for this game

Bryant scores 30 third-quarter points as Lakers roll

Dec 1, 2006 - 6:36 AM LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- His uniform number may be different this season, but the old Kobe Bryant once again took over a game like few players can.

Bryant made 19-of-26 shots and scored 30 of his season-high 52 points in the third quarter as the Los Angeles Lakers won their ninth home game in 11 outings with a 132-102 victory over the Utah Jazz.

Last season's scoring champ, Bryant showed the same fire and accuracy that helped him set a franchise record with 27 40-point games in 2005-06 - including six 50-point outings and an incredible 81 points against Toronto on January 22, the second-highest total in NBA history.

Appearing to be fully recovered from offseason knee surgery, Bryant tied his own franchise mark for most points in a quarter. He hit 11 consecutive shots at one point in the period and had the fans at Staples Center chanting "MVP, MVP" midway through the quarter.

"I was really, really hot tonight," Bryant said. "I didn't miss. I knew I was feeling it when I had a one-leg runner fading away. Then I knew it was a pretty good night. For me, it's just that I have never taken that shot before, outside of growing up as a kid playing in the backyard."

"I've been on teams when he got 40 points, and tonight was very efficient," Lakers guard Maurice Evans said. "I was impressed with the way he did it. I think we did a good job of keeping up with him."

Bryant's 30-point performance in the third put him in elite company. George Gervin set the league record for points in a quarter with 33 on April 9, 1978 and David Thompson scored 32 that same day. Hall of Famer Wilt Chamberlain had 31 in a session en route to his unprecedented 100-point game on March 2, 1962.

"There was a combination of the things that he did tonight," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "Maybe not as dramatic perhaps as in the past, but there was still plenty of fire there."

"Kobe got hot," Jazz forward Carlos Boozer said. "We had hands in his face, but he still made shots. We didn't come back. We didn't shoot enough to weather that storm. We let him get going, and that's the game when you let him get going."

The Lakers slowly began to pull away in the second quarter, thanks to 12 points by Bryant - including a driving dunk with three seconds left for a 53-41 halftime lead. He made 10-of-16 shots and scored 22 points in the first half.

Bryant was virtually unstoppable in the third, making all nine shots and all 10 free throws. He scored nine of the Lakers' first 11 points, including a three-point play with 8:36 left for a 64-51 advantage.

"Kobe just lifts the spirit of everyone the team," Evans said. "Now everyone is really involved and anticipating his next move. We are trying to get to the boards when he misses. I think we did a good job of feeding off the momentum he supplies."

"He got it going in the third quarter," said Jazz guard Derek Fisher, a former Laker. "He put in a really good effort to make sure they got this game tonight."

Later in the period, Bryant hit back-to-back 3-pointers and five straight free throws during a stretch in which he scored 14 consecutive points for Los Angeles, which held a 95-73 lead after three quarters.

"Just in the flow of the game," Bryant said. "Just as needed. I don't want to go out there and make a circus of the situation. I just want to go out there and play."

Bryant played less than two minutes in the fourth quarter and did not score, leaving him five points shy of the league's season high set by Michael Redd of the Milwaukee Bucks, who scored 57 against Utah on November 11.

"It's awesome," Lakers forward Luke Walton said. "Most NBA games come down to the fourth quarter, and to know we have the best finisher in the game on our team gives us a lot more confidence down the stretch of ballgames."

Evans scored 17 points and Lamar Odom added 14 and 11 rebounds for the Lakers, who set a season high in points in avenging Friday's 114-108 loss to the Jazz.

Boozer scored 26 points and Deron Williams and rookie Paul Millsap added 13 apiece for Utah, which has dropped three of its last four games.

"I don't think there's anything we could have done," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. "We couldn't get close enough to guard (Bryant). When he caught the ball and got on a roll, he just made whatever he caught. It didn't make a difference."

No one has shouted yet.
Be the first!