From Kevin Ding, OC Register: One night after winning with defense, the Lakers won with Kobe. The Lakers earned their sixth consecutive victory Wednesday night, riding Kobe Bryant’s second-half surge for a 113-108 victory over the Golden State Warriors. The Lakers on Tuesday night held the Cleveland Cavaliers to 57 points, fewest in Lakers history in a single game, but struggled to keep up with Golden State’s Monta Ellis, who came in as the NBA’s fourth-leading scorer at 25.2 points per game and poured in 38 points on 15-of-26 field-goal shooting. Ellis played all 48 minutes to do it. Bryant played 37 minutes and one-upped Ellis with 39 points on 13-of-21 shooting. Bryant came in as the NBA’s fifth-leading scorer at 24.9 points per game, and he turned it up after a nine-point, five-turnover first half left the Lakers down, 53-45. The dagger through the Warriors’ heart was a 27-foot 30-point shot over Ellis with 43.9 seconds left for a 105-99 Lakers lead.
From Broderick Turner, LA Times: It took a big effort from Kobe Bryant and Lamar Odom in the fourth quarter for the Lakers to defeat the Golden State Warriors and win their sixth straight game. Bryant scored 30 of his 39 points in the second half. He had 17 points in the decisive fourth quarter. Odom had 16 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter, when the Lakers scored 46 points. Monta Ellis tried to carry the Warriors, scoring 38 points on 15-for-26 shooting. Ellis played all 48 minutes for Golden State. Pau Gasol had 24 points and 11 rebounds for the Lakers.
From Dave McMenamin, Land O’ Lakers: Kobe Bryant displayed his full repertoire of celebratory actions in the fourth quarter. There was the Dikembe Mutombo finger wave with 3:10 remaining when he drove into the lane, absorbed the contact from Andris Biedrins and still made the layup, sending him to the line for an and-one and Biedrins out of the game with six fouls. There was the lower jaw jut, dubbed simply “The Kobe Face” that he displayed several times after canning a couple jumpers with the defender glued to him. And there was the arms spread out in full Michael Jordan “Wings” fashion after he hit his dagger of a pull-up 3-pointer with 43.9 seconds left that doubled the Lakers late lead from three to six. (Usually when Bryant spreads his arms out like that he’ll go into airplane mode, but Wednesday he just settled for taxiing.)
From Dexter Fishmore, Silver Screen and Roll: Let’s take a moment to give thanks to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Last night, they surrendered all pretense of being professional basketball players and lost by a still-hard-to-believe 55 points, as a result of which Phil Jackson was free to rest his starters for a healthy chunk of the contest. Without that luxury, it’s altogether possible the Lakers wouldn’t have had the aerobic endurance called for by tonight’s 48-minute wind sprint up in Oakland. The Golden State Warriors, led by nettlesome ferret Monta Ellis, ran circles around the Lake Show for three quarters and threatened to dash the good spirits that have lately gathered around the defending champs, but in the fourth the Lakers hit the Dubs with a steady, pounding assault that their smaller, younger Pacific Division cohorts couldn’t withstand. The result was an exhausting 115 to 110 victory fueled by heroics from the one they call “Kobe.”
From Billy Witz, Fox Sports: Karma, as we are learning, can be a b****. So, too, can Kobe Bryant, who may not take over games as frequently as he once did, but on Wednesday night took control of a game that the Lakers — who were coming off a 55-point win against Cleveland — looked very much in danger of losing. In the end, they did not, beating Golden State 115-110 thanks to Bryant’s 39 points, 30 of which came in the second half and 17 of which came in the final six minutes. They also got a considerable boost from Lamar Odom, who scored 16 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter, when the Lakers rallied from a five-point deficit.
From Chris Shellcroft, Lake Show Life: Everything that last night’s crushing of the Cavs wasn’t tonight’s win over the Warriors was. This one had it all as the Lake Show outlasted Golden State in a thriller. Early on it was the Warriors and Monta Ellis that took it to the Lakers. Ellis was unstoppable. His cheetah quicks and ridiculous elevation on those rainbow jumpers were just indefensible. Come to think of it, pretty much everything Golden State did in the first half proved a problem for the Lakers. After GSW opened up a 14 point, second quarter lead, Phil Jackson got his squad to regroup and reassert themselves. A game that began as a sprint slowed to a marathon as Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom began to control the boards. Most important of all was that the defense was dialed up as the Warriors managed just 22 points in the third. With the tempo slowly shifting in favor of Los Angeles it came time for Kobe Bryant to go to work.
A Mark Medina Q&A with Frank Hamblen, LA Times: What’s the story behind you getting a coaching job after pursuing a career in television? I came out here [after graduating from Syracuse in 1969], had $200 in my pocket and drove across country. I had some Syracuse alumni who were in the TV/movie industry. They were producers and directors. I was doing an interview with them to get into that business. The L.A. Lakers shootout was going on way back then and the Pistons came to town. They were in one of the teams in the shootout. Dave Bing, who was a senior at Syracuse when I was a freshman, was playing, so we went out after the game. They were playing the San Diego Rockets the next night, and I said I had never been to San Diego. I’ll come down. There was another Syracuse guy with us and he said, “Look up Max Shapiro.” He scouts for them and I just happened to run into Max Shapiro at the game. We started talking. He said he was going to resign his position in two days and wanted to go in a different direction in life. Would I be interested in the job? I go, “Yeah. I don’t have a job.” I stayed over and interviewed with Pete Newell, the general manager, and they wound up hiring me. Well, Pete knew I played and all that, college ball. He knew my coach so he called my coach, and my coach gave me a good recommendation and they hired me. We had a good draft so here I am 42 years later.