The McTen: Road Warriors

January, 13, 2011
1/13/11
6:53
AM PT
McMenamin By Dave McMenamin
ESPNLosAngeles.com
Archive
Here are your 10 additional things to take away from the Lakers 115-110 win over the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday ...

1

Kobe Bryant displayed his full repertoire of celebratory actions in the fourth quarter.

There was the Dikembe Mutombo finger wave with 3:10 remaining when he drove into the lane, absorbed the contact from Andris Biedrins and still made the layup, sending him to the line for an and-one and Biedrins out of the game with six fouls.

There was the lower jaw jut, dubbed simply "The Kobe Face" that he displayed several times after canning a couple jumpers with the defender glued to him.

And there was the arms spread out in full Michael Jordan "Wings" fashion after he hit his dagger of a pull-up 3-pointer with 43.9 seconds left that doubled the Lakers late lead from three to six. (Usually when Bryant spreads his arms out like that he'll go into airplane mode, but Wednesday he just settled for taxiing.)

"You have a responsibility to your team to try to come through in those situations and make the right play," Bryant said. "Tonight, I did that."

Said Lakers coach Phil Jackson: "He's been waiting to have that kind of game. We haven't had many finishes like that for a while and that's what he loves to do."

Warriors coach Keith Smart also was agog at what he saw Bryant do. "What can you say?" Smart said. "An MVP, a champion and a super competitor -- when you have those combinations you find ways to give your team a chance to win."

It put the exclamation point on his 17 points in the fourth quarter, 30 points in the second half and 39 points in the game, but before there's any coronation proclaiming him Kyra Sedgwick's equal as "The Closer" once again, don't forget about the lefty portion of the Lakers' two-handed attack in the fourth quarter.

Before Bryant could put the final brush strokes on L.A.'s masterful 46-point fourth, Lamar Odom filled in a lot of the picture by scoring 16 points in the final period of his own, helping the team erase a six-point deficit after three quarters.

"I was trying to wait and wait for the offense in the first three quarters and it didn’t really work out so I just stayed poised and just kind of waiting my turn and some plays were there to be made," Odom said.

Ron Artest, who chipped in down the stretch with 3 of his own with 1:55 remaining, estimated it was the best fourth quarter Odom has played as a Laker.

"It might have been up there," Odom said. "Right now we’re having fun just playing and finding ways to win games and just trying to get better individually and as a team. We’re trying to do the things we need to do to 'keep the goings going on,' as they say where I’m from."
2

While Kobe was carrying on with his various poses in the fourth, Odom was wincing and grimacing in pain.

Odom fell hard on his left arm in game on Jan. 5 against Phoenix after getting his legs tangled up with the Suns' Mickael Pietrus during a layup attempt. He re-aggravated it with 6:37 to go Wednesday after taking a foul from Biedrins. He clutched his shoulder while laying on the floor after the foul, but he was able to shake it off enough to go 2-for-2 on the ensuing free throws using his left hand.

"I hit my shoulder twice," Odom said. "Once in my right shoulder but it still kind of jarred the left side. One time [Dan] Gadzuric, he’s big, he’s strong, I ran into him. It’s probably going to hurt, right in my trap [trapezius muscle]. But, what are you going to do, right? Just ice and stim [electric stimulation], get on the table a little bit, massage."

Jackson downplayed the injury.

"He got whiplash or something to that effect the other night when he went down hard and it's the residual from that," Jackson said. "It doesn't have anything to do with his shoulder, per se."

The good news for Odom is he finished with 20 points and nine rebounds, keeping his All-Star campaign intact.

"I figure if I make [All-Star] a goal to attain, even if I don’t hit it then I help the team," said the 12-year veteran who has yet to be named an All-Star. "I guess at this point in my career, I’m being a little selfish or the most selfish that I’ve ever been, but I’m doing it to help my team."

3

Bryant's 39 points was his second highest total of the season behind the 41 he had in a home loss to Indiana.

He was efficient in doing so, shooting 13-of-21 from the field (61.9 percent) and 11-of-11 from the free throw line, but he offset the points with four assists, below his season average of 4.5 per game.

