GAMEDAY LINKS: Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Box Score Golden State Warriors 16 32 24 29 101
Play by Play Los Angeles Lakers 25 30 24 25 104


Bryant leads Lakers past Warriors, 104-101

By ANTONIO GONZALEZ


Posted Mar 27 2012 10:26PM

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) Kobe Bryant is back to being the closer.

Two days after getting benched late in a home loss to Memphis, Bryant made a pair of jumpers in the final 64 seconds, finishing with 30 points to lead the Los Angeles Lakers past the short-handed Golden State Warriors, 104-101 on Tuesday night.

Bryant missed his first two shots in the final period before twice rising over a pair of defenders for difficult fall-away jumpers from the corner. The first tied the game and the second put the Lakers ahead by two - and for good - with 32 seconds remaining.

Former Warriors forward Matt Barnes had 28 points and 10 rebounds, and Pau Gasol added 19 points and 17 rebounds to give Los Angeles its third win in four games.

David Lee had 23 points and nine rebounds, and rookie Klay Thompson scored 20 points for the Warriors, who have lost seven of nine. Missing three injured starters, Golden State still had to feel good about its effort.

As usual, just not as good as Bryant's finish.

Lakerland was still buzzing earlier in the day over a curious coaching move the last time out.

As Los Angeles attempted to make a final push in Sunday's 102-96 loss to the Grizzlies, Bryant sat on the bench for nearly four minutes, a rare occurrence for one of the NBA's most dangerous closers. Bryant didn't appear to agree with the move in the locker room after the game but said he supports Mike Brown's decision.

The two seem to be on good terms publicly. Brown laughed off questions about the ordeal before the game and said he wasn't surprised at all by the reactions from Lakers fans or media, surmising that "the reality is anything that happens with Kobe is a big deal."

Indeed.

Bryant sat out the first 5:21 of the fourth quarter against Golden State, and the home team closed the gap during that time in furious fashion. Brandon Rush brought the Warriors within a basket three different times - a dunk, three-point play and a 3-pointer - and Lee's 17-footer trimmed Los Angeles' lead to 91-90 with Bryant back.

The Warriors went ahead 97-95 on Lee's hook shot before Bryant bounced back.

The Lakers leader took the ball in the post and, as Rush and Thompson closed, drifted to the corner and floated a tying shot. Thompson had his layup blocked off his leg and out of bounds by Metta World Peace, setting the stage for another Bryant highlight.

Los Angeles ran the same play again and Bryant delivered, hitting a 19-footer to lift Los Angeles ahead. Rush missed a running layup on the other end, and the Lakers cruised to victory the rest of the way on free throws.

Bryant finished 9 for 24 and added five assists and five rebounds. Most of all, he made sure the Lakers avoided another loss.

Golden State had almost as many players on the injury report as the starting lineup.

Point guard Stephen Curry (sprained right ankle) missed his ninth straight game and, along with new big man Andrew Bogut (fractured left ankle), is unlikely to play again this season. Andris Biedrins (strained right groin) also wasn't in uniform and Nate Robinson (strained right hamstring) sat out.

The wounded Warriors somehow managed to give the Lakers some competition behind their youngsters.

Three rookies - Thompson, Charles Jenkins and Jeremy Tyler - started in their place, finding ways to keep Golden State close. Los Angeles led 55-48 at halftime and 79-72 entering the fourth.

NOTES: Thompson's dad, Mychal, drafted No. 1 overall by Portland in 1978, is an analyst on the Lakers radio broadcast and called the game courtside. ... Golden State hosts New Orleans on Wednesday night, while the Lakers get a day off before hosting Oklahoma City on Thursday night in a pivotal Western Conference matchup. ... Andrew Bynum shot a 3-pointer in the third quarter with about 16 seconds left on the shot clock, and he was taken out by Brown a few moments later.


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

Lakers take on the Golden State Warriors Tuesday, March 27th at the Oracle Arena at 7:30PM. Catch all the action on KCAL and 710ESPN.







