Gameday: Lakers 91, Nets 87

GAMEDAY LINKS: Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
New Jersey Nets 23 22 21 21 87
by Play
Los Angeles Lakers 32 26 20 13 91

Lakers blow big lead, hold off Nets 91-87


Posted Apr 04 2012 10:36PM

LOS ANGELES (AP) Kobe Bryant's tiebreaking 3-pointer bounced off every available surface, pinballing around the rim and backboard while Staples Center held its collective breath.

Yet the Lakers and Nets all seemed to know exactly where the ball would end up.

Mostly because they know the guy who shot it.

Bryant scored 24 points and rattled home that decisive 3-pointer with 6.8 seconds left, and Los Angeles blew every bit of a 17-point lead before holding on for a 91-87 victory over New Jersey on Tuesday night.

The NBA's leading scorer closed out yet another victory in memorable fashion, beating the shot clock with a 26-footer that bounced roughly a half-dozen times before falling.

Put it this way: According to the official box score, Bryant took the shot with 10.1 seconds left, and the clock didn't stop for another 3.3 seconds.

"It was just one of those shots, I guess," Bryant said. "The basketball gods were with us tonight."

That sure didn't appear to be the case for most of the fourth quarter. Los Angeles led by 12 with 10 minutes left, but Deron Williams led an 18-6 run for New Jersey, tying it on a 3-pointer with 1:29 to play.

Bryant made a long jumper moments later, and the Lakers controlled the ball for 52 straight seconds during the final minute with an offensive rebound and an out-of-bounds deflection. Bryant then made his third 3-pointer, and Williams missed his own 3-point attempt.

"I kept telling our guys, if we can just get it under 10, under eight, under six, we'll have a chance," Nets coach Avery Johnson said. "Kobe just got free. Everybody in the gym knew who was going to take the shot."

Williams scored 20 points, Gerald Wallace had 19, and Kris Humphries added 18 points and 15 rebounds amid steady boos for the Nets, whose first three-game winning streak of the season ended.

Pau Gasol had 22 points and 12 rebounds, and Ramon Sessions had 19 points and 11 assists as the Lakers put an ugly finish on their 11th victory in 15 games despite never trailing in their eighth consecutive win over the Nets.

"We feel as a group that when we do get a double-digit lead, we tend to relax a little bit," Lakers coach Mike Brown said. "The other team, they're going to amp it up, take chances and be more physical. Next thing you know, it's a three-point game."

The Lakers, who have won three straight and six of eight, didn't blame the late lapses on the absence of All-Star center Andrew Bynum, who sprained his left ankle in Sunday's win over Golden State. Brown isn't sure whether Bynum will play in Wednesday's Staples Center showdown with the Clippers, but Bynum is hopeful he'll suit up.

After largely dominating the first three quarters against undermanned New Jersey, the Lakers missed 13 of their first 16 shots in the fourth quarter, allowing the Nets to trim their deficit to 84-81 on Williams' 3-pointer with 3:08 left. Wallace's layup a minute later cut the Lakers' lead to one point, and Williams tied it on a 3-pointer with 1:29 to play.

"We needed a better start, but we put ourselves in a position to win," said Humphries, who endured repeated booing from the Hollywood crowd. "That was a hell of a play they drew up at the end."

After Bryant's fallaway 22-footer with 1:11 left, Wallace missed one of two free throws. Gasol grabbed an offensive rebound on Sessions' 3-point miss with 32 seconds left, and video review with 10.8 seconds left reversed an out-of-bounds call, giving the ball back to the Lakers.

Humphries laughed about Bryant's bouncing winner.

"When we were warming up, I said, `This rim is loose,"' Humphries said. "'This could hurt us in the fourth quarter.' Not really, but the rim really was loose."

While Bynum sat out for the first time in his best professional season since his season-opening four-game suspension, Brown refused comment on a report the Lakers had fined Bynum for a series of minor disciplinary transgressions, saying only that the club had handled an internal matter.

The Lakers immediately showed why the Nets' opponents have the best field-goal percentage in the NBA, making 10 of their first 12 shots while jumping to a nine-point lead in the first quarter. Los Angeles led 58-41 shortly before halftime and 78-62 late in the third quarter.

