Despite head coach Mike Brown’s decision to bench center Andrew Bynum for much of the second half, the Los Angeles Lakers (31-19) defeated the Golden State Warriors (20-28) last night, 104-101.
After the first quarter, the Lakers took a 25-16 lead on strong performances from Kobe Bryant (eight points, three assists), Andrew Bynum (eight points), and Pau Gasol (eight rebounds).
In the second, neither team played much defense as the Warriors outscored the Lakers, 32-30, for a score of 55-48 with the Lakers still in control.
The third quarter was a wash, with the Lakers maintaining their seven point lead, 79-72. However, at the beginning of the third period, Andrew Bynum hoisted up an ill-advised three-point attempt which resulted in his benching for mostly the rest of the game.
The fourth quarter was a battle, as the Warriors took a 97-95 lead with less than two minutes left to play. But then, the Black Mamba–who had been famously benched for a crucial stretch during Sunday night’s game–went to work. He hit a jumper from just inside the three-point arc, evening the score at 97-97. Then, on the very next possession, Metta World Peace made a crucial defensive play, and knocked the ball off of his opponent, placing the ball back in the Lakers’ hands. Kobe hit yet another crucial shot from a similar spot, but much tougher, placing his team up, 99-97 with seconds left. After playing the free throw game for a bit, the Lakers solidified their win and walked away with a 104-101 victory.
Bryant led the Lakers in scoring with 30 points (on 9-24 shooting), five rebounds, and five assists. Pau Gasol played very well and notched 19 points, 17 rebounds, and three assists while Matt Barnes provided a huge contribution off the bench with 18 points, 10 rebounds, and three assists in 30 minutes. Metta World Peace, who played a solid overall game, tallied 11 points, five rebounds (four offensive), and three assists. Andrew Bynum scored 11 points (on 4-13 shooting) but grabbed just five rebounds in 23 minutes of play. Ramon Sessions had a relatively quiet night with seven points, five rebounds, and four rebounds while Josh McRoberts scored six points and Steve Blake scored just two.
As for the Warriors, Brandon Rush (9-15 from the field) and David Lee (nine rebounds, four assists) led the way with 23 points apiece. Rookie Klay Thompson also had a big night, notching 20 points, seven assists, and five rebounds while also guarding Kobe Bryant for much of the night. Dorell Wright had 13 points while Charles Jenkins scored 12, and Richard Jefferson scored six points. Dominic McGuire was a contributor off the bench with four points, seven rebounds, and five assists.
Now, let’s break down the victory.
Next Page: The Breakdown