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Los Angeles at San Antonio

Kobe comes through late, leads Lakers to victory in San Antonio

CBSSports.com wire reports
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SAN ANTONIO -- Kobe Bryant kept his shooting hand raised high, smiling while backpedaling to halfcourt after burying the San Antonio Spurs.

A seventh consecutive victory for the Los Angeles Lakers looked that easy.

Western Conference
SeedTeamGB
1o-Dallas-
2x-Denver-
3x-Golden State-
4x-Houston-
5y-L.A. Clippers-
6x-L.A. Lakers-
7x-Memphis-
8o-Minnesota-
Still alive
10z-Oklahoma City-
14y-San Antonio-
Eliminated
9o-New Orleans-
11o-Phoenix-
12o-Portland-
13o-Sacramento-
15o-Utah-
Complete Playoff Race

Bryant scored 24 points and hit a pair of backbreaking 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, helping the Lakers preserve their second-longest winning streak of the season with a 92-83 victory on Wednesday night.

"It was a playoff-type of atmosphere," Bryant said. "We were down in the first half. We had to battle back. It was a good win for us to start this road trip."

He means a five-game road trip, the longest left for the Lakers before the playoffs. With only 11 games remaining, the West-leading Lakers have a six-game cushion on Dallas.

The Spurs, meanwhile, are seventh in the West, a half-game ahead of Portland.

San Antonio might have blown a chance to get more breathing room.

Manu Ginobili scored 24 points and George Hill had 21, but the Spurs got little help from anyone else. San Antonio had no other scorers in double figures, and got a dreadful 2-of-11 night from Tim Duncan, who finished with six points and 12 rebounds.

The Spurs led for much of the game, but after Bryant took over in the fourth, San Antonio wilted late against the best in the West. And the worst isn't behind the Spurs: Next up is LeBron James and East-leading Cleveland on Friday.

"You always want to beat the best teams, but at this point in the season, I just want to beat the team in front of me," Ginobili said. "If it's the worst or the best, we just need to win."

The Spurs shot 31 percent in the fourth quarter. Bryant was 4 for 5 and had 10 points in the period, including his two 3-pointers that put away San Antonio.

Bryant pulled up over Roger Mason Jr. to hit the first one, putting the Lakers up 80-74 with 5:41 left. Two minutes later, another one from the corner stretched the lead to 11.

Lamar Odom had 19 points and 13 rebounds, and Ron Artest scored 16 points. Paul Gasol had 10 points and 12 rebounds.

"I think we understand that we're at the point of the year where we're really tuned in and focused about what we have to do out there," Gasol said. "Defensively, in that good mindset so it carries on to the offensive end."

The Lakers left for the road trip well-rested. Having played only twice in the previous seven days, Lakers coach Phil Jackson said before the game he expected some lively legs.

Sure enough, the Lakers had all the stamina at the end.

The Lakers ran away from a game in which they mostly trailed. Not until Shannon Brown hit a 3-pointer with 1:30 left in the third quarter did the Lakers take the lead for the first time since the first quarter.

Hill got off to a blazing start and had 20 at halftime, but missed all three of his shots in the second half and mustered only one more point. It blemished what began as another promising game for Hill, who made his 10th start in place of Tony Parker.

"We played him a little better on the screen-and-rolls," Jackson said. "We were more prepared in the second half."

The Spurs fell to 6-4 without Parker, who isn't expected to return from a broken hand until the playoffs.

Notes

  • Lakers C Andrew Bynum told the team Thursday his injured Achilles' tendon is feeling better, but Jackson said he isn't counting on Bynum coming back before the road trip ends March 31. Bynum strained the tendon last week and was expected to miss two weeks.
  • Bryant surpassed Alex English to move into 12th on the NBA's career scoring list.
Copyright 2014 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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Kobe Bryant likes the look of one of his two back-breaking 3-pointers in the fourth quarter.  (AP)
Kobe Bryant likes the look of one of his two back-breaking 3-pointers in the fourth quarter. (AP)

Scoreboard
L.A. Lakers (53-18) «2219302192
San Antonio (42-28) 2523181783
LAL:K. Bryant 24 Pts
LAL:L. Odom 13 Reb
LAL:K. Bryant 6 Ast
SA:M. Ginobili 24 Pts
SA:T. Duncan 12 Reb
SA:T. Duncan 6 Ast
Players of the Game
San AntonioLos Angeles

M. Ginobili

L. Odom
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
244219132
Los Angeles
P. Gasol, PF434-112-4122310
K. Bryant, SG4211-160-046124
L. Odom, PF428-182-2132519
R. Artest, SF375-115-983316
D. Fisher, PG221-50-01133
J. Farmar, PG264-80-010311
S. Brown, PG143-50-03008
J. Powell, PF60-40-02120
D. Mbenga, C50-11-20011
S. Vujacic, SG30-00-00000
L. Walton, SFDid Not Play
A. Bynum, CDid Not Play
A. Morrison, SFDid Not Play
Totals 36-7910-1744152192
 45.6%58.8% 
San Antonio
G. Hill, PG428-143-444321
T. Duncan, PF372-112-212626
M. Ginobili, SG338-184-542224
R. Jefferson, SF283-90-16036
A. McDyess, PF241-30-06212
M. Bonner, PF243-90-02038
R. Mason Jr., SG223-93-34019
K. Bogans, SG170-10-01110
D. Blair, PF102-51-26145
I. Mahinmi, C10-00-00000
M. Hairston, SG10-00-00000
G. Temple, PG10-12-20002
T. Parker, PGDid Not Play
C. Jerrells, PGDid Not Play
Totals 30-8015-1945162083
 37.5%78.9% 
Other Games
Orl 84 Final
Atl 86
Den 99 Final
Bos 113
Wash 82 Final
Ind 99
Utah 113 Final
Tor 87
Min 95 Final
Char 108
Sac 79 Final
NJ 93
Cle 105 Final
NO 92
Phi 101 Final
Mil 86
Hou 104 Final
OKC 122
Mem 110 Final
GS 128