NBA Game Summary - Minnesota at LA Lakers
(Sunday, March 18th)
Final Score: LA Lakers 109, Minnesota 102
Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) - Kobe Bryant followed up his 65-point performance by pouring in 50 points as the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Minnesota Timberwolves, 109-102, at the Staples Center.
Smush Parker finished with 19 points, a season-high nine assists and seven rebounds for the Lakers, who have won two games in a row after their seven game losing streak. Lamar Odom had 16 points, nine rebounds and eight assists and Luke Walton donated 10 points, 11 assists and eight boards for Los Angeles, which moved into the sixth spot in the Western Conference with the win.
"We are playing with a better rhythm right now," said Bryant. "I'm being more aggressive. It's that time of the season when you play with a sense of urgency. With Luke and Lamar back it makes my job so much easier."
Ricky Davis scored 33 points for the Timberwolves, who have lost four of their last five games. Kevin Garnett had 26 points and 15 rebounds for the Timberwolves, who have lost 10 straight road games.
Mike James added 18 points and 11 assists for Minnesota, which dropped to 2 1/2 games behind Golden State for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Minnesota made a push in the fourth. A Davis triple sparked an 11-0 surge which cut the margin to 91-87 with 5:40 left to play.
Moments later another Davis three brought the Timberwolves within three, 95-92 with 2:55 remaining. Bryant, however answered with a three-point play and after Davis missed a three-point attempt, Odom converted a three-point play of his own putting the margin at nine with just 1:51 left.
"I love our guys heart. We dug ourselves too big of a hole at the start of the game," said Minnesota coach Randy Wittman. "Against a team like this, you can't give them a cushion. We have to work on our starts."
Already leading 16-10, the Lakers went on an 11-0 run, capped by a Bryant jumper which put Los Angeles ahead, 27-10 in the latter stages of the first quarter.
The Timberwolves clawed their way back into it with a 10-0 run to close the quarter and trailed just 29-22 after one frame.
After a Shammond Williams triple extended the Lakers lead to 33-22, Minnesota used an 8-0 spurt, capped by a Mark Blount jumper cutting the margin to three, 33-30 with just over eight minutes to go before the half.
Los Angeles, however pushed the lead back to nine and led 52-43 at the intermission. Bryant had 22 points at the break.
Bryant scored 16 points in the third quarter as the Lakers gradually extended their lead throughout the stanza and led 87-68 heading into the final quarter.
The Lakers shot 52.5 percent, while Minnesota shot 45.1 percent from the field...Walton, who was out of action for 1 1/2 months because of a sprained right ankle, made only his second start since Jan. 26...Bryant became only the third player in the last decade to have two consecutive 50-point games. Antawn Jamison did it in 2000 against Seattle and the Lakers (51-51) and Allen Iverson did it in 2004 against Milwaukee and Utah (54-51).
03/18 23:48:58 ET