Friday, January 9, 2009

Kobe takes over down stretch to beat Indiana 121-119

Kobe Bryant's turnaround jumpshot with 3 seconds remaining gave the Lakers a 121-119 victory over the stubborn Indiana Pacers. It also game them their 21st win in 23 home game this season and avenged their one-point loss last Dec. 2 in Indianapolis.

Bryant finished with 36 points, 13 assists, seven rebounds and made 15 of his 17 free-throw attempts, marking just the second time he's had at least 30 points and 13 assists in his career.

For a second straight game after their lackluster performance in the Lakers loss against New Orleans, both Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum both had notable performances.

Gasol scored 21 points on 9-of-13 shooting and grabbed 11 rebounds. Bynum made 8 of his 10 field goal attempts for 20 points in just 31 minutes of playing time. But their contributions might not have been enough to score a win if not for Bryant taking over late in the game.

Gasol had not made a field goal in the fourth quarter, scoring just a single point on a free-throw. Bynum only only made one field-goal attempt and another free-throw for three points.

Even Bryant's shooting was off early in the final quarter, missing his first three shot attempts, but he kept putting the ball up. He scored 11 points in the fourth quarter.

Lakers coach Phil Jackson said Bryant remained patient and determined down the stretch. Even when he struggled a bit on his shots early in the fourth quarter, "He stayed with it and made some plays for us down the stretch," Jackson said.

Troy Murphy had 24 points for Indiana and Danny Granger finished with 28. Mike Dunleavy added 22 points off-the-bench.

The Pacers have lost 11 straight games in Staples Center against the Lakers.


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