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 Bryant leads Lakers past Knicks 116-114

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PostSubject: Bryant leads Lakers past Knicks 116-114   Thu Dec 18, 2008 1:17 am

LOS ANGELES(AP) Pau Gasol was too ill to
play, so Lamar Odom knew he needed to suck it up and go out there, no
matter how lousy he felt.The versatile 6-foot-10 forward gave the Los Angeles Lakers just what they needed.Odom,
making his first start of the season in place of Gasol, had season-best
totals of 17 points and 12 rebounds in a season-high 38 minutes, and
the Lakers rallied from a 15-point halftime deficit to beat the New
York Knicks 116-114 on Tuesday night.Kobe Bryant scored nine of
his 28 points in the last 7 1/2 minutes, and Trevor Ariza made the
go-ahead basket with 1:03 remaining to give the Lakers (21-3) their
14th win in 16 games."I think I have the flu. Who knows?'' Odom
said afterward. "Pau was out and I kind of willed myself to do it.
Football mentality.''Gasol, averaging 18.0 points and 9.3 rebounds, came to Staples Center for the game, but was sent home because of strep throat."Luke (Walton) was sick, Trevor and Josh (Powell), Pau. ... Like kindergarten,'' Odom said.Nate
Robinson, who scored a season-high 33 points, had a chance to give New
York a late lead, but missed a short jumper with about 12 seconds to
play. Two foul shots by Derek Fisher with 6.4 seconds left made it
115-112, and the Lakers then intentionally fouled Robinson, who made
two free throws with 3.8 seconds remaining, making it a one-point game.Fisher
made another foul shot with 2.7 seconds left, and Chris Duhon missed a
desperation shot from the backcourt as time expired."We
remembered all the battles we've been through. We didn't panic,'' said
Bryant, who also had seven rebounds, six assists and four steals. "Just
to be able to stay calm and push our way through, it was a good game
for us to have.''Fisher had 15 points and a season-high seven
assists; Walton scored a season-high 14 points, Ariza added 13, and
Andrew Bynum had 13 points, 11 rebounds and four blocked shots."It
was a challenging game,'' Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "I think we
anticipated that as a staff, but I don't think our players anticipated
that kind of ballgame.''The Lakers outrebounded the Knicks 49-38
and shot 47.4 percent to New York's 45.7 percent. The Knicks made 13 of
31 3-pointers to 6-of-23 for Los Angeles and went 27-of-28 from the
foul line."We worry about the losses, but I think we're playing
better,'' said Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni, whose team finished its
five-game road trip with a 2-3 record. "We said that this was going to
be a measuring stick. We need to learn how to finish games and play a
little better together and cut down on some bad shots. But we'll get
there.''David Lee had 18 points and 14 rebounds, and Quentin
Richardson also scored 18 points for New York. Tim Thomas scored 13
points, Duhon had 12 points and 11 assists, and Al Harrington also
scored 12 for the Knicks (11-14), who played without backup forward
Jared Jeffries."I take my hat off to our team tonight,''
Robinson said. "We played well. Will (Chandler) did a phenomenal job on
Kobe. Our team's getting better and better each day, and that's
something that we can look forward to. The team is just buckling down,
playing great defense and getting stops. We're going to score a lot of
points, but it's all about stopping other teams.''Bryant's
19-foot jumper with 1:38 left gave the Lakers a 111-109 lead, but
Robinson made a 3-pointer 20 seconds later to give the Knicks a
one-point lead. Ariza then scored off a pass from Odom, putting Los
Angeles on top for good.Bryant scored seven points during an
11-2 run that put the Lakers on top 103-101 with 5:18 remaining - their
first lead since the first quarter. Neither team led by more than four
points after that.The Lakers outscored the Knicks 11-2 to begin
the second half, trimming New York's lead to 67-61, and scored seven
straight points later in the third quarter to draw within three. It was
88-84 entering the final period.A night after going 5-of-37 from
3-point range in a 111-103 loss at Phoenix, the Knicks shot 11-of-23
from beyond the arc in the first half in taking a 65-50 lead. The
sellout crowd of 18,997 at Staples Center booed the Lakers off the
court at halftime.The Knicks went 2-of-8 from 3-point range after halftime."We made an adjustment in the second half,'' Ariza said.Asked to elaborate, Ariza smiled and said: "Don't give up so many 3's.''Notes:
Banished Knicks guard Stephon Marbury attended the game as a fan and
spoke briefly with reporters at halftime. "I didn't create this, this
is all their doing,'' he said of his status as a non-player with the
Knicks despite being under contract. "I'm still earning my check by
doing nothing. I'm staying in shape. My mind-set is to enjoy my life.''
Marbury hasn't played this season and has been told to stay away from
the team while the sides are working on a buyout. He is under contract
for about $21 million. ... The Lakers entered the game as the NBA's
highest-scoring team with a 108.0-point average, and the Knicks were
third at 104.9 points. So it was no surprise to see such a high-scoring
game between the teams. ... The Lakers are 14-1 at home this season,
including 11 straight victories since a 106-95 loss to Detroit. ... The
Lakers are 7-2 against Eastern Conference opponents and the Knicks are
5-5 against the West.

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