NOTES: New Jersey hasn't won four straight games since March 2011 ... Gasol got a technical foul in the third quarter for shoving Humphries in the back and then confronting the ex-Kardashian beau. New Jersey's big men played aggressively all night against the more talented Gasol. ... Green failed to make the Lakers' roster in training camp. ... Fans near courtside included Jack Black and Ashton Kutcher.

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 New Jersey Nets Tuesday, April 3rd at Staples Center at 7:30PM. Catch all the action on Fox Sports West, NBA TV, and 710ESPN.

View More Photos

Points Bryant 24, 10-16
Rebounds Gasol 12, 4 OFF 8 DEF
Assists Sessions 11
Steals 4 tied with 1
Blocks Murphy 1


Mike Brown:

Lakers coach Mike Brown on Ramon Session’s performance tonight:
“Sessions, in the 38 minutes he played, he was huge for us. With 19 points and 11 assists, a lot of times it’s great to have that luxury when you’re stalled out to play a little pick and roll and have [Sessions] create for his teammates. Big night for Sessions. With his size too and his ability to get to the paint when he has the ball in his hands, he’s also a fearless rebounder. It seems like he’s coming up with 5 or 6 rebounds a game which is pretty big to get from the point guard position.”

Lakers coach Mike Brown on how Kobe Bryant was able to play through the Nets double teaming him tonight:
“All night, New Jersey was bent on not letting Kobe beat them. They ran a second and sometimes a third guy on him time and time again and Kobe was patient. He hit two huge shots for us down the stretch to help put the game away.”

Lakers coach Mike Brown on why teams are able to come back after the Lakers take a big lead:
“We talked about it as a group in there. We feel as a group that when we do get a double digit lead, whether it’s against a good team or a team that doesn’t have a good record, we tend to relax a little bit. The other team in uniform, they’re NBA players and they don’t want to be embarrassed. They may be down 15 but they don’t want to be down 30 so they’re going to amp it up a notch, take chances, get a little more physical, and bring a little bit more energy to the game. We have to amp it up and a lot of times we don’t.”

Pau Gasol:

Lakers’ Pau Gasol on playing in Andrew Bynum’s absence:
“I’m just trying to fill up the role, be aggressive and effective and post up a little more when he’s not in the lineup. So far I’ve had a couple of goo games but obviously we look forward to having him back.”

Lakers’ Pau Gasol on what the team was not doing in the second half:
“We missed a lot of good looks and some easy ones inside. We turned the ball over a little too much and we gave them a little life. They were getting to the 50-50 balls before we were. Just turnovers and missed shots.”

Lakers’ Pau Gasol on letting teams back in:
“It’s definitely something that we want to get better at because it just happens too often. It becomes something usual and it’s not a good thing.”

Ramon Sessions:

Lakers’ Ramon Sessions on his mindset without Bynum playing tonight:
“Bynum is a 20 and 10 guy every night. Guys had to step up and I felt my role was to bring the energy a little bit more and get guys shots. Troy and Josh played well for us on pick and rolls, and it all worked out for us in the end.”

Lakers’ Ramon Sessions on Kobe’s last second shot:
“I’m just glad to have a guy like that on the team. You just throw it to him and say: ‘Hey, do your thing.’ It was big for us and he’s always big for this team. I can’t say enough about him. That’s why he’s Kobe.”

Lakers’ Ramon Sessions on his thoughts regarding the Nets fight tonight:
“That’s why you play the game. New Jersey is not going to the playoffs, but those guys are competitive and they’re in the NBA for a reason. They came out and they played hard in the second half. But we were able to keep the lead and get the win.”

Lakers’ Ramon Sesssions on how the Lakers can hold onto big leads:
“We just have to stay consistent and not have those lags that we have. I’m as guilty as anybody. A couple turnovers here and there gave them easier baskets. But as a whole, we just have to stay consistent. We got the win, but tomorrow against a team like the Clippers, it’s going to be tough.”

Lakers’ Ramon Sesssions on how the Nets defense adjusted in the second half:
“You have to credit their defense as a whole. I think in the fourth quarter, we scored 13 points. To get a win and score 13 points in the fourth quarter is good, but we definitely don’t want to have those lags tomorrow against the Clippers. Their defense came out and addressed what they needed to address and they played hard that second half.”

Lakers’ Ramon Sessions on whether he thinks Bynum will play tomorrow:
“I hope so. We don’t want him to miss too many games because we need him on the floor night in and night out, so hopefully he plays tomorrow.”

