for this game

Evans, Bryant spark Lakers past Warriors

Feb 26, 2007 - 3:49 AM OAKLAND, California (Ticker) -- The Golden State Warriors started fast and faded faster.

Maurice Evans scored a season-high 26 points as the Los Angeles Lakers broke open the game in the second quarter and breezed to a 102-85 victory over the Warriors.

Kobe Bryant also scored 26 points for Los Angeles, which improved to 7-0 against Pacific Division opponents and beat Golden State for the 12th time in 13 meetings.

Evans, who made his second straight start and just his fourth of the season, said knowing his role has helped his production.

"It feels good to come out and pace myself throughout the game and be able to pick and choose my spots," Evans said. "I know I am going to play consistent minutes and try to take advantage of the system with my defensive energy."

The Warriors show some early energy in jumping to a 19-11 lead, but the Lakers answered with a 33-9 run that Evans capped with a 3-pointer for a 44-28 advantage with 5 1/2 minutes to go in the first half.

Evans had 11 points in the second quarter as Los Angeles led, 56-42, at halftime and 79-64 after three quarters.

"He's playing extremely well," Bryant said of Evans. "He's been working really hard all year and he's been giving us opportunities to step in and start and been putting up huge numbers and just contributing all-around."

The result was reminiscent of the Warriors' season opener, when they were throttled, 110-98, by the visiting Lakers.

"Today's game reminded me of our first game of the year," Golden State coach Don Nelson said. "I did feel we came out well in the first quarter. We were aggressive, ran and played the way we needed to play to win the game. We just couldn't sustain it for the whole game. We started to settle for early long shots in the second, which hurt us.

"The back-to-back games have been tough for us all year."

Monta Ellis scored 22 points for the cold-shooting Warriors, who made just 2-of-19 from the arc and were a pitiful 9-of-21 at the free-throw line.

"They couldn't hit the 3-point shot," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "It's a big part of their game and their free-throw shooting wasn't good either. Those two things were an advantage for us today."

The defeat capped a lost weekend for Golden State, which entered Saturday tied for eighth in the Western Conference but dropped to 11th after back-to-back setbacks to both Los Angeles teams.

It does not get any easier for Golden State, which embarks on a five-game road trip beginning Tuesday in Milwaukee.

"This road trip will show everything," Ellis said. "If we don't play well, we won't make the playoffs. I think this is the most important time of our year."

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