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Bryant, Odom help Lakers edge Timberwolves

Feb 23, 2009 - 5:23 AM MINNEAPOLIS (Ticker) -- Kobe Bryant scored 28 points and Lamar Odom collected 25 and 14 rebounds to lead the Los Angeles Lakers to a 111-108 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday.

Pau Gasol added 25 points for the Lakers, who shot 52 percent (43-of-82) from the floor and forced 19 turnovers en route to their fourth straight win.

The Timberwolves pulled within 106-105 on Sebastian Telfair's jumper with 1:15 left, but Odom's tip-in increased the lead to three and Bryant split a pair of free throws with 14 seconds to play gave Los Angeles a 109-105 edge.

Randy Foye hit a 3-pointer to draw the Timberwolves within one, but Bryant knocked down two more free throws and Foye missed a deep 3-point attempt at the buzzer.

"Minnesota played as hard and well as they possibly can," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "They shot 50 percent from the floor. They really played a good ballgame. But our intensity level is not where it is supposed to be. That's the difference. We can't let a team start the way they started.

"Our poor defense (was the difference). I thought we played sloppy defense and didn't put our minds to it. Down the stretch we did some things that were just mind-blowingly bad."

Minnesota led by as much as 89-84 with 8:37 left in the fourth quarter but watched the lead slip away with a two-minute scoring drought.

"It wasn't pretty," Gasol said. "They played their game. But we made plays when we had to. But it wasn't the best on our part as far as energy and intensity goes.

"We are used to these type of games, where the other team is playing their best and making shots and things like that. We did a good job of keeping our poise and executing down the stretch."

The Timberwolves and Lakers put on a long range display late in the game when Luke Walton, Mike Miller, Derek Fisher and Ryan Gomes hit 3-pointers on successive possessions before Telfair's basket with 1:15 left.

"We put ourselves in a position to win the game," Minnesota coach Kevin McHale said. "There are a lot of positives and the guys played hard."

Bryant finished 11-of-21 from the field and chipped in seven assists and six rebounds while Gasol and Odom combined to shoot 19-of-27.

"It's a tough matchup, with Odom at the four and Kobe, the best player in the game," Foye said. "They are always going to have a mismatch at some position."

Gomes and Telfair scored 20 points apiece and Kevin Love collected 11 and 10 rebounds as six players reached double figures for Minnesota, which has lost seven of its last eight games.