Kobe Bryant:

Lakers’ Kobe Bryant on his last shot and whether he felt confident if it’d go in once it left his hands:
“Yeah, yeah I did. It felt good. I could feel the roll and knew I was kind of going to get the bounce. Sometimes you can’t really feel it, but on that particular shot, it fell through.”

Lakers’ Kobe Bryant on playing without Andrew Bynum tonight:
“It was different. We had to play a little differently, but I felt the guys adjusted pretty well. Pau stepped up and had a huge game. I felt like everybody contributed.”

Lakers’ Kobe Bryant on how he feels the Lakers are doing despite blowing big leads to sub-.500 teams:
“I feel like we’re learning. We feel like we’re learning some things throughout these grind it out games about our defensive execution and offensive execution, and I feel we’ll be better as a result.”

Lakers’ Kobe Bryant on whether it’s concerning the Lakers aren’t able to hold big leads:
“No, not really. That’s all attributed to our execution and what we’re going to do in those situations. And that comes from playing together under this new system. The last few years, we knew the offense like the back of our hands. We knew exactly what we wanted to do and how the defense was going to react to it. In those situations, we were able to stretch those leads. Here, we just have to figure it out a little bit, but we’ll get there.”

Lakers’ Kobe Bryant on how the Lakers can figure out how to play better down the stretch:
“It’s always a process. Even last year, we were still kind of figuring out the triangle offense to a certain extent. You’re always looking to learn. In this new system with this being the first year with really no practice time, it’s more important this season more than ever. You learn as you go. You watch film, you figure out certain things you want to do in those situations and what you want to take advantage of...”

Lakers’ Kobe Bryant on the last play and whether New Jersey was trying to double team him:
“They couldn’t. I was by myself there. Pau set a good screen that freed me up. In those instances, once I come off a good screen, catch and shoot, they can’t get to me.”

Avery Johnson:

Nets coach Avery Johnson on the final minutes of tonight’s game:
“I kept telling our guys if we can just get it under 10, under 8, under 6, we’ll have a chance to win. They kept battling and that’s what I’ve been saying about our team, they’re just so tough-minded and resilient. Kobe just got free, everybody in the gym knew who was going to take the shot, we knew who was going to take the shot. We just kind of had a little blown assignment there, but I’m really proud of our guys.”

Nets coach Avery Johnson on what they’ll take away from tonight’s game:
“We’ve got to go in and play well. We’ve got to get off to a better start, we’ve been talking about better starts. We didn’t have a good first quarter. But, look at the defense we played in the second half, and especially in the fourth quarter. Our guys were really on their assignments, we rebounded the ball a little bit better, we did a good job of getting the ball out of Bryant’s hands and trying to force some other guys to score, we kept them off the free throw line, we played good defense without fouling. So, it’s just a tough break for us. Normally those balls like that will bounce out, unfortunately for us it bounced in.”

Nets coach Avery Johnson on the challenges the team has faced this season:
“We’ve had a long year with injuries and a lot of highs and lows. The main thing for us is we’ve just got to keep fighting until the end.”

Deron Williams:

Nets’ Deron Williams on Kobe Bryant’s last shot:
“He’s been making shots like that his whole career so it was no surprise. He had a great look. It all came down to the first half of the game. We didn’t play well. We allowed 58 points and they shot 65% from the field in the first half. That’s ultimately what cost us the game.”

Nets’ Deron Williams on making a comeback in the second half:
“We’ve had a couple comebacks. We’ve struggled in the first half. That’s kind of become a problem for us. We just keep fighting. That’s the thing about us is that we’re learning how to continue to fight. The game is a game of runs. If we hang in there and make a couple of runs then you look up and it’s tied.”

Nets’ Deron Williams on only scoring 10 points through three quarters:
“I was just off in the first half. I had some good looks in the first half and just missed them. Foul trouble pretty much cost me the whole third quarter. I just wanted to bounce back and focus a little bit in the fourth quarter.”

Kris Humphries:

Nets’ Kris Humphries on the Lakers last possession:
“That was a hell of a play they drew up at the end. We probably should have switched out, but it’s Kobe and he hit the shot.”