View More Photos


Points Bryant 30, 9-24 FG
Rebounds Gasol 17, 4 OFF 13 DEF
Assists Bryant 5
Steals 3 tied with 1
Blocks Barnes 2


POSTGAME QUOTES



Mike Brown:

OPENING STATEMENT:
“I thought that our guys did a terrific job, especially going down the stretch. Golden State obviously has a terrific crowd here and the team feeds off of their energy. Our guys did a terrific job of keeping their composure in trying to execute. We went small and had Metta [World Peace] on the floor at the power forward spot and I thought that we did a decent job at it. We never practiced it, but we did it and were able to do a decent job of it at getting stops and also scoring buckets. Kobe [Bryant] was Kobe; he was huge down the stretch. He hit two big jumpers. I think one to tie it up and the other to take the lead and that’s what a guy like Kobe can do. You have a special player like that you put the ball in his hands and you ask him to go and make a play. We got a great performance from Matt [Barnes] coming off of the bench with 18 points. Again with Pau [Gasol], I thought that Pau was terrific on the glass. He went in and got us 17 boards at a time that we needed somebody to step up big and rebound for us.”

ON THE FURTHER CONTRIBUTION FROM MATT BARNES:
“There are probably a lot of games that we might not have won without his energy. He’s been shooting the ball terrific as of late and scoring well for us. It was good to see him knock down some shots, but just as important as the 18 points is his 10 rebounds. That’s a big night for him on the glass.”

ON THE BENCH’S OVERALL PERFORMANCE:
“You hope that will get jumpstarted a little bit and be able to go out there and do some things and increase the lead for us at times or at least hold the lead for us if we have it. It was great to see the performance by [Josh] McRoberts, Troy Murphy, Matt Barnes and Steve Blake] coming off of the bench. I thought that they played really hard. I thought that in the first half when we had [that] group they did a great job of spacing the floor and moving the basketball. It was fun to watch some of the possessions.”




Matt Barnes:

ON PLAYING IN ORACLE ARENA:
“I love coming back home here and playing. These are great fans and I had a great time when I was here. Anytime I come back here I have a good time when I play.”

ON MAINTAINING FOCUS:
“We just need to play hard. When we play hard we’re a very tough team to beat. Tonight we had some lulls and we allowed Golden State to get back in the game, but if we just focus on playing hard then we are very tough team to beat.”

ON INCREASING BENCH PRODUCTION:
“I was just trying to be more aggressive. Our bench has taken a lot of flak all season due to minutes and shot attempts, but just in the last few weeks I’ve been trying to be more assertive on the offensive end and just doing anything I can when I’m out there.”



Pau Gasol:

ON THE FOURTH QUARTER:
“I had a couple good plays from the post and my teammates looked for me. I was still upset that I couldn’t finish a couple down there when I had a couple looks. Overall I think it was a good effort in the fourth quarter by all of us. Defending, coming up with stops and executing. Obviously Kobe [Bryant] hit a couple big shots down the stretch and hit his free throws. We came out with the rebounds on the other end and contested the shots that they took, so it was a much better concentration and execution on both ends of the floor down the stretch.”

ON PLAYING AGAINST DEREK FISHER THURSDAY:
“It will be emotional for all us. To see him in another uniform, I think for anybody who has been around this franchise for a certain period of time, it will be shocking to see him playing with another team and he’s obviously a guy that we all care a lot for. He’s a person who has meant so much to anybody and everybody in this locker room and this franchise.”




Mark Jackson:

ON TONIGHT’S GAME:
“I totally understand that we are playing the Los Angeles Lakers with a guy that’s an absolute assassin. When you look at the roster, when you look at the starting lineup…I think it would be safe to say that the Lakers would drill us. The bottom line is, at the end of the day, I have a bunch of guys that compete, get after it, work extremely hard, have tremendous pride and we gave ourselves a chance. I’m playing guys out of position and even out of that position. I’m proud of them and I told them that. I’m extremely proud of them.”

ON DOMINIC MCGUIRE:
“It’s shocking to me that a guy like him was at home waiting for a phone call without a job. Anybody that wants to win and wants to develop a culture of winning - the phone should have been busy every time you tried to call. Everything we’ve asked him to do he’s done it. The guy has played every position for us, when I hear a coach say that I’m like ‘oh he’s exaggerating’ this guy has played every position for us offensively, he’s defended every great player we’ve faced whether it be playing 20 minutes, 30 minutes or just 10 seconds at the end of the game. He’s a winner. He’s an absolute winner. We are fortunate to have him and hopefully we can keep him around.”

ON IF THEY COULD HAVE DEFENDED KOBE BRYANT BETTER ON HIS LAST TWO JUMPERS:
“No. The guy is an incredible basketball player, in the discussion with anybody that has ever played. That’s exactly why he gets paid the big bucks. You love to look at the film and say ‘what could we have done better’? The defense was outstanding and the contest was outstanding. I’ll take great offense over great defense any day of the week. Give him credit and move on.”




