Final - OT
  for this game

Bryant's 48 sends Lakers to seventh straight win

Jan 15, 2008 - 7:24 AM SEATTLE (Ticker) -- Kobe Bryant showed rookie Kevin Durant how to close out a game the right way.

Bryant scored a season-best 48 points, including the go-head shot with four seconds remaining, as the Los Angeles Lakers extended their winning streak to seven games with Monday's 123-121 overtime victory over the Seattle SuperSonics.

The performance was the 87th career 40-point outing for Bryant, who has scored at least 40 in four of his last five trips to Key Arena.

"It was an ugly game for us, but we found a way to tough it out, and that shows a great deal of improvement," Bryant said. "Tonight was the kind of game where I had to read the mood of the team."

Durant, the Sonics leading scorer and NBA Rookie of the Month for November and December, admitted that he still had a lot to learn from Bryant.

"It was a type of game where a great player like that steps up and knocks shots down," Durant said. "That's why he's the best player in the world. I'm the type of player who loves that last-second shot. Unfortunately, I came up short on some shots. That's how it is sometimes."

"I'm sure (Durant) learned some things (about closing out a game)," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "He's got a bright future and he hit a big shot going down the stretch in regulation to send this thing into overtime."

Durant finished with 19 points on 6-of-26 shooting.

It was the Lakers' first game without center Andrew Bynum, who will be out for a minimum of eight weeks after MRI tests revealed a subluxation of the patella and a bone bruise in his left knee.

"We're obviously going to have to do a lot more work in practice and re-focus on the defensive end to make up for the fact that we don't have (Bynum) or Chris (Mihm) in there," Lakers forward Luke Walton said. "Kwame (Brown) and Ronny (Turiaf) both did good jobs, but there has to be much more of a team effort down there."

In the extra session, Kurt Thomas' jumper gave Seattle a slim 121-117 edge with just over three minutes remaining. But Bryant stepped up to score the next two baskets, including a 14-footer to tie the game at the 1:39 mark.

Durant had a chance to put the SuperSonics on top but misfired on a pull-up jumper with 26 seconds left, leaving enough time for Bryant to make another big shot.

The reigning two-time scoring champion drove the left side against rookie Jeff Green before drilling the eventual game-winning step-back jumper.

"(Green) was our best defender against Kobe by far," Sonics coach P.J. Carlesimo said. "I thought he did a decent job. (Kobe's) so good with the ball, he creates space."

Seattle had one last chance to force another overtime, but Nick Collison's jumper came up short from the right corner as the horn sounded.

In regulation, Bryant nailed a 3-pointer from the right wing that gave Los Angeles a 113-112 advantage with 1:21 left. After Walton added a pair of free throws, Durant hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key to lock things up again with 46 seconds left.

Both clubs failed to convert on their final possessions, forcing overtime.

Collison dominated the paint with 24 points and 18 boards for the Sonics, who shot 48 percent (50-of-104) from the field en route to their seventh straight loss.

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