OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Nothing could stop Kobe Bryant from
acting like an airplane.
Bryant scored 10 of his 38 points the final 4½ minutes, and
Smush Parker added career highs of 24 points and 12 rebounds in the
Los Angeles Lakers' 110-104 victory over slumping Golden State on
Jason Richardson scored a season-high 37 points and Baron Davis
got his fifth career triple-double for the Warriors, but Parker and
Kwame Brown kept it close until Bryant took over yet another fourth
quarter with four quick baskets in a tight game.
The last jumper put Los Angeles up 108-102 with 1:17 to play,
essentially clinching its fifth victory in six games. Bryant, his
wrist still aching and his peripheral vision hurt by an earlier
elbow from Mike Dunleavy, soared back to the Lakers bench in his
arms-spread imitation of an airplane -- a once-frequent celebration
he hadn't used since last season.
"Yeah, I broke it out," Bryant said with a grin. "It's fun
for us. The guys get hyped about that. That was kind of a
backbreaker, so that was the airplane."
Bryant finally is feeling fairly good, despite his nagging
injuries and the weight of the one-man show on his shoulders. With
two late free throws, the NBA scoring leader fell just short of
scoring 40 points for the sixth time in seven games -- despite a
sore wrist wrapped in a makeshift brace.
"It's a Gary Vitti special," Bryant said, referring to the
Lakers trainer. "I can play through that stuff. Hey, man,
somebody's got to take a beating."
Bryant even got testy with Dunleavy midway through the third
quarter. When Dunleavy elbowed Bryant in the right eye while trying
to block the Los Angeles superstar's layup attempt, Bryant screamed
and pointed at Dunleavy before Davis separated them.
"He knew what he did," Bryant said, adding he was hit on his
brace at least four times. "When he hit me, he knew what was going
to happen. It just sharpened my focus."
Bryant clearly wasn't looking ahead to Monday, when Shaquille
O'Neal returns to face the Lakers at Staples Center for the second
time since getting traded to Miami.
"I don't think it's a story," Bryant said. "The guy's in
Miami. I mean, who ... cares?"
Brown had a season-high 18 points and 12 rebounds for the
Golden State lost its fifth straight, falling two games under
.500 for the first time this season.
Neither team took a double-digit lead in the longtime California
rivals' first meeting of the season, but the Lakers pulled ahead
102-96 with 4:27 to play on Parker's three-point play and Bryant's
"Usually, I have big quarters," Parker said. "Tonight, my
points were spread out. ... We're finally starting to come together
and play team D. We're starting to execute on offense a little
Golden State got within four points when Parker missed two free
throws with 28 seconds left, but the Warriors then missed three
shots on the same possession to end it.
"There were times when we needed to make a stop, and they
scored on us," Richardson said. "We played a good game. We came
in ready to play. Now we need to get to that (next) level. We need
to find a way to get a stop."
Davis had 24 points, 13 assists and a career-high 11 rebounds
for the Warriors' first triple-double since Mookie Blaylock did it
on March 24, 2001. Richardson hit five 3-pointers, but couldn't
come through in the final minutes.
The Warriors are in a prolonged skid for the first time since
acquiring Davis at last season's trade deadline. Golden State's
offense, never fluid even when it was winning, has degenerated into
48 minutes of spot-up jumpers and poor rebounding.
"Obviously at the end of the game when they needed buckets,
certainly Kobe was the guy who made every shot he took," Warriors
coach Mike Montgomery said. "That's why he's so good."
Richardson scored 23 points and Davis added 17 in a first half
nearly free of defense. Bryant's 18 kept Los Angeles within 60-59
at halftime, with Parker getting 17 points and Brown matching his
season high by halftime with 12 points on 6-of-7 shooting.
Mickael Pietrus scored two points on 1-of-6 shooting in his
return to the Warriors' lineup. Pietrus missed the last 23 games
since Nov. 21 with a sprained ligament in his right knee, though he
also returned to the court wearing a large sleeve on his left
elbow. ... Lamar Odom couldn't score until a twisting layup with
6:52 left in the third quarter -- and he never scored again. ... The
Warriors packed 20,179 fans into the Arena for the seventh-biggest
crowd in history.