Dominic McGuire:

ON PLAYING POINT GUARD:
“It’s fun. I don’t have to worry about scoring; I just have to try to find our scorers out there.”

ON KOBE BRYANT’S SHOTS AT THE END:
“We had two hands in his face and he still hit those shots. That’s Kobe (Bryant). He’s done that over and over again. It was great defense by us but better offense.”




David Lee:

ON DOMINIC McGUIRE:
“He’s done a great job for us; he’s done everything that Coach has asked him to do. Tonight he played point guard and guarded everything from two through five. He’s done that a lot of nights for us. The biggest thing with Dom (McGuire) is he’s a great locker room guy and he’s a guy that’s going to give a lot of effort every time he’s on the floor and he provides a lot of stability for us especially defensively.”

ON TONIGHT’S LOSS:
“Our team fought hard. It’s not an excuse. We were up two with whatever to go and we have to find a way to get stops. The best player in the world (Kobe Bryant) hits two shots on us over great defense. It’s unfortunate.”




Brandon Rush:

ON BEING EMOTIONAL ON THE COURT:
“I was a little emotional out there today. It’s something a little bit out of my character but things were going my way, knocking down shots and getting to the rack. I was playing good defense on the other end and I let my emotions get out. It was an intense game and things happen like that.”






Lakers-Warriors Preview

By MATT BECKER


Kobe Bryant is mired in a bit of a scoring slump, and the Los Angeles Lakers have had some trouble slowing down opponents.

A game against the struggling Golden State Warriors could be the answer to both of those problems.

Bryant and the Lakers look to continue their dominance over the Warriors Tuesday night at Oracle Arena.

After winning eight of 10, Los Angeles has dropped three of five. The Lakers, who allow an average of 93.4 points and are one of the league's top rebounding teams at 45.5 per game, have given up at least 102 points in each of the last three defeats and have been outrebounded in the past two.

In Sunday's 102-96 loss to Memphis, Los Angeles (30-19) allowed the Grizzlies to shoot 51.2 percent and score 52 points in the paint.

"We can't ignore what's going to make us a great team and what's going to make us a great team is playing defensively and playing solid at that end of the floor," forward Pau Gasol said. "Offensively, whether we play better or more confidently or not, we just have to be more consistent on the defensive end of the floor."

The Lakers could have better success defensively against a Warriors team that is struggling to find its rhythm since trading Monta Ellis.

Golden State (20-27) has dropped six of eight, averaging 92.7 points in those defeats. The Lakers are 21-4 when limiting opponents to 93 points or less.

Gasol finished with 16 points and 14 rebounds Sunday, Andrew Bynum scored 30 on 11-of-16 shooting and Ramon Sessions added 18 points in his second start with the Lakers. Bryant also scored 18 with just two coming in the fourth quarter.

Bryant didn't get as much playing time as usual down the stretch, however, as the 14-time All-Star spent nearly four minutes on the bench as the Lakers attempted to make a final push. He said he supported coach Mike Brown's decision.

"If you guys are looking for a story, I'm not going to give it to you," said Bryant, who averages a league-best 28.3 points. "I can't sit here and criticize his decisions. As the leader of this ball club, that's something I can't afford to do."

Sunday's performance was the second straight 18-point effort from Bryant, who is averaging 22.0 points on 37.1 percent shooting in the last five games. He averaged 30.9 points in the previous 10 and has enjoyed similar success against Golden State.

In the Lakers' lone matchup of the season with the Warriors on Jan. 6, Bryant had 39 points on 13-of-28 shooting in a 97-90 win. Los Angeles has won 13 of the last 14 meetings, and Bryant is averaging 28.4 points in 16 games against Golden State since 2007-08.

The Warriors will likely be short-handed for this game with Stephen Curry nursing a right ankle sprain and Nate Robinson sidelined with a strained right hamstring. Rookie Charles Jenkins started for Robinson against Portland on Sunday and finished with a career-high 27 points, but he missed a 3-point attempt at the buzzer in a 90-87 loss.

"It won't be Jenkins-sanity, but he is a guy that is more than capable of going out and doing the job," coach Mark Jackson said. "We're pleased with his progress."

Rookie Klay Thompson has also done a solid job of stepping up in the wake of the Ellis trade, averaging 19.7 points in starting the last nine games.


