Monday, January 19, 2009

Kobe Got Injured But Still Beat James And Cavaliers

Kobe Bryant, dedicated to pressuring LeBron James on defense, dislocated his right ring finger early in the game, trying to knock the ball out of LeBron's hands. Despite of that, Bryant had 20 points, six rebounds and 12 assists in 41 minutes and the Los Angeles Lakers defeat the Cleveland Cavaliers 105-88 in their game at the Staples Center.

Pau Gasol led Los Angeles with 22 points on 11-of-13 shooting and 12 rebounds. Andrew Bynum and Sasha Vujacic scored 14 points each, Derek Fisher added 11 fot the Lakers and Trevor Ariza contributed 10 points and 11 steals to help snap a five-game losing streak to the Cavaliers.

"I just dove for the ball, and the finger just popped out," Bryant recalled afterward . "I was scared, I thought I was done. It felt like I had two fingers on one, it was just disgusting." Bryant, who was obviously bothered by the injury in his shooting hand, shot 9-of-22. He spoke to reporters just minutes after X-rays showed no fracture.

Lakers coach Phil Jackson said, "for a while, we thought he was just going to be a playmaker tonight, but the second half, he started feeling like he could shoot it." Bryant scored 15 of his 20 points after halftime.

"It was a huge deal," Gasol said. "We didn't want to come out of this game with another loss on our home court. It was important for us to bounce back tonight. This is a significant victory for us. The defensive effort was outstanding."

James had 23 points and nine rebounds, but shot just 9-of-25. Mo Williams added 16 points, six rebounds and five assists and Sasha Pavlovic scored 12 for the Cavaliers (31-8), who absorbed their most one-sided loss of the season.

"You've got to give the Lakers credit, they played a very good basketball game," Cavaliers coach Mike Brown said. "I thought they were the aggressors tonight. I thought they got up in us and made us play quick. You have to give Kobe Bryant credit, I thought he played a whale of a game."


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