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Bryant scores 43, gets help as Lakers edge Warriors

Mar 26, 2007 - 6:00 AM LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- Kobe Bryant hasn't needed much help lately. But he received some much-needed assistance against the Golden State Warriors.

Bryant scored 43 points and Lamar Odom added 24 and a career-high 19 rebounds as the Lakers posted a 115-113 victory over the Golden State Warriors in a game of runs.

Rony Turiaf added some offense and energy to a sloppy effort by Los Angeles (38-32), which won its fifth straight contest and moved two games ahead of Denver (35-33) for fifth place in the Western Conference playoff race.

"It's always a team effort even though I scored 40 points or 50 points, whatever it is," Bryant said. "You have to have your teammates playing well in such a case, getting offensive rebounds and doing things that they do in order to win basketball games."

With 50 points in Friday's 111-105 triumph over the New Orleans Hornets, Bryant joined the great Wilt Chamberlain as the only players in NBA history to score 50 in four straight contests.

"We tried to make it hard for Kobe," Warriors coach Don Nelson said. "It was a great performance. I can imagine what he has been doing. To get 43 against us, we were double teaming him quite a lot. We were as difficult as we could be on him."

It was not too difficult early on, as Bryant looked headed toward a fifth straight 50-point outburst when he scored nine points in the first two minutes and finished the first quarter with 17.

But the Warriors regrouped, chipped away and used a 13-2 run in the third quarter to forge a 78-71 lead with 6:13 remaining in the session.

However, it was the Lakers' turn in the fourth quarter. Turiaf scored six points and capped a 14-0 run with a lefthanded layup to give the Lakers a 104-98 edge with five minutes left.

"I really wanted to reward coach Jackson for sticking with me," Turiaf said. "I started off trying to throw the ball to Kobe and turned the ball over. He could have taken me out, but he didn't, he stuck with me, so I felt like I had to give him something to keep him happy. I tried to hustle and I am glad things turned out positive for me."

After Bryant missed the second of two free throws for a 112-110 lead with 20 seconds left, Odom corralled the offensive rebound, got fouled and converted two free throws two seconds later.

"I just played with a lot of energy and effort," Odom said. "(Golden State forward Al) Harrington was having a pretty good offensive game and I felt like I had to do just a little bit more. A couple of them were offensive rebounds and when you get offensive rebounds you give your team a second chance."

Stephen Jackson knocked down a 3-pointer with 1.9 seconds remaining to cut the Warriors' deficit to 114-113. But after Bryant split a pair from the line again, Al Harrington's long 3-point attempt missed.

Turiaf added five rebounds and a key block on Monte Ellis' drive with 45 ticks left and Los Angeles clinging to a 110-107 lead. His efforts helped overcome 25 turnovers. Golden State committed just eight.

The Lakers countered with a relentless rebounding attack, holding a 63-33 edge on the boards, including 21 offensive rebounds.

"We took command of the game and then let it slip away," Warriors guard Baron Davis said. "We couldn't rebound the basketball. (If) we rebound the basketball the game is over. They kept getting putbacks and they killed us in points in the paint and that was the difference in the game."

Ellis tied his career high with 31 points off the bench and Harrington added 23 for the Warriors (33-38), who dropped 1 1/2 games behind the idle Los Angeles Clippers for the eighth and final Western Conference playoff spot.

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