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    
  #15 World Peace SF #1 Wright  
  #16 Gasol PF #10 Lee  
  #17 Bynum C #3 Tyler  
  #24 Bryant SG #11 Thompson  
  #7 Sessions PG #2 Robinson  



Lakers None

Andrew Bogut
(fractured left ankle) is out.
Stephen Curry
(mild sprain, right ankle) is out.
Andris Biedrins
(strained right groin) is out.
Nate Robinson
(strained right hamstring) is a game-time decision.


Game 1: 01/06 - GSW @ LAL W 97 - 90
Game 2: 03/27 - LAL @ GSW
Game 3: 04/01 - GSW @ LAL
Game 4: 04/18 - LAL @ GSW


GAME NOTES

SEASON & SERIES NOTES; CONNECTIONS
The Lakers lead the season series with Golden State 1-0 after taking last season’s series from the Warriors 3-1. The Lakers have swept four of the last six season series with the Warriors and have not lost a season series to Golden State since they were defeated 2-3 over five games during the 1994-95 season. The Lakers and Warriors have met 298 times in the regular season during the Los Angeles Era with the Lakers leading the alltime series 190-108. Including their time in Minneapolis, the Lakers and Warriors have met a total of 389 times with the Lakers holding a 241-148 all-time series advantage. The Lakers are 27-4 in their last 31 games against Golden State but had their 12-game win streak against the Warriors snapped in their last meeting of the 2010-11 season 4/6/11 at ORACLE Arena (87-95). At STAPLES Center, the Lakers are 23-2 all-time against the Warriors. On the road, the Lakers have gone 8-2 against the Warriors in their last 10 games at ORACLE Arena. In 56 career games including 47 starts against the Warriors, Bryant is averaging 27.1 points per game with a high game of 51 points, his 3rd highest average among all teams behind Charlotte, Toronto and Portland. The 1,515 points Bryant has scored against Golden State is the highest total among all opponents he has faced. Lakers forward Troy Murphy was drafted by Golden State with the 14th overall pick in the 2001 NBA Draft. Murphy played his first five and a half NBA seasons with the Warriors, averaging a double-double for the year three times in the Bay Area (2002-03, 2004-05, 2005-06). Warriors rookie guard Klay Thompson, who played his prep basketball locally at Santa Margarita HS in Orange County and was selected by Golden State with the 11th overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, is the son of former Lakers forward/center and current radio color analyst Mychal Thompson.


SESSIONS MAKES GOOD IMPRESSION IN FIRST START WITH LAKERS
In his first start as a Laker, Ramon Sessions posted 20 points (6-10 FG, 2-3 3FG), 11 assists and six rebounds in 36 minutes to help the Lakers to a 103-96 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on March 23. In doing so, Sessions became the first Lakers point guard to post a 20-point/10-assist game since Chucky Atkins tallied 26 points and 10 rebounds in a 105-101 victory over Golden State back on January 21, 2005. Furthermore, Sessions is the first mid-season acquisition with a 20-point/10-assist game for the Lakers since Lucius Allen had three such games after he was traded by Milwaukee to Los Angeles during the 1974-75 season.


ANDREW BYNUM NAMED WESTERN CONFERENCE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
On March 19, the NBA announced that Andrew Bynum had earned Western Conference Player of the Week for games played Monday, March 12 through Sunday, March 18, giving him the SECOND WC Player of the Week award of his career. Bynum led the Lakers to a 3-1 week, including back-to-back road wins against Memphis and New Orleans and a home victory against Minnesota. Averaging 27.5 points and 14.8 rebounds, while shooting 66.5% from the field, Bynum led the Western Conference in rebounding, placed second in the conference in scoring and finished fourth in the West in field-goal percentage on the week. Bynum collected point-rebound doubledoubles in all four of the Lakers games, including 37 points (15-18 FG) and 16 rebounds 3/13 @ Memphis, 25 points and 19 rebounds 3/14 @ New Orleans and 33 points (12-14 FG) and 11 rebounds 3/18 vs. Utah. Bynum’s first career WC Player of the Week award was earned back on January 26, 2009, when Bynum averaged 23.5 points, 11.5 rebounds and 2.25 blocks in helping lead the Lakers to a 4-0 week from 1/19/09 to 1/25/09.


