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Bynum has career game as Lakers top Timberwolves

Nov 8, 2006 - 6:22 AM LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- Andrew Bynum showed the Minnesota Timberwolves why he skipped college.

Bynum set career highs with 20 points and 14 rebounds and Kobe Bryant added 17 points as the Los Angeles Lakers posted a 95-88 victory over the Timberwolves.

Luke Walton had 14 points, nine rebounds and five assists for the Lakers, who shot 46 percent (35-of-71) from the floor and outrebounded the Timberwolves, 44-31.

"We are playing great ball right now. I'm getting a lot of easy looks and when you get your first couple then it puts you in a rhythm the rest of the game," Walton said. "I'm not forcing anything and just let the offense do the job and me taking advantage when I get mismatches."

Trailing, 76-63, after the third quarter, Minnesota cut its deficit to 91-86 and had the ball with 1:00 remaining. The 19-year-old Bynum then rejected Mike James' shot and made three free throws down the stretch to secure the victory.

"I am growing as a basketball player, getting the experience that I am able to get," Bynum said. "Kareem (Abdul-Jabbar) and I have had a lot of sessions just talking about things that happen every day. One thing he told me was about me anchoring the defense and how much energy that I use blocking shots.

"Make other teams think about just coming down the lane for a layup, which is what happened tonight. They would keep jumping in the air and trying to find a way to do something with the ball."

The 10th overall pick in 2005 out of St. Joseph High School in New Jersey who spurned Connecticut to turn pro, the 7-0 center also had three blocks. He was 8-of-10 from the free-throw line and received a standing ovation as he left the game in the fourth quarter.

"Andrew is just playing well. He worked extremely hard this past summer and you can see he is just ready to play," Bryant said. "I am just extremely proud and happy for him. It is just on me as a big brother to be happy for him and to tell him how good of a job he has done."

Bryant had one of his most efficient games in recent memory, shooting 5-of-7 from the floor and 7-of-7 from the foul line in 35 minutes.

"A tremendous amount is taken off of me when the team plays like this," Bryant said. "That is one of the things I told (the team) when I came back. I told them, 'Hey, you've got to pick me up because this is my preseason. I haven't played since Game Seven (of the Western Conference semifinals vs. Phoenix).'

"They just rally around me and pick me up so that in January (and) February, whenever I am ready to go, they'll know they'll have that weapon there when they need it."

Kevin Garnett had 26 points, nine rebounds and five assists for Minnesota, which shot 42 percent (34-of-81) and dropped to 1-3 on its four-game road trip.

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