Bryant, Bynum power Lakers over TimberwolvesJan 31, 2009 - 6:38 AM By Tom Coyer PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
MINNEAPOLIS (Ticker) -- The Los Angeles Lakers got off to a fast start on their six-game road trip.
Kobe Bryant scored 30 points and Andrew Bynum had a double-double to lead the Lakers to a 132--119 victory over the surging Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday.
After losing a double-overtime game to Charlotte on Tuesday, the Lakers went on the road and got back to their winning ways getting their 36th win of the season.
Bryant was 12-of 23 from the field and grabbed eight rebounds. Minnesota struggled to find a defensive answer for Bryant, especially in the third quarter when he scored 12 points.
Bryant thought the team's defense really keyed their third-quarter surge.
"We got in a good rhythm, we knew exactly what we wanted to do defensively and where we wanted to apply pressure," Bryant said. "Then once you know that it makes it easy to cut a team apart."
Wolves guard Randy Foye had high praise for Kobe and the Lakers.
"We kept trying to push but Kobe is one of the best players in this game, ever," Foye said. "He made some tough shots. I tried to help off and he found Derek Fisher in the corner. They made big shots."
Bynum finished with 27 points and 15 rebounds and Pau Gasol just missed a double-double with 21 points and nine rebounds. Bynum's double-double was his fifth in a row.
"He's playing extremely well and we are starting to expect it from him," said Bryant. "He's being aggressive, he's being assertive and he's finding his niche where he can operate in the offense. And I like it, I like it a lot."
"He's been unbelievable lately," added Luke Walton. "To see him coming out on the court and doing the things he's doing offensively and even defensively, it's really exciting for us as a team to see this happen."
Through the first half the Lakers held a slim four-point lead but a dominating third quarter saw them get to 100 points by the end of the quarter and they took a 15-point lead into the fourth.
The Lakers didn't make any significant adjustments at halftime according to coach Phil Jackson.
"We felt them out the first half, recognized what they could do and them came out in the second half and established that right off the bat," Jackson said.
The Timberwolves' Al Jefferson led all scorers with 34 points and Randy Foye added 25 points. Jefferson also had 13 rebounds to record his 25th double-double of the season. But Minnesota's scoring wasn't the problem.
"That was an old-fashioned shootout," said Minnesota coach Kevin McHale. "We were fine offensively, we just couldn't stop them."
The Lakers continue their road trip in Memphis on Saturday night.
LA LAKERS 132
MINNESOTA 119 FINAL
Jan 30 10:35 PM
LA LAKERS 100
MINNESOTA 85 END, 3RD QTR
Jan 30 10:00 PM
LA LAKERS 64
MINNESOTA 60 HALFTIME
Jan 30 9:10 PM
LA LAKERS 33
MINNESOTA 31 END, 1ST QTR
Jan 30 8:36 PM
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