Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers used a strong third quarter to overcome the Golden State Warriors 97-90 at Staples Center on Friday night. The Lakers won their fifth consecutive home game and improved to 5-4 on the season.
After an ugly opening 24 minutes, the Lakers trailed the Warriors 39-35 at halftime. But in the third quarter Bryant nearly outscored the Warriors all by himself. Kobe scored 17 of his season-high 39 points during the period as the Lakers surged into the lead. Golden State led 46-39 with 9:29 remaining in the third quarter, but a 14-2 Lakers run put them into the lead for good.
Bryant made 13 of 28 from the field and set new season highs with 12 free throws made in 14 attempts. Bryant also dished out seven assists, as did Derek Fisher.
Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum helped the Lakers control the middle, especially in the second half. Gasol had perhaps his finest game of the season with 17 points, 11 rebounds, and three blocks. Bynum continued his rebounding assault, grabbing 16 boards for the Lakers. However, Bynum's double-double streak was stopped at four games as he was held to just nine points in the game. The Lakers outrebounded the Warriors 47-34 on the night.
Matt Barnes scored a season-high 16 points for the Lakers, making seven of his 19 field goal attempts, and helped hold Monta Ellis to just eight of 20 shooting for the Warriors on the defensive end. The Lakers shot 48.1% from the field in the game. After making just one of eight three-point attempts in the first half, the Lakers sank two of their three shots from distance in the second half.
David Lee had a double-double for Golden State with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Rookie Klay Thompson, former Pepperdine star and son of former Lakers player and current Lakers announcer Mychal Thompson, scored 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting off the bench in his Staples Center debut as a pro.
The Warriors missed nine of their 19 free throw attempts.
The Lakers improved to 1-1 in the second half of back-to-back games so far this season. Los Angeles is off on Saturday, but hosts Memphis on Sunday night.
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