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 Gasol, Kobe help Lakers beat Raptors

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PostSubject: Gasol, Kobe help Lakers beat Raptors   Mon Dec 01, 2008 7:59 pm

LOS ANGELES(AP) Kobe Bryant spent the fourth
quarter on the Los Angeles Lakers' bench, content in watching the
second unit blow the game open. The last thing on his mind was Wilt
Chamberlain.This kind of trend - and attitude - has the defending Western Conference champions off to an NBA-best 14-1 record.Pau
Gasol had 24 points and nine rebounds, Bryant had 23 points and a
season-high seven assists, and the Lakers beat the Toronto Raptors
112-99 on Sunday night for their seventh straight victory."I
think 10-5 would have been great with us, but we've been playing well
enough to get that momentum,'' coach Phil Jackson said. "Now we're just
playing on momentum most of the time."It's human nature to get
lackadaisical and for us to believe that things are going to go right
for us because they have in the past. But we are only successful in the
moment. And you have to prove it again and again, especially in
sports.''Bryant came 15 points shy of reaching the 22,000-point
mark faster than any other player. Had he done it, he would have beaten
Chamberlain to that total by one day, according to the Elias Sports
Bureau."To be honest, I don't follow anything of that sort. I
just go out there and do what I do,'' Bryant said. "I don't care about
that stuff. You guys got me all wrong. I just play. I play hard, and I
play the same way all the time. I never concern myself with milestones
or anything like that.''Jackson didn't sound so sure."Somebody
put in the paper that Kobe needed 38 points tonight to be the youngest
player to ever reach that particular thing. I mean, that was like
putting a carrot in front of a donkey,'' Jackson said about an hour
before tipoff. "That could really mess up the game for us tonight.''Not
to worry. Bryant spent the third quarter facilitating in the Lakers'
offensive scheme after leading them to a 61-51 halftime lead with 21
points. He was 1-for-3 with two points in his 11 minutes on the floor
in the third, then became a spectator while Andrew Bynum and the
Lakers' reserves went on a 17-4 run that increased a six-point lead to
107-88 with 5:50 to play.Bryant was the fastest to 12,000 and
every level up to 20,000. The two-time scoring champion and 10-time
All-Star was the second-fastest to 21,000. He averaged 48.5 points in
the Lakers' previous four home games against Toronto, including a
staggering 81 on Jan. 22, 2006 - the second-highest total in league
history.One reason Bryant has been so receptive to Jackson's
balanced-scoring mantra this season could be that the 13-year veteran
no longer is missing a scoring title or an MVP trophy from his
voluminous resume."Kobe does have agendas at times that will
come out,'' Jackson said. "A couple of years ago when things didn't go
well, he went on that tear. So he could get into that. It's a long
season, but I hope he stays focused on what the overall plan is.''Bynum
scored seven of his 18 points during the pivotal rally, including an
alley-oop dunk off a pass from Sasha Vujacic, and another alley-oop
play in which he guided in Jordan Farmar's lob above the rim. Bynum
shot 8-for-13 and grabbed 10 rebounds despite a bone spur in his right
foot, which he's had since landing on Vince Carter's foot during last
Tuesday's game against New Jersey."There's going to be a period
of adjustment he has to go through,'' Jackson said. "He's going to have
to find a way to get through this. And if he does, then we're going to
feel pretty good until the next incident happens - and then we'll have
to deal with that at that time. But unless this moves around in his
foot, we're in pretty good shape if he can adjust his play to
accommodate that.''Anthony Parker led Toronto with 19 points and
five teammates also scored in double figures. Jermaine O'Neal missed
his third straight because of a sprained left ankle. The Lakers held
leading scorer Chris Bosh to 12 points on 4-for-13 shooting."I
know that good teams are not going to let me just get off
offensively,'' said Bosh, who came in averaging a career-best 27.7
points. "They did a great job of trapping and their rotations were
really good. I didn't get too many good shots all night and I made some
costly turnovers.''The Lakers beat the Raptors for the seventh
straight time at home. Toronto has never won a season series from the
Lakers during its 13 seasons in the league and trail the all-time
series 20-5."The first quarter was a little bit of a slow start
for us defensively, but then we were able to dig our heels in and get
used to the rhythm,'' Bryant said. "We tried to corral Bosh a little
bit. They had some double-digit deficits and the rhythm of the game was
kind of getting away from them a little bit. They were looking to take
some 3-point shots in transition and kind of got away from going to him
a little bit.''Notes: Jordan Farmar, who turned 22 years old on
Sunday, hit a 3-pointer during a 13-1 run that extended a one-point
Lakers lead to 51-38 with 4:57 left in the half. ... Toronto point
guard Jose Calderon, who came in 40-for-40 on free throws, didn't go to
the line until 2:40 remained in the second quarter, after the Lakers
got a technical foul for a defensive 3-second violation. He was 3-for-3
from the line, finishing with 12 points, 12 assists and six rebounds.
... The Lakers, whose eight fouls in Friday night's 114-107 win over
Dallas were the fewest since the franchise moved from Minneapolis to
Los Angeles for the 1960-61 season, matched that total in the first
half and finished with 18.

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