Bryant, Lakers bury WarriorsDec 29, 2008 - 6:45 AM By Jonathan Raber PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- Kobe Bryant finished with 31 points and four steals as the Los Angeles Lakers cruised to a 130-113 victory over the Golden State Warriors on Sunday.
Bryant helped Los Angeles avoid a letdown after beating the league-best Boston Celtics on Christmas Day in a rematch of last season's NBA Finals.
"We were aware of the danger of the game, especially having a couple days off," Lakers forward Pau Gasol said. "We were coming off a nice win over the Celtics, so we came in with confidence. We were able to control this game from start to finish."
The reigning MVP scored 21 of his points - while making all 10 of his free-throw attempts - in the first half, before sitting out the entire fourth quarter with the Lakers well ahead.
"We knew what he had to do," Bryant said. "It was pretty easy for us to switch gears and come out here and perform."
Derek Fisher had 19 points against his former team and Sasha Vujacic scored 17 points with four 3-pointers as the Lakers won for the 13th straight time at home. Andrew Bynum finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds as six Lakers reached double figures in scoring.
Jamal Crawford led the way with 22 points for the Warriors, who were also coming off a win over the Celtics in their last outing.
They failed to bring that same energy this time.
"Our defense wasn't even close to what we had against Boston, and it definitely showed," Warriors forward Stephen Jackson said. "We didn't approach the game the same way we did the Boston game. We had way more intensity, we were (energized) that game."
However, Golden State's recent struggles on the road against the Lakers continued, as it has now dropped 17 of the last 19 games at Staples Center.
C.J. Watson, Brandan Wright and Marco Belinelli each had 14 points and Andris Biedrins pulled down 17 rebounds in the losing effort.
"(The Lakers) did what they were supposed to do and took care of business," Golden State coach Don Nelson said.
Defensively, the Lakers took advantage of the Warriors' miscues, turning 17 turnovers into 31 points.
"We did a good job running, converting turnovers into easy opportunities," Bryant said.
Bryant scored five quick points coming out of the half to help the Lakers quickly turn a seven-point lead into to a 70-58 cushion. Odom would later close out the quarter with a 3-pointer from the corner to push the lead to 102-85 heading into the fourth.
With Bryant resting on the bench, the Lakers were able to maintain control the rest of the way. Vujacic nailed a pair of 3-pointers and Fisher added another early in the fourth that pushed the Lakers ahead by a 117-95 margin.
GOLDEN STATE 113
LA LAKERS 130 FINAL
Dec 28 11:57 PM
GOLDEN STATE 85
LA LAKERS 102 END, 3RD QTR
Dec 28 11:26 PM
GOLDEN STATE 58
LA LAKERS 65 HALFTIME
Dec 28 10:42 PM
GOLDEN STATE 27
LA LAKERS 34 END, 1ST QTR
Dec 28 10:10 PM
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