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Bryant makes season debut as Lakers defeat Sonics

Nov 4, 2006 - 6:52 AM LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- Kobe Bryant just made the Los Angeles Lakers more interesting.

Lamar Odom scored 28 points and Bryant added 23 and six assists in his season debut as the Lakers held on for a 118-112 triumph over the winless Seattle SuperSonics.

An eight-time All-Star, Bryant returned to the court after missing the first two games - both wins - and the entire preseason due to offseason right knee surgery. On Friday, the reigning scoring champion shot 8-of-15 from the field and committed six turnovers in 41 minutes as the Lakers opened 3-0 for the first time in three years.

"I feel pretty good. It is exciting to be back. I am happy to be out on the floor," Bryant said. "I haven't played since Game Seven (vs. Phoenix in the playoffs). The timing and rhythm was off but that will come back in time."

The 28-year-old superstar looked rusty throughout, missing on easy baskets, including a one-handed dunk in the third quarter.

"I wasn't thinking about the knee that much. It did feel a little choppy, my timing was definitely off," Bryant added. "In the first half I jumped off the leg for a reverse layup. That was something I didn't do at all last year."

In the fourth period, Bryant found a slicing Smush Parker for a layup to snap a 107-107 tie with 1:21 remaining.

"I was very happy to get that opportunity. That is a sign of experience," Bryant said. "It was an isolation situation. Smush made a great curl cut and I was able to give him the pass and he made a nice layup."

Ronny Turiaf made two free throws and came up with huge blocks on Chris Wilcox and Rashard Lewis on the same possession. Turiaf finished with 13 points, seven rebounds and three blocks.

The Sonics were able to cut the deficit to 113-112 on a follow-up dunk and 3-pointer by Lewis with 26 seconds left, but Odom drained 5-of-6 foul shots to seal the game.

Odom handed out six assists and made 7-of-12 shots, including 4-of-5 from the arc.

"It was a team effort. Luke (Walton) got into the game offensively," Odom said. "I was just trying to pick my spots and knocked down some shots. I'm just worried about the 'W' right now. We've got to get what we can get, especially at home. We've got to play these guys again. There are some things we have to tighten up on defense."

Luke Walton had a career-high 20 points and eight rebounds for Los Angeles, which shot 55 percent (36-of-65) from the field and scored 50 points in the paint.

Ray Allen scored 15 of his 30 points in the third quarter and Lewis added 28 and eight rebounds for the SuperSonics, who shot 44 percent (44-of-98) and committed nine turnovers.

"We came together as a team and fought back," said Wilcox, who had 11 points and 12 rebounds. "We just couldn't pull it out."

Seattle center Johan Petro was inactive for the game after he was diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat earlier Friday. A France native, Petro averaged 5.2 points and 4.4 rebounds during his rookie campaign but is scoreless in 16 minutes this season.

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