A day after topping the previous worst shooting performance of his career, Kobe Bryant came back with a vengeance in predictable fashion to lead the Lakers to a shootout victory, 120-112. Kobe scored 40 on 28 shots and hit all three of his three point attempts. The Lakers needed every bit of it, as they failed on two separate occasions to maintain a double digit lead and the Warriors gave the Lakers all they could handle as both teams shot exceptionally well from the field.
Although they were victorious, the Lakers once again had to work too hard to achieve the victory. Kobe played 36 minutes, and Pau Gasol was over 40 in a game that the Lakers could have ended by the third quarter if they didn't relax the second they went up double digits every single time. It might also have helped if the Lakers avoided that dreaded non-Kobe, non-Sessions lineup. In the first half, the Lakers got away with said lineup for 6+ minutes, only losing two points to their opposition over that time. In the second half, Mike Brown went back to the well, and the well was full of the same poison we've come to expect ... two minutes, and the 13 point lead was down to 7, rcing Kobe to returned to the game to play most of the 4th quarter.
One star didn't play many minutes. Andrew Bynum left the game in the 2nd quarter after twisting his ankle from landing on Pau Gasol's foot. Bynum was X-rayed (results negative) and the word is a moderate sprain. Bynum did not return, logging just 10 minutes on the evening, and kudos to Troy Murphy and Josh McRoberts for stepping in and performing admirably, combining for 10 points and 19 boards off the bench.
Still, if Bynum is lost for any amount of time, tonight's victory will hardly be worth the cost. But hey, at least Kobe and Pau have been able to conserve energy on the season to date ... or, you know, the opposite of that.