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 Lakers improve to 17-2 with 105-92 win over Bucks

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PostSubject: Lakers improve to 17-2 with 105-92 win over Bucks   Mon Dec 08, 2008 7:17 pm

LOS ANGELES (AP) A stubborn defense by the
Los Angeles Lakers compensated for a disjointed offense that committed
25 turnovers. The cold-shooting Milwaukee Bucks weren't able to
capitalize much at the other end, though.Kobe Bryant had 20
points and a season-high eight assists, Derek Fisher added 19 points,
and the Lakers coasted to a 105-92 victory on Sunday that improved
their record to 17-2 and equaled the best 19-game start in the
franchise's 61-year history."It was an awkward game tonight,''
coach Phil Jackson said. "Offensively we were very ragged. Our timing
was off and we tried to do too much. A lot of guys tried to do things
that we shouldn't have been doing and forced the action. We didn't
settle in and run our offense. We tried to do too many things off the
dribble. They packed it in and caused turnovers, and that was one of
the reasons I was unhappy about our offense.''Los Angeles also
started the 1985-86 season 17-2. This was the sixth time the team has
won 17 of its first 20 games, including the championship seasons of
1971-72 and 2001-02.Andrew Bynum, who had a career-high 17
rebounds against the Bucks last Jan. 11, grabbed 14 boards and scored
14 points. Pau Gasol had 12 points, nine rebounds and five assists.Every Lakers starter scored in double digits - something none of Milwaukee's starters did.Joe
Alexander had a team-high 15 points for the Bucks, who have lost 15 of
their last 17 against the Lakers in Los Angeles. Beleaguered coach
Scott Skiles got only 18 points from his staring five, and the team
shot a collective 38 percent from the field."We weren't ready,''
said Skiles, whose team has shot under 50 percent from the field in all
22 games this season. "We came out flat and missed a lot of open shots."We
still had a game in front of us, but we just rolled over. We came out
in the third quarter and seemed disinterested, so I gave other guys an
opportunity to see of they could get us back into it.''Los
Angeles never trailed, increasing a 12-point halftime lead to 59-35
with 16-4 run capped by Gasol's layup with 8:08 left in the third
quarter."We cut down on mistakes, defensively,'' Bryant said.
"We played defense the way we know how to, and I think it was a step in
the right direction.''The reigning MVP, who shot 6-for-13, sat
out the final 4 minutes of the third quarter after getting treated for
a cut just above his left wrist. Bryant started the fourth and was
removed with 7:41 to play and Los Angeles up by 19."He didn't
have a complete run when he went out with the blood emission rule,''
Jackson said. "So I wanted him to have another opportunity to go in the
game, finish that run off and try to settle us down.''After
Bryant went to the bench for good, the Bucks went on a 15-4 run that
sliced a 23-point deficit to 95-83 with 2:47 left. But by then it was
too late against a young Lakers bench that nearly blew a 20-point
fourth-quarter lead in Friday's 106-104 win at Washington."Sometimes
four guys off the bench are too many guys on the floor,'' Jackson
acknowledged. "We're trying to monitor that activity so we don't overdo
it.''Richard Jefferson, who averaged 22.2 points over his
previous six games, scored three during a foul-plagued 9 minutes. He
went to the bench after picking up his second foul with 6:36 left in
the first quarter, then got his third with 9:22 left in the second
quarter - just 40 seconds after reporting in. His fourth came with 8:39
left in the third and Milwaukee trailing by 21.Compounding the
Bucks' woes was the loss of forward Malik Allen, who left for good with
8:36 left in the first quarter because of a rib injury. It occurred
when he lost his balance trying to knock down a pass near the Lakers'
basket and crashed to the floor.Milwaukee missed its first seven
shots. Shooting guard Michael Redd missed his first four and was
1-for-6 with two points in 20 minutes. He averaged 24.0 points in the
two meetings with the Lakers last season, and scored 45 against them at
Staples Center two seasons ago."Our defense was exceptional for
the first three quarters,'' Jackson said. "We kept them out of their
offensive sets and kept them from getting rhythm for their rhythm
shooters. We kept Jefferson and Redd really quiet.''Milwaukee
center Andrew Bogut, playing his third game after missing the previous
three with a bruised left knee, had nine rebounds, six points and five
assists.Notes: The Lakers and Cleveland Cavaliers are the only
teams to use the same starting lineup in every game so far, according
to the Elias Sports Bureau. Last season, due to injuries and the
acquisition of Gasol, the Lakers used 16 different lineups - with only
Bryant and Fisher starting every game. ... No one has scored more than
25 points for the Bucks in any of their last 12 games, and only three
times this season has one of their players had more than 25. ... The
only player to score 30 or more points against Milwaukee this season is
LeBron James, who had 41 on Nov. 11 and 32 on Nov. 29. ... Jackson is
seven wins away from becoming the sixth coach in NBA history with at
least 1,000 regular-season victories. His .703 regular-season winning
percentage is the best in league history. ... The Bucks are 2-12
against teams with won-lost records of .500 or better on the day they
played them, and 6-0 against clubs with losing records. ... The Lakers
are 13-0 when allowing fewer than 100 points.

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