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Bryant scores 50 on 17-of-41 shooting in Lakers win

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The time off must have done Kobe Bryant a lot
of good.

Going on a scoring spree for the second night in a row, Bryant
had 50 points Saturday night to lead the Los Angeles Lakers to a
112-109 victory over the Clippers.

That ran his total to 98 points in two nights -- he had 48 in the
Lakers' win over Philadelphia in his first game back from a
two-game suspension.

He scored 40 second-half points against the Clippers, including
the first 11 points of the fourth quarter to rally the Lakers.

Bryant's fadeaway jumper in the lane with 12 seconds left put
them up by one. Smush Parker intercepted Shaun Livingston's pass
for Sam Cassell, and Parker's fast-break dunk with 4.4 seconds
remaining gave the Lakers a three-point pad.

"I can't fully take credit for that last move," Bryant said of
his go-ahead basket. "I stole it from Michael Vick, believe it or
not. I knew they were going to run over to double with (Chris)
Wilcox, so I picked up the blitz, threw a pump fake at the guy, got
him up in the air and went around him."

Bryant's key shot in traffic came 13 seconds after Elton Brand's
turnaround jumper from 7 feet put the Clippers in front 109-108.

The Clippers almost tied it at the end. Livingston drove inside
before passing out to Cuttino Mobley in the left corner, but Mobley
couldn't get off his 3-pointer before time expired. The shot went
in.

Brand said the Clippers should have played more aggressive
defense against Bryant.

"We needed to trap a little more and get the ball out of his
hands," Brand said. "That's what we did in the fourth quarter and
the end, and that's when we caught up."

Bryant hadn't played for eight days until the game against the
76ers. He was suspended without pay for two games for elbowing
Memphis' Mike Miller in the throat during the Lakers' 100-99
overtime loss on Dec. 30.

He had lots of energy in the second half against the Clippers.

"I saw that they kept switching players on me, and I could
sense fear in the first player that was guarding me," Bryant said.
"Once I started turning it up, they switched and brought another
player there, and I wanted to take him to that breaking point, and
the next one.

"My thing is, no matter who's guarding me, I believe that
you're going to crack before I will. I'm just going to keep on
pushing at you until you give in."

The Clippers had won their last three games against the Lakers,
who used to dominate them.

"I had a lot of people who are friends of mine calling me,
saying, `You guys have to win the game because I'm going to have to
hear all this blah, blah, blah," Bryant said. "So I'm getting it
from all sides. I mean, I can't go to the (coffee shop) without
people talking about it. So when that happens, you want to step up
and have a good showing."

The Lakers trailed 78-65 late in the third quarter before
beginning a 24-4 spurt to build an 89-82 lead on Bryant's scoring
spurt in the first 1½ minutes of the fourth.

Mobley scored 36 points for the Clippers, and Brand had 28
points and 10 rebounds.

With the Lakers down by four to start the fourth quarter, Bryant
hit a pair of 3-pointers, made a 20-footer, then added another
trey.

The Lakers suddenly were ahead by seven, after the Clippers
committed three turnovers in that short span.

Bryant, who went 7-for-7 from 3-point range against Philadelphia
a night earlier, was 1-of-4 from beyond the arc in the first half
and 2-of-12 from the floor.

But he found the range in the third quarter and scored 18
points. He finished the game 7-of-15 from 3-point range and
17-of-41 overall.

Game notes
Bryant has scored 50 or more points twice this season,
including a 62-point game. He has scored 50 or more seven times in
his career. ... Livingston said of the Clippers' final shot: "That
play seemed like it ran fast. I thought 4.4 seconds was a lot of
time, but it just ran down on us."