Nets’ Kris Humphries on the team’s slow start:
“I think we came out a little too loose today. We just weren’t that physical and we weren’t talking on defense. I think we cranked it up in the second half.”

Gerald Green:

Nets’ Gerald Green on being back in the NBA and returning to LA:
“It’s always good to be back in LA, and it’s just really good to be back in the NBA. Of course coming to one of the greatest cities in the world and playing a team like this is always great.”

Nets-Lakers Preview


The Los Angeles Lakers seem to have survived what could have been a crushing blow to their championship aspirations with center Andrew Bynum having avoided serious injury.

The New Jersey Nets haven’t been able to rely on their star big man much at all this season, but they’ve proved to be fairly formidable of late.

The Pacific Division-leading Lakers try for an eighth consecutive victory over the visiting Nets, who look to extend their longest winning streak in more than a year to four Tuesday night.

One night after defeating New Orleans 88-85, Los Angeles (33-20) beat Golden State 120-112 on Sunday behind 40 points from Kobe Bryant. Pau Gasol scored 26 points and Ramon Sessions added 23 for the Lakers, who found themselves short-handed after Bynum exited in the first quarter with a sprained left ankle.

Averaging 22.9 points and 64.6 percent shooting in his previous 15 games, Bynum said afterward that he would definitely play Tuesday. It remains to be seen if he’ll suit up, though.

“Hopefully he won’t (miss any games) because he’s a big presence for us defensively and offensively,” Gasol said. “He’s become such a point of reference for our team. If he does need to rest then obviously rebounding is one area that everybody needs to make sure we make a conscious effort and it needs to be covered.”

If Bynum does play, he won’t have to worry about slowing down Brook Lopez, who’s out with a sprained right ankle. Lopez also broke his right foot during the preseason and has appeared in five games this season for the Nets (19-35), who have recently picked up the pace despite the absence of their starting center.

Winner of four of five, New Jersey has kicked off its four-game road swing with back-to-back victories to extend its winning streak to three. The Nets haven’t taken four in a row since a five-game run March 4-14, 2011.

“We’re playing better defensively, which is helping us on offense,” point guard Deron Williams told the league’s official website. “We’re giving a good team effort. It’s different guys stepping up … We’re just getting great, great team efforts night in and night out.”

Ranking near the bottom of the league with 93.1 points per game, New Jersey has averaged 104.3 during its streak and continued its offensive surge in a 111-99 win at Sacramento on Saturday. The Nets outscored the Kings 60-41 over the second and third quarters.

Williams had 19 points and 15 assists while Anthony Morrow went 6 of 11 from 3-point range and scored 24.

“This is huge. Everybody’s playing loose, playing confident,” Morrow said. “Coach (Avery Johnson) is really being patient and everything. He’s showing a lot of confidence in us and we’re showing a lot of confidence in the coaching staff. Everything’s working well. We’ve just got to continue play like we’re playing now.”

Recently acquired Gerald Wallace seems to finally be getting comfortable with his new team. He’s averaged 21.0 points, 12.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 4.0 steals over the last two games after scoring 14.0 points with 6.1 rebounds a contest in his first seven with the Nets.

“Even though it’s a team game, a lot of (our success) has to do with Gerald Wallace,” Johnson said. “It’s his defense, his competitive spirit. He settles our team down when we are getting out of sorts.”

Los Angeles has outscored New Jersey by an average of 15.2 points during its seven-game run in the series, with Bryant averaging 29.5 points and 53.8 percent shooting in the last four. He scored 27 as the Lakers overcame 35 points from Lopez in the last meeting to win 100-88 on Jan. 14, 2011.

W LAL 120, GSW 112

W LAL 88, NOH 85

L OKC 102, LAL 93

W LAL 104, GSW 101

L MEM 102, LAL 96

Probable Starters

  #15 World Peace SF #45 Wallace  
  #16 Gasol PF #43 Humphries  
  #17 Bynum C #27 Petro  
  #24 Bryant SG #9 Brooks  
  #7 Sessions PG #8 Williams  


Jordan Hill
(sprained MCL, right knee) is questionable.

Damion James
(right foot surgery) is out.
Brook Lopez
(right foot) is out.
Jordan Farmar
(sore right groin) is out.
Shelden Williams
(right eye injury) is out.
Jordan Williams
(mild concussion) is doubtful.

Game 1: 04/03 - NJN @ LAL

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