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Kobe Bryant's near triple-double isn't enough for Lakers

Bryant's 36 points, nine rebounds and 11 assists once again show he's working through his knee problems, but Andrew Bynum's knee seems to make him struggle even more.

May 23, 2010|By Mike Bresnahan

Reporting from Phoenix -- Kobe Bryant kept scoring. And rebounding. And picking up assists.

He finished with 36 points, nine rebounds and 11 assists, one rebound short of a triple-double, and it was all for nothing.

"He was awesome," forward Lamar Odom said slowly, almost sadly. "Tremendous ballgame."

Bryant was one of the few Lakers who played well in a 118-109 loss to the Phoenix Suns in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals.

He made 13 of 24 shots, all eight of his free throws , and was a one-man source of offense Sunday, be it by scoring or distributing.

Andrew Bynum's right knee seems to only get worse, but Bryant is obviously over his knee issues, coming up with his eighth solid game in a row.

He is averaging 32.3 points, 9.7 assists and 6.3 rebounds in the conference finals, stats that would top just about any fantasy league.

He wasn't angry after the loss. More like a little morose.

"It happens," he said flatly. "Win some, you lose some."

Bryant was more animated in other areas, particularly when asked about Suns forward-center Amare Stoudemire, who rebounded from two poor games with a 42-point, 11-rebound effort Sunday.

"He wasn't going to come out here and roll over," Bryant said. "I saw this coming. Still in all, we could have done a much better job keeping them off the free-throw line. They made 37. That's way too many. So even though Amare had an explosive game, we feel like we gave them way too many easy points at the free-throw line."

How can the Lakers improve?

"Stop hacking," Bryant said. "It's as simple as that. Play fundamentally sound. Make them take tough shots."

The Lakers made 16 of 20 from the free-throw line, the Suns 37 of 42.

More Twitter issues

Odom wasn't happy with the original Twitter dispatch by ESPN columnist Bill Simmons. He's not thrilled by the apology, either.

On Saturday morning, Simmons wrote on his Twitter feed that a friend saw Odom out at a club at 3:44 a.m. The kicker: It allegedly happened in New York.

Turns out Odom was home in Los Angeles this weekend and said Simmons' dispatch was a "stupid tweet."

Simmons, who has an enviable 1.2 million followers on Twitter, sent out a correction, writing it was the first time "I've ever tweeted bad info: Lamar Odom was in LA last night [his clone was in NYC]. Sorry. Fining my friend Will 100k."

To which Odom replied on his own Twitter account: "I don't think that was a formal enough apology Mr. Simmons."

To be continued?

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