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Below is a running diary of L.A.’s Wednesday evening road contest at Sacramento, the Lakers looking to secure the West’s No. 2 seed with a win, along with some comments drawn from our @LakersReporter Twitter account, and a few more details in case you missed any of the action:

Lakers: Fisher, Bryant, Artest, Odom* and Gasol
Kings: T. Evans, M. Thornton, F. Garcia, S. Dalembert, D. Cousins
*Odom was starting for Andrew Bynum, who suffered a hyperextended knee/bone bruise in the second quarter of L.A.’s Tuesday win over San Antonio. The good news was L.A.’s 7-foot center was expected to be ready for the playoffs, avoiding more serious damage.

6:11 L.A. hit 6-of-11 shots as all but Ron Artest scored in the first six minutes, but the D wasn’t as good, the Kings getting some good looks inside and out in the absence of Bynum. Nonetheless, it was a focused effort from the Lakers, who knew it needed to win to secure home court advantage over the Mavericks in Round 1. Dallas had beaten New Orleans earlier, meaning a win would bring either the Hornets or Memphis (if the Grizz beat the Clippers) to STAPLES Center this weekend.

1:48 Two free throws from Odom got him to seven points, matching Bryant’s early output and putting L.A. up 27-23. Before the game, Odom said that Bynum’s injury scare made him re-focus a bit, made him take a step back and value the time he’d spent on the court. It’s the kind of thing, he said, that could help him and his teammates mentally heading into the playoffs.

0:00 Bryant couldn’t get a last-second shot off through a triple team in transition, but the Lakers finished the quarter off well, opening a 31-26 lead by getting at least four points from all five starters. Bryant’s nine points led, the way, while Gasol added six points, four boards and two assists.

12:00 With Steve Blake out with the chicken pox and Matt Barnes back in L.A. working on his sore knee, in came D-League call up Trey Johnson, who hadn’t been with the Lakers since the preseason. In the next few minutes, Johnson would team with Brown, Walton, Artest and Gasol to push L.A.’s lead to 10 at 40-30, when "pushing the lead” hadn’t been a common phrase associated with the bench in a while.

5:36 The terrific stretch from a group that hadn’t played together once, even in practice, continued as Johnson hit his first two jumpers as a Laker, Gasol converted a few tough drives and Walton tossed an alley-oop for Brown that put L.A. up 48-34. When Sacramento scored four straight out of a time out, however, Phil Jackson looked over his right shoulder and said: "Kobe.” No. 24 to the scorer’s table.

0:38.1 The Kings went on an 8-0 run as Jackson tried to get Gasol his first rest of the game, cutting L.A.’s 16-point lead in half. Evans then matched Bryant’s jumper, the Lakers having to settle for a 56-48 lead at the break. L.A. shot 51.2 percent from the field and made all 12 of its free throws, notching 13 assists on 21 field goals, Gasol and Bryant combining for 24 points and nine boards.

9:39 Back to business for L.A. out of the break, with Fisher’s reverse layup opening a 13-point lead at 63-50. Fisher and Artest both had eight points, looking to join Bryant (13), Odom and Gasol (11 each) in double figures.

6:43 Sometimes one wonders if teams watch tape on Fisher … apparently Tyreke Evans does not, as he ran the obviously-looking-to-set-up-for-a-charge Fisher over on a 3-on-1 break. How many times have we seen Fisher quell an odd-man break with a drawn charge this season alone? Alas, it was an important play at that juncture, the KIngs having crept within seven points once again.

2:28 Not one, or two, but three head fakes later, Bryant snuck the ball around three Kings bigs to put L.A. up 80-66. He’d been terrific all evening, converting 9-of-13 field goals (69 percent) for his 23 points. Fellow stars Gasol (16 points, nine boards, four assists) and Odom (15 points, five boards, five assists) had been similarly effective, with a first round matchup with New Orleans (Memphis was getting destroyed by the Clippers) looking ever more likely.

9:44 With a comfortable lead, Gasol, Fisher, Bryant and Artest watched from the bench as Odom’s short hook in the lane made it 93-71.

