Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 4)

Series starts 1/7

Game 1: Tuesday, January 7th
Game 2: Sunday, February 23rd
Game 3: Friday, February 28th
Game 4: Sunday, March 30th

SuperSonics 101

(23-31, 11-19 away)

Lakers 106

(30-25, 19-10 home)

    Coverage: FSW

    6:30 PM ET, February 23, 2003

    STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA

    1 2 3 4 T
    SEA 28 29 22 22101
    LAL 24 38 23 21106

    Top Performers

    Seattle: R. Allen 26 Pts, 13 Reb, 9 Ast, 3 Stl

    Los Angeles: S. O'Neal 27 Pts, 17 Reb, 4 Ast, 1 Blk

    Lakers move into seventh place in Western Conference

    LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Now that he's tied MJ, Kobe Bryant can set his sights on Wilt.

    Kobe Bryant

    Bryant scored 41 points Sunday night to make it nine straight games in which he's reached 40 as the Los Angeles Lakers beat Seattle 106-101 despite a near triple-double by Ray Allen in his first game with the SuperSonics.

    Bryant equaled Michael Jordan's best streak of scoring at least 40 points, accomplished in the 1986-87 season.

    The only player with longer streaks of 40 or more is Wilt Chamberlain. The NBA's fourth-leading career scorer did so in 14 consecutive games twice in the 1961-62 season and in 10 straight the following season.

    While Bryant's achievement is remarkable, his performance down the stretch against the Sonics wasn't pretty.

    After making two foul shots with 4:32 remaining to give him 39 points and the Lakers a 101-90 lead, Bryant missed six shots -- several of them forced -- before making two more free throws with 23.6 seconds left.

    "Well, I wasn't sure if Kobe was going to chase that 40 points so bad that he was going to cut our chances out there at the end of the game," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "It got a little tenuous."

    While Bryant was misfiring, the Sonics moved within five points three times. But that was as close as they would get.

    "It's all about winning games," said Shaquille O'Neal, who had 27 points and all but two of his 17 rebounds in the second half. "When you win, nothing's a problem."

    When asked whether Bryant was forcing shots toward the end, O'Neal replied: "I wasn't looking."

    And then he smiled.

    "The crowd was really into it. The opposition was going to do everything in their power to stop me from getting it," Bryant said. "I took us out of our system, but that's such a tough challenge to back down from. I had to apologize to my teammates."

    Bryant shot 13-of-34 including 1-of-6 from 3-point range and made 14 of 16 free throws while playing 42 minutes.

    He has scored at least 35 points in 13 consecutive games. Again, Chamberlain is the only player ahead of him in that department, having accomplished that feat in 33, 23 and 20 straight games.

    Allen defended Bryant's late-game shooting barrage.

    "If it were me, I would have done the same thing," Allen said. "That's something that when he's old and gray, he won't be able to do any of this anymore, so he's got to take advantage of it. So more power to him."

    Devean George had 14 points for the Lakers, who have won four straight games and 11 of 13. Their latest victory moved them a season-high five games over .500 and past Phoenix into seventh place in the Western Conference.

    Allen had 26 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists, leaving him one assist shy of his second career triple-double.

    His rebounding total equaled a career high and his assist total tied a season high.

    The Sonics acquired Allen and two others for Gary Payton and Desmond Mason on Thursday.

    "I'm like a rookie all over again," Allen said. "I'm excited about this team. We didn't win the game, but we put some good basketball out there on the floor. A lot of guys played well for us."

    Allen didn't know he was one assist shy of a triple-double until the game was over. He got his ninth assist with 7:02 remaining.

    "I wish somebody would have told me that and yelled to me on the floor," he said. "I would have done everything I could to pass it."

    Rashard Lewis had 28 points and eight rebounds and Peja Drobnjak added 16 points for the Sonics, who lost for the eighth time in 11 games.

    Game notes

    Jackson is scheduled to have a kidney stone removed Monday. He hopes to be on the bench Tuesday night when the Lakers face the Clippers and Bryant attempts to make it 10 straight games of 40 or more points. ... Lakers F Samaki Walker missed his second game because of a sprained right ankle. ... The game was also the first in a Seattle uniform for Kevin Ollie, acquired in the Allen deal, and Elden Campbell, who came to the Sonics from New Orleans for Kenny Anderson. Ollie had two points in 13 minutes and Campbell had four points in 10 minutes. ... The Lakers and Sonics meet again Friday night in Seattle. ... Lakers rookie Kareem Rush had a career-high seven assists in 15 minutes. ... The Lakers' franchise record for 40-point games is 23 set by Elgin Baylor in the 1962-63 season. Bryant has done it 17 times this season.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 101 106
    FGM-FGA 34-84 (.405) 38-87 (.437)
    3PM-3PA 7-28 (.250) 4-20 (.200)
    FTM-FTA 26-32 (.813) 26-32 (.813)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 18-41 18-48
    Assists 20 28
    Turnovers 18 11
    Steals 7 10
    Blocks 3 5
    Fast Break Points 5 5
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 25 (0/0) 25 (1/0)

    Top Performers

    Los Angeles
    Ray Allen Allen
    Points: 26
    Reb: 13
    Ast: 9
    Stl: 3
    Blk: 0
    Shaquille O'Neal O'Neal
    Points: 27
    Reb: 17
    Ast: 4
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 1