LOS ANGELES -- The Golden State Warriors needed a victory Sunday night to complete their best record in a 14-game span since the 1975-76 season.
Unfortunately, they were playing the Los Angeles Lakers, and that hasn't proven to be in their best interests for some time.
Kobe Bryant scored 20 of his 28 points in the second half, six teammates joined him in double figures, and the Lakers pulled away late to beat the Warriors 123-113 for their ninth consecutive victory against their in-state rivals.
The victory was the third straight for the Lakers (12-8), who have won 14 of their past 15 games against Golden State and have a 16-1 record against the Warriors at Staples Center since the facility opened eight years ago.
"It's a game of matchups," said Bryant, who had six rebounds and a season-high eight assists. "They pride themselves on playing small ball. We match up pretty well with them."
The Warriors (11-9) were shooting for their 12th victory in 14 games -- their most victories in a 14-game span since they went 13-2 during a 15-game stretch 32 years ago.
"They're a big team, and we just got outhustled," said Baron Davis, who led the Warriors with 20 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. "I think the reason why we lose to them is that we let the other guys -- their bench -- get those 8, 10s and 12s.
"Somebody for them is always having a career game against us."
That would be Andrew Bynum in this game. The 20-year-old center matched a career high with 20 points and also had 11 rebounds and five blocked shots. Derek Fisher scored 15 points; Lamar Odom added 14 points, 10 rebounds and six assists, and Vladimir Radmanovic also scored 14 for the Lakers.
"We played a stellar second half," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "We were able to get it to Andrew and use him to our advantage."
Bryant said he believes that through 20 games, the Lakers are "playing well enough to keep our heads above water."
"I think the key for us is to keep getting better, believe we can get better," he said.
The Warriors scored five consecutive points to cut the Lakers' lead to four early in the fourth quarter before two baskets by Bryant and a 3-pointer by Radmanovic triggered a 17-4 run that put the game away.
"Defensively, we got stops when we needed to," Odom said. "When everyone gets involved offensively, that really helps our defense. We need more games like that.
"We knew how they were going to play. Their style is real loose. Games like that are always fun to play."
Fisher said he believes the Lakers' size advantage has been the key to their dominance of the Warriors.
"That was evident tonight when you've got a force in the middle you can get the ball to and make their defense collapse," he said. "I think Andrew Bynum was the difference in the game."
Bynum shot 9-for-14 while playing 28 minutes.
"They're a smaller team. They have a bunch of matchup problems," he said. "Things went well for me tonight. I got the ball down low and they went down for me."
The Warriors scored 12 consecutive points for a 71-68 lead early in the third quarter. They led 73-70 when 3-pointers by Bryant and Fisher triggered an 18-4 run that put the Lakers ahead 88-77. They led the rest of the way.
"We were beaten, outplayed, and they deserved to win," Warriors coach Don Nelson said. "They certainly played better than we did."
Neither team led by more than seven points in the first half, which ended with the Lakers on top 60-59 thanks to an 11-3 run to finish the second quarter. Bryant shot 3-for-13 for eight points in the half.
Bryant and Odom, the Lakers' leading scorers, combined to shoot 1-for-8 and score five points in the first quarter, but their teammates went 11-for-16 and the teams were tied at 31. Davis scored 15 for the Warriors.
|Mickael Pietrus' unusual defensive technique helps limit Kobe Bryant to eight points in the first half. (AP)|
|Golden State (11-9)||31||28||27||27||113|
|L.A. Lakers (12-8) «||31||29||32||31||123|
|GS:B. Davis 20 Pts
GS:B. Davis 8 Reb
GS:B. Davis 7 Ast
|LAL:K. Bryant 28 Pts
LAL:A. Bynum 11 Reb
LAL:K. Bryant 8 Ast
|Players of the Game|
|Los Angeles||Golden State|
|S. Jackson, SG||38||8-21||1-1||6||4||4||18|
|B. Davis, PG||37||7-17||3-3||8||7||4||20|
|M. Ellis, SG||32||5-9||3-4||5||5||2||13|
|M. Barnes, SF||19||4-5||0-0||2||2||1||8|
|A. Biedrins, C||13||2-4||3-4||6||0||3||7|
|K. Azubuike, SF||29||4-8||1-2||8||3||1||9|
|T. Hudson, PG||20||2-7||2-2||4||2||1||6|
|M. Pietrus, SF||17||5-9||2-2||3||2||2||14|
|A. Harrington, PF||16||2-6||1-2||1||0||3||6|
|D. Mbenga, C||14||3-3||1-2||4||0||5||7|
|A. Croshere, PF||4||2-3||0-0||0||0||0||5|
|P. O'Bryant, C||1||0-2||0-0||0||0||0||0|
|K. Perovic, C||Did Not Play|
|M. Belinelli, SG||Did Not Play|
|B. Wright, SF||Did Not Play|
|Complete Box Score|
|L. Odom, PF||39||5-6||3-4||10||6||1||14|
|K. Bryant, SG||38||9-23||8-10||6||8||2||28|
|V. Radmanovic, SF||31||6-11||1-1||1||1||4||14|
|D. Fisher, PG||28||5-9||3-3||2||2||2||15|
|A. Bynum, C||28||9-14||2-3||11||3||0||20|
|T. Ariza, SF||26||2-3||7-10||4||2||3||11|
|R. Turiaf, PF||20||3-4||4-5||1||2||4||10|
|J. Farmar, PG||18||3-6||0-0||2||2||4||8|
|S. Vujacic, SG||7||0-3||1-2||0||0||0||1|
|J. Crittenton, PG||4||1-2||0-0||1||1||1||2|
|C. Mihm, C||Did Not Play|
|K. Brown, C||Did Not Play|
|L. Walton, SF||Did Not Play|
|C. Karl, SG||Did Not Play|
|Complete Box Score|