for this game

Bryant scores 40 as Celtics tie franchise record for losses

Feb 1, 2007 - 4:49 AM BOSTON (Ticker) -- As far as the Boston Celtics were concerned, Kobe Bryant came back one game too soon.

Bryant scored 43 points as the Los Angeles Lakers posted a 111-98 victory over the stumbling Boston Celtics, who matched a franchise record with their 13th straight loss.

Smush Parker added 19 points as five players scored in double figures for the Lakers, who snapped a season-high three-game losing streak.

Bryant, who missed Tuesday's 99-94 loss at New York after being suspended for throwing an elbow at Manu Ginobili in a game with San Antonio on Sunday, shot 13-of-25 from the floor, including 7-of-9 from the arc.

"It felt great, felt great," Bryant said. "I just had so much fun playing. I was just really excited to be out there playing. It was fun."

With the win, the Lakers improved to 1-1 on a season-high seven-game road trip.

"I was finally able to run out in the yard. Just run a little wild," Bryant said. "Just have a good time. I just have so much fun playing, that's what I told the guys before we went out there. It's a long road trip but let's have fun. Let's have fun. We tend to get a little too serious on these road trips and kind of forget about how much fun the game is and just relaxing."

Times have been tough for the 16-time world champion Celtics since the 1980s when they seemed to play the Lakers every season for the NBA title. Boston has not won a title since the 1985-1986 season, has not been to the Finals since 1986-87 and has advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals just twice since. The storied franchise has not won a playoff series since the 2002-03 season.

"Well, I guess that's one way to get into the record books," Boston coach Doc Rivers said. "Not the way you want to. But I told the guys basically what I told you. In two or three years from now, Gerald Green is a Kobe Bryant and Al Jefferson is whoever you want him to be, and you're winning games, you're not going to give a crap about what happened (during losing streak). So, that's the hope."

The Celtics lost 13 straight games in the 1993-94 and 1997-98 seasons.

"It's starting to get to us," Green said. "We just can't break down. Right now we know there is nothing we can do. We are doing all we can. We've got to go out there and get a win. It's not going to be given to us."

Lakers coach Phil Jackson had to prod Bryant to shoot more.

"I thought he was very passive to start the game," Jackson said. "In fact, I had to encourage him to take open shots. You know he is trying to get his teammates involved. I've got to focus on him, make the Boston team have to play defense."

The superstar guard had 16 points and four assists in the first half and got some help from Parker, who scored 14, as the Lakers held a 57-49 edge at the half.

Bryant poured in 15 more in the third period, including 3-of-3 shots from the arc, and his 40-footer at the buzzer gave Los Angeles an 83-73 lead. It was a key shot because Boston had the ball with a chance to cut the deficit to five before Lamar Odom made a steal with three seconds left.

"I just got in a good rhythm and was able to put on a good show there," Bryant said.

Bryant capped his third consecutive 40-point effort against Boston when he converted a reverse slam on a right-to-left drive and followed with a 3-pointer with one minute to play.

Ryan Gomes scored 23 points and Gerald Green added 22 for Boston, which shot 45 percent (36-of-80).

"It is what it is," Gomes said. "It's tough, one after another. When you lose one game, you're (ticked) off. Two, even more mad, three, four, five, six, all the way up to 13. The fight is there. We say the same thing every game. Tonight Kobe made some unbelievable shots when we were making our run."

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