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Kobe Bryant is off, but others are on as Lakers win

He scores only 12 points in one of his worst shooting games, but Andrew Bynum, Jordan Farmar and Shannon Brown step up in 95-77 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks.

January 11, 2010|By Mike Bresnahan

Kobe Bryant has made plenty of history with the Lakers, be it an 81-point game, an entire chapter of game-winning shots and, above all, an overall performance level that has netted him 11 All-Star appearances and four championships rings.

He made history of a different type Sunday against the Milwaukee Bucks, making four of 21 shots (19%) in one of his worst shooting games ever.

Good thing he had Andrew Bynum and a couple of keyed-up reserve guards as teammates.

Bynum had 17 points and a career-high 18 rebounds, and Shannon Brown and Jordan Farmar combined for 36 points in the Lakers' 95-77 victory over Milwaukee at Staples Center.

Bryant finished with 12 points in what is believed to be the second-worst shooting game of his career when taking more than 15 shots. He was two for 16 (12.5%) in the Lakers' 82-72 loss to Memphis on Dec. 20, 2004.

He missed his first nine shots and didn't score a basket until a fastbreak layup with 2 minutes 12 seconds left in the second quarter.

Maybe his finger is affecting him more than he's saying publicly, though he was pretty public when asked whether it played into his shooting woes Sunday.

"I tried to play with the splint off," Bryant said. "I put it back on in the second half. I was just trying to get a little bit more flexibility back. The finger felt pretty good, so we tried to go without the splint. It's just not strong enough yet."

He had held up well since suffering an avulsion fracture in his right index finger exactly one month ago but was 10 for 30 (33.3%) against the Clippers on Wednesday and 14 for 37 (37.8%) against Portland on Friday.

Bynum, meanwhile, has three consecutive double-doubles after going 23 games in a row without even one.

And in words that had never been written, Brown was the Lakers' leading scorer, making eight of 12 shots and finishing with 19 points. Farmar had 17 points on five-for-eight shooting.

The game plodded along, the Lakers winning mainly because their shooting was slightly less askew than the Bucks', when their reserves picked it up with a push near the end of the third quarter.

Adam Morrison made a three-point basket, followed by one from Lamar Odom, then a 17-foot shot by Farmar, a 17-foot shot by Brown and, the topper, a three-point basket from Brown from just inside half court that beat the end-of-the-quarter buzzer and put the Lakers up 65-46.

Brown added some highlight-worthy defense in the fourth quarter, blocking a layup try by Luke Ridnour and, on the same possession, blocking a layup try by Brandon Jennings.

Consecutive losses to the Clippers and Portland ignited the Lakers, Brown said.

"It's a big wake-up call," he said.

The Bucks were in a historical mood themselves, setting a team record for fewest points against the Lakers, undercutting their 82-point total in a 1973 game.

The Bucks made only 31 of 91 shots (34.1%). It didn't help that Michael Redd left in the second quarter because of what the Bucks said was knee soreness.

The Lakers were also short-handed, Pau Gasol sitting out a fourth consecutive game because of a strained left hamstring and Ron Artest leaving the game midway through the third quarter after complaining of dizziness, Coach Phil Jackson said.

Artest banged his head on the court after getting fouled by Redd 13 seconds into the game. After the game, Artest said he felt OK but acknowledged being "nervous" after taking a blow to the head four games into his return from a concussion.

For future reference, Bryant picked up his 10th technical foul while sitting on the bench and complaining to the referees with 3:45 left in the third quarter. He had just checked out of the game. He will be suspended by the NBA for one game if he gets 16 technical fouls in the regular season.

The Lakers now hit two parts of the Texas triangle, Tuesday at San Antonio and Wednesday at Dallas.

"The Texas trip is always one of the toughest to play in," said Bryant, putting a positive spin on the near future. "I look forward to it."

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