Bryant had eight assists and 10 shot attempts in the Lakers 55-point rout of the Cavaliers on Tuesday and before the Warriors game began, Jackson praised how Bryant picked apart Cleveland.

"When Kobe becomes a distributor in a ballgame like he was [Tuesday] night, it changes a team's defense or approach to a game and opens up a lot of avenues for people," Jackson said.

4

The Lakers won by five, but the Warriors controlled the lead for most of the game. Golden State led by as many as six in the first quarter before L.A. cut it back to two. The Warriors led by 14 in the second, before the Lakers worked it back to a tie. They led by 10 in the third before the Lakers could bring it back down to two and again by nine before Los Angeles could cut it to four.

Once the Lakers took a one-point lead with 6:37 remaining in the fourth, they trailed for just 22 seconds the rest of the way (for one possession after a made 3 by Monta Ellis) and ran their own lead up to eight points.

"We needed to take control at some point," Bryant said. "We kept cutting [the lead] to two, cutting it to four and they kept extending it. You don’t want to continue to do that and run out of gas, so down the stretch there, we were able to seize control of it and it worked out."

5

Bryant literally one-upped Ellis, scoring 39 points to the sixth-year guard's total of 38. Despite that, Ellis is averaging 25.6 points per game -- third best in the league and ahead of Bryant's fourth-ranked 25.2 points per game average.

Bryant, who recently moved into ninth place on the all-time NBA scoring list, had high praise for Ellis.

"He’s a fantastic player," Bryant said. "Offensively, he’s complete. He can shoot the long ball, which he’s really improved on. He can get to the rim, obviously, and he has a mid-range game as well. So he’s a complete offensive player."

Jackson wasn't too thrilled with how Bryant fared guarding that complete offensive player, however.

"I wasn’t very happy with some of the defense Kobe played on Ellis," Jackson said.

6

Here's a connection between the two teams you probably didn't know about: Artest played in pick-up games this past summer with L.A. native Dorell Wright at HAX in Hawthorne, Calif.

"I remember I thought about and he was improving," Artest said. "I was like, ‘Wow, this guy’s gotten better.’ He’s shown it this year."

Wright, you leads the league with 103 3-pointers made, hit five from deep Wednesday en route to 27 points.

7

After the rowdy game Artest played against his hometown Knicks on Sunday, drawing a technical foul in the first quarter and a flagrant in the third, Ron Ron vowed not to show that side of him on the basketball court anymore. Here is my story on Artest's promised transformation.
8


Before we get to the stats of the night in No. 9, here is a number worth a spot of its own. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Lakers win against the Warriors was a historic achievement in their Pacific Division Dating back to March 24, 2008, the Lakers have now won their last 12 games against Golden State. rivalry. The Lakers-Warriors rivalry dates back to 1948 when the teams were located in Minneapolis and Philadelphia, respectively. The Lakers, who now lead the all-time series, 240-147, matched the longest winning streak for either team in the rivalry's history Wednesday. The Minneapolis Lakers defeated the Philadelphia Warriors 12 straight times from 1952 to 1954.

9

Quote of the night: "Luckily we didn’t think that we did anything special [Tuesday] night or we would have lost this game." -- Artest on the Lakers not losing focus after drubbing the Cavs by 55 points.

10

Stats of the night: The Lakers had 13 turnovers through the first three quarters and just one in the fourth ... Ellis and Wright both played the full 48 minutes for the game … The Lakers outrebounded the Warriors 47-27 ... The Lakers have now won six games in a row and seven out of eight since Andrew Bynum returned to the starting lineup ... L.A. is now 7-1 on the second night of back-to-backs this season.

Dave McMenamin covers the Lakers for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.

Dave McMenamin

ESPNLosAngeles.com

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Nick Young
PTS AST STL MIN
17.9 1.5 0.7 28.3
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Hill 7.4
AssistsK. Bryant 6.3
StealsK. Bryant 1.2
BlocksW. Johnson 1.0