7:00 PM ET, February 1, 2008
Air Canada Centre, Toronto, ON
"We understood that this was a game that we had to get and we came out with a lot of energy," Bryant said. "That being said, I think everybody is a little excited about the opportunity that we have in front of us."
The 40-Point Club
Kobe Bryant scored 46 points in the Lakers' 121-101 win over the Raptors for his 89th career 40-point night. With Friday's effort, Bryant passed Lakers legend Elgin Baylor on the all-time 40-point game list, but has a ways to go to the top.
|Player||Number of 40-point games|
Gasol will undergo a physical Saturday in Los Angeles and could make his Lakers debut Sunday at Washington. The former All-Star could make the Lakers one of the NBA's elite teams.
"We don't want Pau to have any pressure on him when he comes in," said forward Lamar Odom, who had 12 points and 10 rebounds. "We just want him to play his game any way he can. I'm pretty sure that will be easy for him.
"He's going to help us in every aspect," Odom added. "There's nothing he can't do."
There was little Bryant couldn't do against the Raptors, leaving the crowd gasping with six dunks, including one over Toronto's Carlos Delfino in the second quarter and a one-handed jam in the fourth.
"He's the best one-on-one player in the league, hands down," Toronto forward Chris Bosh said. "It makes it tougher on us to help because he wasn't really selfish with the ball tonight. He played a great game."
Bryant slapped hands with fans seated next to the Lakers' bench when he was subbed out with less than 30 seconds to play.
"We only come here once a year," Bryant said. "For some people, it's the only chance they get to see me. Sometimes it's the first time, so I want to make sure that I go out and put on a good performance."
Bryant shot 19-for-28, including 4-for-8 from 3-point range, and added seven rebounds and five assists.
"I was just reading the defense," Bryant said. "The fact that they were honoring our shooters made it easy for me to get to the basket and I just kept attacking. The times that they closed off the lanes, I kicked it out to our shooters and they were able to knock them down."
Kobe Bryant scored 46 points in the Lakers' 121-101 victory at Toronto. It was the third time that Bryant scored 40 or more points in nine games since Andrew Bynum was injured. Prior to that, Bryant had gone 35 starts without a 40-pointer, his longest streak since 2002. His scoring average since Bynum's injury is 34.0 points per game, second in the NBA during that time to LeBron James (34.7), with no other player within six points of either of them.
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"After losing in the fashion that we did [Thursday] night, being disappointed, we wanted to respond to that tonight," said guard Derek Fisher, who had 11.
Andrea Bargnani had a career-high 28 to lead Toronto in scoring for the second straight game.
"He's got that little look back in his eyes and he's starting to get his confidence back," Toronto coach Sam Mitchell said. "The thing I like is that he didn't settle every time. He drove to the basket, had four dunks on drives over people and we need him to continue to do that."
Bosh had 22 points and 15 rebounds for the Raptors, who lost for the first time in seven games at home.
Toronto trailed 77-66 late in the third but fought back with two baskets from Calderon, a 3-pointer by Delfino and two free throws from Bosh.
Ronny Turiaf ended the run with a pair of free throws and a layup before Bryant ended the quarter with a fadeaway 3-pointer, sending the Lakers into the fourth with an 83-77 edge.
"They played great defense on that sequence," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "It was just a better offensive play."
Jason Kapono began the fourth with a jumper that cut the gap to four, but Bryant converted a three-point play and the Raptors never threatened again.
Bryant scored a career-high 81 points against Toronto on Jan. 22, 2006. ... After trading Brown and Crittenton, the Lakers dressed Luke Walton (hip) to give them five players on the bench. Trevor Ariza (broken right foot) and Bynum did not dress. ... This was the second game of a nine-game road trip for the Lakers, who will not play at home again until Feb. 19.
Team Stat Comparison
|FGM-FGA||50-90 (.556)||37-85 (.435)|
|3PM-3PA||12-27 (.444)||9-21 (.429)|
|FTM-FTA||9-11 (.818)||18-21 (.857)|
|Fast Break Points||14||4|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||20 (0/0)||14 (0/0)|