7:41 Or not? The Kings rolled off 10 straight points, and two came off L.A.’s total as Joe Smith’s buzzer beater was discounted, the Lakers suddenly down to 10 at 91-81. Gasol had already returned to the game, but perhaps we hadn’t seen the last of Bryant, either.

2:32 Despite L.A.’s whole starting line up returning, the Kings were flying right past ‘em, rolling off another 8-0 run to cut the lead to just two at 95-93. The Lakers looked exhausted, with Gasol and Odom in particular dragging up and down the floor on their final back-to-back of the regular season. In Bynum’s absence, both played big minutes to beat the Spurs on Tuesday, and were up to 40 and 37, respectively, in this one.

0:09.6 Uh, wow. The entirely improbable run for Sacramento, perhaps playing in their last game ever in the state’s capitol, continued as a Thompson dunk made it 97-95. L.A. got one point back on a defensive three seconds free throw, but Bryant missed a fifth straight field goal with 15 seconds left, forcing L.A. to tie. Udrih made both free throws, putting the Kings up three.

0:04.6 Uh, (much bigger) wow. Bryant, who’d made only 1-of-6 shots in the fourth, pulled up and drained a game-tying three. How ’bout that for some drama? Then, after a time out, the Kings looking for a buzzer-beater, Bryant swatted Thornton’s game-winning attempt, bringing us to overtime.

2:45 A pretty pass from Bryant, who’d attracted three defenders, got Odom a dunk and L.A. a three-point lead. He’d then pull up for a ridiculous jumper with Thornton in his face, which the refs reviewed before calling it a two.

0:47.5 Well, that should do it. An and-1 layup in transition from Odom made it a 111-103 lead. L.A.’s D, after going away almost completely in the fourth quarter, returned in force as Sacramento struggled to get good looks. The final: 116-108. Your numbers from a fantastic finish to a terrific NBA season:

2 L.A.’s seed for the playoffs, thanks to their two straight wins to end the season, pitting them against the New Orleans Hornets in Round 1 and ensuring home court advantage in a potential second-round meeting with No. 3 seed Dallas.

7 Turnovers for the Lakers in the fourth quarter after just five in the previous three, their legs starting to fatigue as Sacramento mounted a furious comeback.

13 Rebounds for Pau Gasol, who tired late while playing over 40 minutes for the second consecutive night in the absence of Andrew Bynum. He added 18 points and six assists, while Lamar Odom pitched in 22 points, eight boards and seven assists.

18 More points for the Kings than the Lakers in the fourth quarter, a 29-11 margin that turned a blowout into overtime.

36 Points for Kobe Bryant, who made 10 of his first 14 shots, then missed all but one of six before dropping the game-tying three-pointer with four seconds left. He’d add five points in OT, plus nine boards and six assists.

Views: 564 | Added by: KobeBryant | Date: 27/April/2011 | Comments (1)

Below is a running diary of L.A.’s Tuesday evening home contest against San Antonio, the Lakers looking to snap a 5-game losing streak with some comments drawn from our @LakersReporter Twitter account, and a few more details in case you missed any of the action:

Lakers: Fisher, Bryant, Artest, Gasol and Bynum
Spurs: G. Hill, G. Neal, R. Jefferson, D. Blair, T. Splitter
The Spurs, with the No. 1 seed locked up, chose to sit Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan.

3:39 Without their best three players on the floor and L.A. focusing on defense, San Antonio predictably had trouble generating good looks on offense, making just 5-of-16 shots as the Lakers opened a 21-11 lead on Andrew Bynum’s layup. Bryant was the early aggressor on O, making 3-of-6 field goals for nine points.

1:44 Few in the league are as good at drawing charges as Derek Fisher, who did just that to squash a 3-on-1 Spurs fast break, L.A. holding an 8-point lead at 23-15. Fisher, however, would not still be in the game — Bryant had been subbed out two minutes earlier — were Steve Blake not out indefinitely with the chicken pox. Instead, Fisher played all 12 minutes in the quarter for the first time this season. L.A.’s lead was 24-15 at the break, their D holding S.A.’s subs plus Richard Jefferson and DeJuan Blair to just 28.6 percent shooting.

