Regular Season Series (Game 4 of 4)

Series starts 11/15

Game 1: Friday, November 15th
Game 2: Tuesday, December 10th
Game 3: Wednesday, January 22nd
Game 4: Wednesday, April 16th

Lakers 117

(50-32, 19-22 away)

Warriors 111

(38-44, 24-17 home)

    Coverage: FSBAY

    7:30 PM ET, April 16, 2003

    ORACLE Arena, Oakland, CA

    1 2 3 4 T
    LAL 28 32 31 26117
    GS 26 30 31 24111

    Top Performers

    LAL: K. Bryant 44 Pts, 6 Reb, 4 Ast

    GS: G. Arenas 33 Pts, 7 Reb, 5 Ast

    Bryant scores 44 points to lead Lakers to win

    OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Kobe Bryant made some franchise history and the Lakers finished the regular season by moving up a spot for the playoffs.

    Kobe Bryant

    Bryant scored 44 points as the Lakers defeated the Golden State Warriors 117-111 on Wednesday night, earning the fifth seed in the Western Conference.

    Bryant became just the third Laker to average 30 points in a season, joining Elgin Baylor and Jerry West, by scoring 40 or more for the 19th time this season.

    "It feels good. It's something I never thought about,'' Bryant said. "It's been a crazy year. You continue to work hard and all of a sudden you look up and you're setting records.''

    Shaquille O'Neal recorded his 46th double-double of the season with 27 points and 12 rebounds for the Lakers, who will face fourth-seeded Minnesota in the first round of the playoffs. The Lakers, winners of 11 of their last 13, grabbed the fifth spot after the Los Angeles Clippers defeated Portland earlier Wednesday, dropping the Trail Blazers to sixth place.

    "That's what we played for,'' Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "We wanted to play to win. We try to set a mind-set about going out and playing hard every night. It's important to finish strong and we stayed focused.''

    Gilbert Arenas scored 33 points for the Warriors, who lost their fourth straight. Mike Dunleavy added a career-high 21 points and Jason Richardson finished with 19. Antawn Jamison had 15 points and 10 rebounds.

    Los Angeles knew it was headed for the playoffs two weeks ago. The only mystery left for the Lakers was where they would head to open the playoffs on Sunday. After the Timberwolves won earlier in the evening, the choice was Dallas or Minnesota.

    "Minnesota is our first test,'' O'Neal said. "Mr. (Kevin) Garnett has something to prove and we have something to prove. It should be a good series.''

    Golden State was eliminated from playoff contention on Friday despite its best season in nine years. The Warriors improved by 17 games, third best in team history.

    "At the beginning of the season we lost eight straight and were one and something,'' Arenas said. "Then Earl (Boykins) came and gave us that extra spark for the season. You could see it in the first game against San Antonio. We were hanging in against good teams. Then you see Earl and you pick up on what he does.''

    The Lakers took a 91-87 lead into the final quarter as Bryant scored the final five points of the quarter.

    Golden State fell behind by nine early in the fourth quarter but rallied to tie the game at 100 when Dunleavy hit a short jumper with 7:12 remaining to play.

    The lead changed hands five times in the next three minutes before the Lakers began to take control after Bryant kicked off a 12-0 run that gave Los Angeles a 117-106 lead with less than a minute to play.

    Bryant sank a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Lakers a 60-56 halftime lead.

    Game notes

    The Warriors announced they would not renew the contract of assistant general manager Gary Fitzsimmons. ... Warriors F Troy Murphy served his one-game suspension for his altercation with L.A. Clippers Sean Rooks on Monday. ... Jackson said he would be surprised if Michael Jordan attempted another comeback. "He feels he's accomplished something,'' Jackson said. ... The Lakers, who won just five of their first 20 games on the road, will try to become the fourth team to win an NBA title with a losing road record. ... The Warriors drew a franchise record crowd of 20,234. ... The Warriors starting five of Murphy, Jamison, Richardson, Arenas and Erick Dampier started 79 games, matching the most in team history since the franchise moved to Oakland.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 117 111
    FGM-FGA 42-91 (.462) 41-90 (.456)
    3PM-3PA 8-19 (.421) 9-25 (.360)
    FTM-FTA 25-31 (.806) 20-28 (.714)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 16-48 15-49
    Assists 26 19
    Turnovers 9 13
    Steals 7 7
    Blocks 6 10
    Fast Break Points 7 5
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 23 (1/0) 25 (0/0)

    Top Performers

    Los Angeles
    Golden State
    Kobe Bryant Bryant
    Points: 44
    Reb: 6
    Ast: 4
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 0
    Gilbert Arenas Arenas
    Points: 33
    Reb: 7
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 0