Bryant leads balanced attack as Lakers top NetsNov 27, 2006 - 5:24 AM LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- Although Kobe Bryant is considered the primary finisher for the Los Angeles Lakers, he spent Sunday night setting up his teammates.
Bryant had 19 points and a season-high 10 assists and Lamar Odom added 21 points as the Lakers sent the New Jersey Nets to their fifth consecutive loss with a 99-93 victory.
Kwame Brown collected 13 points and nine rebounds for Los Angeles, which shot 45 percent (37-of-82) from the field and had six double-figure scorers.
"We're trying to get this team to pass and cut, that seems to be our difficulty right now," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "Players feel that they have to have the ball in their hands and play with the basketball, dribbling in a 1-on-1 atmosphere. We're trying to get them to play the game with purposeful cuts and movements so that we get better clearing spaces to operate."
The NBA scoring champion last season, Bryant had offseason knee surgery and has yet to become a prolific scorer in 2006-07. The superstar guard shot just 8-of-24 from the floor but was the ultimate playmaker for the Lakers.
Luke Walton, who is 13-of-19 on 3-pointers this season, hit two shots from the arc and scored 10 points.
"(My teammates) put a lot of work in during the summertime," Bryant said. "We talked and they are ready. They are stepping it up and hitting shots. Luke is leading the league in 3-point shooting accuracy. If teams want to continue to double- and triple-team me like that, they continue to knock down shots, pretty soon you are going to have to pick your poison."
Rookie Jordan Farmar scored 13 points and fourth-year guard Smush Parker added 11. In just his fifth game of the season, Brown - a former first overall pick - is starting to round into form as well.
"The more games I get in, the more confidence I get," Brown said. "My endurance is picking up. I am still playing starting minutes and I am not worried about it. I am going to take what is given to me."
"I think (Parker and Farmar) played extremely well together," Bryant said. "Smush gave us a great boost and then the young fellow came in and played extremely well. Kwame did too. We had a pretty good overall effort."
Odom was 6-of-16 from the field - including three shots from the arc - and 6-of-8 from the line. He scored 12 points in the second half to help Los Angeles erase a 48-43 halftime deficit.
"We are playing good basketball," Odom said. "We are sharing the ball as a team. It's nice to see, on a night where Kobe is what you might call off, he is still able to get 10 assists and we win a basketball game."
Vince Carter scored 21 points and Jason Kidd had 16 assists for New Jersey, which shot 49 percent (35-of-72) in completing a winless four-game road trip.
"For us, it's just stay together and work through it," Kidd said. "There's a lot of basketball to be played. As fast as you can lose five in a row, you can win 15, so we just have to stay together."
"Any time you lose, you are disappointed," Nets coach Lawrence Frank said. "We are going to have to figure this thing out. We are going to do it together. The character in that locker room has been through worse and we'll stay together and we'll get it down."
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