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Bryant posts second straight triple-double in win

11/4/2002

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- For a brief moment, the seemingly
always-poised Kobe Bryant was at a loss for words.

Bryant had his second straight triple-double Sunday night to
lead the Los Angeles Lakers to a 98-95 overtime victory over the
Portland Trail Blazers.

When informed afterward he was the first Lakers player to
accomplish such a feat since Hall of Famer Magic Johnson in March
1991, Bryant hesitated before saying: "That's great company, to be
mentioned with the Magic man. I don't even know what to say about
that.''

Bryant had 33 points, 14 rebounds and 12 assists two nights
after getting 33 points, a career-high 15 rebounds and 12 assists
in a 108-93 victory over the Clippers.

"He's playing out of his mind,'' Portland's Scottie Pippen said
following Bryant's fifth career triple-double.

The 37-year-old Pippen won six championship rings while playing
with Michael Jordan for the Phil Jackson-coached Chicago Bulls in
the 1990s.

The 24-year-old Bryant has helped the Jackson-coached Lakers win
three straight titles.

"I thought he looked a little fatigued in the third quarter,
but he got his teammates involved,'' Jackson said of Bryant, who
played 50 of a possible 53 minutes. "He seemed comfortable playing
the entire second half and overtime. That's what I'm concerned
about.

"It's fortunate that he responded and had such a great game.''

The Lakers again played without Shaquille O'Neal, on the injured
list while recovering from surgery on his right big toe, and Rick
Fox, suspended for six games for his fight with Sacramento's Doug
Christie during the preseason.

Bryant and Devean George, who scored six of his career-high 25
points in overtime, picked up the slack.

"Big game by George, by George,'' Jackson said with a smile.

"This was a game we needed -- they got us up in Portland,''
George said, referring to the Blazers' 102-90 victory over the
Lakers last Wednesday night. "We got down, but we didn't put our
heads down.''

A steal and dunk by Ruben Patterson with 5:11 left in the fourth
quarter gave the Blazers a 77-69 lead -- the largest lead of the
game for either team -- before the Lakers came back.

Two baskets by George and a 3-pointer by Brian Shaw gave the
Lakers a 92-85 lead with 3:13 left in overtime.

But the Blazers fought back, and a three-point play by Derek
Anderson with 1:48 remaining drew them within one.

Bryant made a basket and Anderson, who scored eight of his 24
points in overtime, made two free throws before George hit a pair
of foul shots with 16.7 seconds left to complete the scoring.

Pippen missed a 3-pointer with about 5 seconds left and Bryant
got the rebound. The Blazers didn't have time to foul before the
game ended.

Anderson made a 22-foot jumper as time expired to tie it at 85
and force overtime.

Bryant, who scored 15 points in the fourth quarter, made two
free throws with 4.5 seconds left to cap a 12-3 run and give the
Lakers a two-point lead, but Anderson connected over George from
the top of the key -- just inside the 3-point line -- to force the
overtime.

"It's hard to swallow, man,'' Anderson said. "It's one of
those games that I loved being a part of, but I wish I was on the
other side.

"They stayed together. They're three-time defending champions,
they hit some big shots.''

Shaw added 14 points for the Lakers.

Damon Stoudamire and Rasheed Wallace each scored 16 points, and
Patterson added 15 for the Blazers.

The Blazers were without Arvydas Sabonis, who strained his right
hamstring Saturday night in a 96-79 loss to Denver.

"There was a contrast from the other night to compete on a
competitive level,'' Blazers coach Maurice Cheeks said. "We
competed to the highest level tonight. In that respect, I am a
happy man. Obviously, we didn't get the win, so I'm disappointed in
that.''

Game notes
O'Neal is eligible to come off the injured list Thursday
night at Boston, but it's likely he'll play his first game of the
season Nov. 12 against Atlanta or Nov. 15 against Golden State. ...
Fox is eligible to return Friday night at Washington. ... The game
was the fourth in five nights for the Blazers. ... Jackson said
forward Mark Madsen, on the injured list with a strained left
hamstring, had a setback Thursday, hurting himself in practice.
"It wasn't the same injury, it was a different part of the muscle
he tweaked a little bit,'' Jackson said. ... The game was the
second half of an NBA doubleheader at Staples Center -- the Clippers
beat the Detroit Pistons 74-72 in the opener. ... The Lakers and
Blazers have split their four regular-season games the last five
seasons and in six of the last seven. But the Lakers have
eliminated the Blazers from the playoffs five of the last six
years, winning 16 games and losing only five.