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Seattle at Los Angeles

Kobe defers to Odom in return, Lakers hold off Sonics

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports

LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Lakers were able to win without Kobe. Now they've won with him.

Kobe Bryant made his season debut with 23 points, Lamar Odom scored 28 and Los Angeles remained unbeaten with a 118-112 victory over the Seattle SuperSonics on Friday night.

The Lakers won their opening two games while Bryant worked his way back from the arthroscopic surgery he had on his right knee during the offseason.

"I feel pretty good. I wasn't thinking about the knee that much," said Bryant, who seemed to be moving as well as usual on the court. "It's exciting to be back. I am happy to be out on the floor.

"The timing and rhythm was off but that will come back in time. In the first half I jumped off the leg for a reverse layup. That was something I didn't do at all last year."

Ray Allen had 30 points and Rashard Lewis added 28 for Seattle (0-2).

Bryant played 41 minutes and went 8-of-15 from the field. He had six assists and four rebounds.

Odom made five free throws in the closing 36 seconds to help the Lakers hold off the Sonics. Luke Walton had a career-high 20 points and eight rebounds for Los Angeles.

"Having Kobe back, watching Ronny (Turiaf) come up big in the end, that was awesome. That was a lot more fun for me than having a career high in points," Walton said.

The 28-year-old Bryant, an eight-time all-star who led the league in scoring with a 35.4 average last season, missed all the Lakers' exhibition games this fall.

Without Bryant, Odom had 34 points and 13 rebounds in a season-opening win over Phoenix and 22 points in the second victory, against Golden State.

"The guys worked extremely hard in the offseason," Bryant said. "To step up when we needed them at the beginning of the season is great."

The Sonics led 102-100 with 4:55 left in the game. But Turiaf's two free throws pulled the Lakers even, and he added a jumper for a 104-102 lead shortly afterward, and Los Angeles didn't trail again.

Seattle coach Bob Hill was unhappy with the disparity in free throws.

"It's difficult to win a basketball game when one team (Los Angeles) shoots 48 free throws and your team shoots 16 and you go to the basket for two-thirds of the game," Hill said. "That's very difficult to overcome."

He was particularly displeased that Chris Wilcox didn't get a call late in the game.

"We were down by four with 30-something seconds left to play and we wanted to go two-for-one with a chance to win the game. Wilcox just got knocked," Hill said. "The Lakers grabbed his arm and just knocked him on his back.

"That's wrong and we earned the right to get a foul on that play. I just can't believe that Wilcox didn't get a free throw on that play."

Allen hit a jumper, was fouled by Bryant and made the free throw to draw the Sonics even at 77-77 with 4:07 left in the third quarter. Down 33-13 nine minutes into the game, the Sonics chipped away at the lead and pulled within 50-48 with 4:44 left in the second quarter. Los Angeles led 65-56 at halftime.


  • Bryant wore his new Lakers' number, 24, for the first time. He had worn 8 in Los Angeles, but decided he wanted to go back to the number he wore as a high school freshman.
  • The Lakers averaged 112 points in their two wins without Bryant, defeating Phoenix by eight in the season opener in Los Angeles, then beating Golden State by 12 in Oakland.
  • The Sonics lost their season opener 110-106 to Portland on Wednesday.
  • The Lakers still are missing F-C Kwame Brown (shoulder), C Chris Mihm (ankle) and G Aaron McKie (back).
Copyright 2016 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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Despite showing a little rust, Kobe Bryant has a successful return to the Staples Center. (AP)
Despite showing a little rust, Kobe Bryant has a successful return to the Staples Center. (AP)
Seattle (0-2) 26303224112
L.A. Lakers (3-0) «38272132118
SEA:R. Allen 30 Pts
SEA:C. Wilcox 12 Reb
SEA:E. Watson 7 Ast
LAL:L. Odom 28 Pts
LAL:L. Walton 8 Reb
LAL:K. Bryant 6 Ast
Players of the Game
Los AngelesSeattle

L. Odom

R. Allen

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R. Lewis, SF4210-214-482328
R. Allen, SG4110-247-755430
C. Wilcox, C305-111-2124311
L. Ridnour, PG275-120-022612
M. Sene, PF110-10-22030
E. Watson, PG325-151-117113
D. Wilkins, SF286-80-043312
N. Collison, PF130-20-04030
D. Fortson, PF122-30-02034
M. Gelabale, SF31-10-00012
M. Wilks, PGDid Not Play
K. Rush, SGDid Not Play
R. Swift, CDid Not Play
D. Farmer, GDid Not Play
J. Petro, CDid Not Play
Totals 44-9813-16402330112
Los Angeles
L. Odom, SF427-1210-1246228
K. Bryant, SG418-157-1046323
S. Parker, PG334-91-131111
L. Walton, SF337-104-685120
A. Bynum, C232-25-78039
R. Turiaf, PF163-37-870213
V. Radmanovic, PF151-23-43216
M. Evans, SG151-60-02022
J. Farmar, PG151-30-02102
B. Cook, PF82-30-02114
A. McKie, SGDid Not Play
S. Williams, PGDid Not Play
C. Mihm, CDid Not Play
K. Brown, CDid Not Play
S. Vujacic, PGDid Not Play
Totals 36-6537-48432216118
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NO 100 Final
Ind 91
Mil 92 Final
Tor 109
Phi 105 Final
Orl 103
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Atl 102
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Mem 96
Cle 88 Final
SA 81
Sac 89 Final
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Min 112 Final
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Utah 108 Final
Pho 104
Port 89 Final
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