BYNUM ON A ROLL
With 33 points (12-of-14 FG (85.7 percent), 9-of-12 FT) against the Utah Jazz on March 18th, Andrew Bynum recorded his fourth career 30+ point game, but third in his last eight contests. Scoring 37 points in the Lakers double overtime victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on March 13th, going 15-of-18 from the field (83.3 percent), Bynum’s night marked just the fourth time in Lakers history that a player has scored at least 37 points on better than 83 percent shooting. The last Laker to accomplish this was Shaquille O’Neal, who did so back on November 19, 1999 in a victory over the Bulls. Bynum’s first 30+ point game of the month came on March 6th in Detroit, when he scored 30 points on 13-of-18 shooting.


WIRE-TO-WIRE
With their 97-92 victory over Minnesota on March 16th, the Lakers recorded their SECOND wire-to-wire victory of the 2011-12 season. Their other wire-to-wire victory (game in which they never trailed) also came against the Timberwolves (104-85 (2/29)). Last year, the Lakers led the NBA with 10 wire-to-wire victories, all coming during the regular season. During the team’s two most recent championship runs, they recorded nine wire-to-wire victories in 2009-10 (seven during the regular season and two during the 2010 Playoffs (4/18 & 4/27 vs. Oklahoma City)) and 11 wire-to-wire victories in 2008-09 (nine during the regular season and two during the 2009 Playoffs (4/29 vs. Utah & 5/17 vs. Houston)). The Lakers have also lost one game this season in wire-to-wire fashion, falling to the Clippers 102-94 on January 14th. Last year, the Lakers lost two such games: (98-107 1/8/10 at POR & 75-91 3/26/10 at OKC).


LAKERS MAKE IT 19 STRAIGHT AGAINST THE TIMBERWOLVES
Leading by nine at the half and by as many as 16 points in the third, the Lakers allowed Minnesota back to within as few as five but held on down the stretch to record their 19th consecutive victory over the Timberwolves 97-92 on March 16th at STAPLES Center. The streak, which is the longest active win streak by one NBA team against another, equals the second longest streak in Lakers franchise history when Los Angeles defeated the Dallas Mavericks 19 straight times from 1995-99. The longest regular season streak against a single opponent in Lakers franchise history is 24 consecutive victories over the Kings from 1983-88.


BRYANT WORKING OVERTIME
Kobe Bryant played 48:38 in the Lakers' overtime win at New Orleans on March 14th after playing 51:47 in their double-overtime victory at Memphis on March 13th. Bryant is the third NBA player in the last nine seasons to log more than 48 minutes in each of two games played on consecutive days. The only other players to do so over that span (2003-04 to date) were Charlotte teammates Jason Richardson and Gerald Wallace (Jan. 11-12, 2008). Bryant is the first Lakers player to do so since Wilt Chamberlain (Feb. 1-2, 1969).*


BACK-TO-BACK OVERTIMES
With their overtime victory 3/14 at New Orleans, which followed a double-overtime victory 3/13 at Memphis, the Lakers posted overtime road victories on consecutive days for just the 3rd time in franchise history. The previous occurrences were November 13-14, 1997 (at SA and HOU) and November 3-4, 2009 (at OKC and HOU).*


BRYANT APPROACHING JORDAN FOR 2ND ON NBA FRANCHISE CAREER POINTS LIST
During the 2009-10 season, with his 29th point on February 1, 2010 at Memphis, Kobe Bryant surpassed Jerry West as the Lakers all-time leading scorer. In the history of the NBA, only two players have scored more points with a single franchise than Bryant (29,143): Karl Malone (1st/36,374) and Michael Jordan (2nd/29,277). Last season, Bryant moved past Hakeem Olajuwon (26,511) 12/19/10 at Toronto and John Havlicek (26,395) 12/10/10 at Chicago into third on this list.


GETTING YOUNGER
In acquiring Ramon Sessions (25) and Christian Eyenga (22) from Cleveland for Luke Walton (32) and Jason Kapono (31) and Jordan Hill (24) from Houston for Derek Fisher (37) prior to the March 15 trade deadline, the Lakers average team age saw two years shaved off of it, going from 29 years, 149 days to 27 years, 133 days.


BYNUM ON A ROLL
With 37 points in the Lakers double overtime victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on March 13th, Andrew Bynum recorded his third career 30+ point game but second in his last five contests. Additionally, by going 15-of-18 from the field (83.3 percent), Bynum’s night marked just the fourth time in Lakers history that a player has scored at least 37 points on better than 83 percent shooting. The last Laker to accomplish this was Shaquille O’Neal, who did so back on November 19, 1999 in a victory over the Bulls.


*Statistical research assistance provided by the Elias Sports Bureau






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