step in between those lines. We just learned that if you mess around and allow a team like them, who has tremendous firepower and who’s not at their best yet - they’re far from a finished product hang around; these are the type of results that can possibly happen. I thought in the second half we got a little careless with our shot selection, but whatever the case may be we still had opportunities on the defensive end to close them out as well.”




Stephen Curry:

On closing out games:
“I think that was the first time we lost when we had the lead heading into the fourth quarter. We’ve had situations where we had big leads and had to hold on for dear life, but we still got it done. Then we had games where we let go of the lead and finished it out. We’re just a team who had veterans and hall of fame guys that figured it out in the last five minutes, so we have to learn from this.”

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LAKERS-WARRIORS PREVIEW

By NICOLINO DIBENEDETTO

Posted Dec 22 2012 2:59AM

Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers have capitalized on a favorable schedule in an effort to begin turning around a rough start.

A visit to Oakland should begin to make things a bit more difficult.

Bryant will try to lift the Lakers to a season-high fourth straight win Saturday night when they face the surging Golden State Warriors, one of the NBA's biggest surprises so far.

Bryant leads the league with 29.5 points per game, but Los Angeles (12-14) has struggled to take advantage of his staggering production.

The Lakers were 1-11 when he'd scored at least 30 points until recently, but the 14-time All-Star has reached that mark in each of the last three games - all wins. However, they've all come against teams with losing records, including league-worst Washington in a 102-96 victory Dec. 14.

Los Angeles exploited another struggling opponent Tuesday, when Bryant scored 30 points in a 101-100 win over Charlotte - which hasn't won since beating the Wizards on Nov. 24.

"We're playing much better," said Bryant, who needs one more 30-point game to be the fifth player in league history to amass 400. "The last three games, we've been playing much better. We're moving the ball a lot better and playing with a lot better energy.

"We've had a lot of ups and downs. Now, things are starting to stabilize a little bit for us."

Things are also going to get tougher against the Warriors (18-9), winners of eight of 10, before Los Angeles returns home to face Atlantic Division-leading New York on Christmas Day. The Lakers fell 116-107 to the Knicks on Dec. 13 in their last loss.

Having Pau Gasol and Steve Nash fully healthy should give them a much better chance of extending this run. Gasol returned against the Bobcats after an eight-game absence due to knee tendinitis, scoring 10 points with nine rebounds, five assists and four blocks.

Nash was originally targeting Saturday to play for the first time since Halloween, but it's more likely that he'll return from a non-displaced fracture in his leg on Christmas.

Getting Nash back will certainly put Mike D'Antoni in the holiday spirit.

"Whatever day he returns will be Christmas," said D'Antoni, who is 7-9 since replacing the fired Mike Brown.

The Lakers have won 17 of the past 18 games with Golden State, including an 8-1 record at Oracle Arena.

Bryant has averaged 33.3 points in the past six meetings, and he had 27 with nine rebounds and seven assists Nov. 9 in a 101-77 romp as Los Angeles beat the Warriors for the fifth straight time.

Gasol had 14 points and 16 boards in that meeting, and has averaged 23.2 and 11.8 over his last 18 games against Golden State.

He figures to have his hands full battling David Lee, who is averaging 24.1 points and 11.8 rebounds over the past 11 games.

"You can pencil in 20 and 10, and then sprinkle in some other stuff around the tree," coach Mark Jackson said. "He's been that good all year long."

Lee's versatility produced his third triple-double Friday, as he had 23 points, 11 boards and 11 assists to power a 115-100 win over Charlotte.

Stephen Curry scored 27 points while connecting on 8 of 13 from beyond the arc after putting up a season-high 32 in a 131-127 loss at Sacramento two days earlier.

Curry had 18 points against the Lakers last month, while Lee was held to 10 and 12 rebounds.


Copyright 2012 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
Probable Starters .
  Lakers    
  #3 Ebanks SF #40 Barnes  
  #16 GasolPF #10 Lee  
  #12 Howard C #31 Ezeli  
  #24 Bryant SG #11 Thompson  
  #21 Duhon PG #30 Curry  


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Lakers Kobe Bryant
(back spasms) is probable.
Steve Blake
(abdominal surgery) is out.
Jordan Hill
(herniated disc/back spasms) is probable.
Steve Nash
(non-displaced fracture, left leg) is questionable.
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Jazz Brandon Rush
(torn ACL and MCL, left knee) is out.
Andrew Bogut
(left knee rehab) is out.
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11/09 - GSW 77 @ LAL 101
12/22 - LAL @ GSW
03/25 - LAL @ GSW
04/12 - GSW @ LAL
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