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Bryant leads balanced attack in rout of Sonics

Mar 22, 2008 - 7:41 AM LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- Kobe Bryant led eight players in double figures with 23 points for the Los Angeles Lakers in a 130-105 rout of the Seattle SuperSonics on Friday.

Luke Walton scored a season high-tying 17 points while Ronny Turiaf and Jordan Farmar each added 14 for the Lakers, who swept the season series with the Sonics for the first time in 18 years.

Los Angeles (48-21) also gave itself a one-game lead for first place in the Western Conference playoff race over idle New Orleans (46-21) and Houston (47-22), which downed Golden State earlier in the evening.

Holding just a 67-60 lead early in the third quarter, Derek Fisher hit a jumper and Vladimir Radmanovic nailed a 3-pointer to hand the Lakers a sizeable lead which they did not relinquish.

"We came out with a purpose, had an idea of what we wanted to do," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "We moved the ball well, found players that were open, made some defensive stops and extended the lead right away."

After Turiaf answered a jumper by Seattle's Johan Petro, Bryant scored the next seven points for the Lakers to maintain an 11-point advantage until Los Angeles' superior depth took over.

Following a pair of free throws from Bryant which left the Lakers ahead 83-72 with 1:46 left in the third quarter, Farmar hit a pair of 3-pointers to spark a 10-4 run to close the period, giving Los Angeles a comfortable 93-76 advantage.

The Lakers' reserves continued their strong play in the first five minutes of the final period as Farmar and Walton combined to score nine of their team's first 19 points of the quarter to extend the lead to 111-85.

Seattle could get no closer than 23 points the rest of the way as many of the starters rested for Los Angeles, which shot an incredible 61 percent (51-for-84) from the field to notch its third consecutive victory.

"We just kept knocking them down," Bryant said. "I think it's something where guys work on it everyday in practice. It's not like they're hot. When you have open shots, you're going to knock them down because you work on them every single day."

The Lakers also set a new season high with 36 assists.

"That is what it is all about," Turiaf said. "If we share the ball, if we pass the ball, we are all going to be successful. It's so much easier for us to score on other teams because they can't just focus on Kobe or Lamar (Odom)."

Rookie Kevin Durant and Earl Watson each scored 20 points for the Sonics, who have lost 10 straight games.

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