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 Lakers come from behind to beat Warriors

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PostSubject: Lakers come from behind to beat Warriors   Thu Feb 19, 2009 7:02 pm

OAKLAND, Calif.(AP) Trevor Ariza is just the
latest in a long layup line of opposing players who love playing at the
Golden State Warriors' breakneck tempo.Kobe Bryant scored 30
points, Pau Gasol added 24 points and 13 rebounds, and the Los Angeles
Lakers roared from behind in the final 5 minutes for their 13th victory
in 15 games, 129-121 over the Warriors on Wednesday night.Los
Angeles trailed late into the fourth quarter against the improving
Warriors, but the Lakers made a dynamite 17-3 run beginning with
back-to-back 3-pointers by Ariza, who finished with 17 points.The
lanky swingman might not have had the courage to take those big shots
earlier in his career, but his confidence is growing along with the
Lakers' NBA-best 44-10 record."I just hit open shots, that was
it,'' Ariza said. "The ball came to me, and I had nothing but time, so
it was like playing in practice. I'm more mature now, and my teammates
and coaches have definitely given me a bunch of confidence.''Lamar
Odom scored 22 points for the Lakers, who have won back-to-back games
following the All-Star break to maintain their overall league lead.
After holding the Atlanta Hawks to 83 points one night earlier, the
Lakers adeptly transitioned to the Warriors' all-offense style, showing
the versatility that's usually necessary in an extended playoff run.Bryant
was the only Los Angeles regular who had an unimpressive shooting
night, going 9-of-22, but the reigning league MVP had nine assists and
also scored 12 points in the fourth quarter, taking charge with plenty
of energy in reserve after playing less than 29 minutes against Atlanta."We
kept our poise tonight,'' Bryant said. "It's always fun to come up
here, especially because the Warriors are always going to play hard.''Stephen Jackson and Corey Maggette scored 24 points apiece for the Warriors, who lost for just the second time in six games.Jamal
Crawford scored 23 points and Monta Ellis had 15 as Golden State's
season-best three-game winning streak ended in its first game since
last Thursday. The improving Warriors took another elite team down to
the wire, but Los Angeles has won all three of its meetings with Golden
State this season, scoring at least 114 points in each game."We
couldn't play much better, for most of the game, than we did,''
Warriors coach Don Nelson said. "We had some missed shots and untimely
turnovers at the wrong time ... but we played pretty well against what
I think is the best team in the league.''Jackson felt extra
fatigue while guarding Bryant in his first game back from the Warriors'
long break, and he lightly criticized Nelson's playing rotation."I
could have came out when (Bryant) came out,'' Jackson said. "He got a
lot of rest. I think the thing to do was take me out when he came out
the game. For the most part, I played great D on him, made him take a
lot of tough shots. I just think the play of the other guys really
helped them win the game.''Before the game, Los Angeles traded
center Chris Mihm to Memphis for a future draft pick, trimming about $2
million off their payroll and luxury tax obligations. Mihm, who will be
a free agent this summer, couldn't crack coach Phil Jackson's rotation
even after fellow 7-footer Andrew Bynum tore a ligament in his knee
Jan. 31.Josh Powell thrived with the extra playing time created
by Mihm's departure, with the former Golden State forward getting 16
points and seven rebounds in 25 minutes."We just shared the ball, and every time you play that way, it's rewarding,'' Powell said.Golden
State's Marco Belinelli returned from a 15-game absence with a sprained
ankle with six points, all on 3-pointers, and four assists. The Italian
guard was playing the best basketball of his short career when he was
hurt last month in a game against Indiana.But Warriors swingman
Kelenna Azubuike sat out with a bruised knee, and Andris Biedrins
hasn't returned from his sprained right ankle.Crawford scored 14
points in the first quarter without missing a 3-pointer or a free
throw, and Golden State never trailed during the middle two quarters.
Bryant tied it for the Lakers with 37 seconds left in the third when he
dramatically blocked Maggette's shot and threw a long pass to Powell
for a dunk.Los Angeles finally reclaimed the lead in the opening
minutes of the fourth quarter, but relinquished it again until Ariza's
second 3-pointer with 3:45 to play.Notes: Bryant missed free
throws after two Golden State technical fouls. ... Golden State F
Anthony Randolph scored 14 points and tied his career high with 12
rebounds. ... The Warriors had their seventh sellout crowd of the
season at Oracle Arena, drawing 20,007 fans.

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