Bryant scored 29 points, and the Lakers limited Tim Duncan to
only 12 Friday night in a 100-92 victory over the Spurs.
The Spurs, who arrived from Thursday's game in Phoenix at 3:30
a.m., dropped a half-game behind Dallas for the lead in the
Southwest Division and the best record in the Western Conference.
The Spurs (48-14) have lost two of their last three games after
winning seven straight.
"That's the attrition of the schedule in this league," Lakers
coach Phil Jackson said. "Playing back-to-backs like that (on
consecutive nights) can throw a team off.
"The Spurs are a strong team with a deep bench, so this is
still a good win for us and probably tough for them to digest."
Bryant, who averages 35.4 points per game, broke open the
contest by hitting five straight shots over a span of 6:36 in the
second quarter. That erased a four-point Spurs lead and helped Los
Angeles to a 51-37 halftime advantage.
The Lakers (33-30) have won four of five.
The Lakers held the Spurs to 13 points in the second quarter.
Bryant also scored 13 in the quarter on 5-of-10 shooting after
scoring only three in the first quarter. The Spurs went 4-of-16.
"I didn't shoot well for three-fourths of the game," Bryant
said. "I've had some games like that where I don't start off well,
but I know if I stay within the game and keep shooting I can get
hot at the end."
The Lakers led by as much as 18. When the Spurs trimmed it to 10
early in the fourth quarter, Bryant hit three of his next five
shots to give the Lakers a 13-point advantage with 5 minutes left.
San Antonio got the deficit down to nine points with 4:12 to go,
but Bryant hit two of his next four shots.
"We didn't play aggressively in the second quarter," Spurs
reserve guard Brent Barry said. "The game doesn't allow you to
mess around. As hard as we played in the second half, it didn't
make a difference."
Bryant shot 11-for-29, while Duncan went 5-for-12 in 32 minutes.
Barry and Michael Finley came off the bench to lead San Antonio
with 16 points apiece. Barry played 18 minutes while recording a
season-high in points.
After Bryant's second-quarter spurt, the Spurs trailed by a
double-digit margin until just more than 4 minutes remained in the
The Lakers showed more energy on the boards. Los Angeles
outrebounded the Spurs 51-41, including an 11-5 advantage in
Lamar Odom added nine assists to his eight rebounds.
"Offensive rebounding is always an emphasis for us," Spurs
coach Gregg Popovich said. "But the Lakers got some in critical
situations in the second half."
Los Angeles built a seven-point lead 9 minutes into the game,
even though Bryant had taken just two shots.
The Spurs erased that lead and went ahead 28-24 when they
connected on four of five 3-point shots over the next 3:19.
The Spurs finished the final 10 minutes of the first half by
missing 11 of 14 shots from the floor.
Jackson passed Jack Ramsey for ninth on the NBA career list
of coaching victories with his 865th win. ... The Lakers won for
the first time in three tries against San Antonio this season after
going 0-4 against the Spurs last season. ... Lakers forward Devean
George missed his second straight game with a severe sprain of his