8:11Uh oh. While running back on defense, Andrew Bynum stepped on DeJuan Blair’s foot and fell awkwardly, staying on the ground for a good 30 seconds while grabbing his surgically-repaired-in-the-offseason right knee. We couldn’t be sure whether Bynum tweaked something, hurt something or was just frightened, but it was at least a good sign that he got up and walked off under his own power. We’d have to wait and see…

5:49 While everyone in the building wondered about Bynum, L.A. put together a 9-0 run to open a 33-26 lead, capped by a jumper from Luke Walton, who would be asked to play a greater role in the absence of Blake and Brown. Meanwhile, we found out that Bynum hyperextended his right knee, would not return or travel to Sacramento in favor of an MRI in the morning.

0:00 The Bynum scenario ate away at L.A.’s focus, which San Antonio capitalized upon to come from 10 down to tie the game at 45 into halftime. Bryant had 16 and Gasol 11 points, the Lakers trying to pick themselves up off the mental floor.

9:08 They’d do just that to start the third quarter, with Bryant and Odom (of course stepping into Bynum’s slot in the starting line up) combining for nine points in a 9-2 burst that created a 54-47 lead. Clearly the Lakers would need a great deal from Odom were Bynum to miss any extended time, which he’d always been able to provide in the past, but we won’t start speculating about all that just yet.

6:27 Remember how Bryant has his 14th technical of the year rescinded by the NBA? Well, since then, he’s gotten two legit ones in the last two games, bringing his total to 15, one away from a mandatory suspension, by arguing after being called for an offensive foul. Meanwhile, San Antonio was hanging tough, down 62-60 after a Splitter hook shot.

53.1 Shannon Brown had been struggling for weeks to find himself on offense, so it was good for him to see the ball go through the net off glass late in the third to put LAL up eight points. He’d missed all but one of his first six attempts, and knew that his team needed better from him. The Spurs would pull a hoop back to trail 70-64 heading into the final quarter.

10:03 Rotations all out of whack, Phil Jackson tried to get a few minutes out of Theo Ratliff for just the second time since Nov. 9 (he played for two minutes in a blowout of Dallas in late March when Dallas selected him to shoot FT’s for an ejected Steve Blake), San Antonio scored the first four points of the quarter to get within one. A Brown J and two Kobe FT’s put the lead back to five, however.

5:39 Hanging tough, the Spurs tied it up with a Matt Bonner three, before Odom’s and-1 layup got him to 15 points in the second half and put L.A. up 86-83. Nothing easy at STAPLES on this evening, with Jack Nicholson even jumping up irate after a no-call on a Gasol play.

1:36 Odom, terrific all half, finished off in style with an and-1 layup, then a three-pointer that put the Lakers up 102-88. Of his 23 points, 21 came in the second half, to go with seven boards and four dimes. Meanwhile, Bryant checked out of the game without a smile, himself posting 27 points with six boards and four assists. The game would end at 102-93, L.A. just hoping for good news on Bynum after the young center’s MRI in the morning.

9 Healthy bodies L.A. will take to Sacramento with Bynum (knee), Barnes (knee) and Blake (chicken pox) all staying in Los Angeles: Fisher, Bryant, Artest, Gasol, Odom, Brown, Walton, Smith and Ratliff.

13 Minute played by Bynum before he hyperextended his right knee, a cloud that hung over L.A. for the rest of the game.

17 Rebounds for Pau Gasol, who also played solid defense in Bynum’s absence.

21 Second half points for Lamar Odom, who had only two at the half, but scored nine in both the third and fourth quarters.

35.2 Spurs shooting percentage in a game where they rested their three best offensive players in Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker, the No. 1 seed locked up a bit ago.

Views: 480 | Added by: KobeBryant | Date: 27/April/2011 | Comments (1)