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Lakers hold on to defeat Nets, 91-87

The Lakers get a look at how difficult life can be without Andrew Bynum, who did not play because of an ankle injury. New Jersey nearly rallies back from a 17-point deficit.

April 03, 2012|By Ben Bolch
  • New Jersey's Sundiata Gaines, left, tries to shoot over Lakers forward Josh McRoberts during the first half of Tuesday's game.
New Jersey's Sundiata Gaines, left, tries to shoot over Lakers forward… (Michael Nelson / EPA )

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Life without the mercurial Andrew Bynum might include fewer headaches, but it also has severe drawbacks.

The Lakers certainly had all sorts of defensive issues for much of a 91-87 victory over the New Jersey Nets on Tuesday night at Staples Center that had the makings of another homecourt disaster.

The Nets trimmed a onetime 17-point deficit to one, and it appeared they might have a chance to win after officials ruled the ball went out of bounds on the Lakers' Matt Barnes with 10.8 seconds left and New Jersey trailing only 88-87.

But officials reviewed the play during a timeout and overturned the call after seeing that the ball grazed the shorts of New Jersey's Deron Williams on its way out of bounds.

With only a few seconds on the shot clock, Kobe Bryant took a pass from Barnes and spotted up for a three-pointer that bounced around before falling through the rim to give the Lakers a 91-87 advantage. Bryant held his follow-through until the ball reached its intended destination.

One statistic might have best illustrated how much the Lakers missed Bynum, who sat out the game because of a sprained left ankle: They did not record their first second-chance points until forward Troy Murphy made a putback with 5 minutes 27 seconds left in the game.

Barnes and Pau Gasol then each missed point-blank tip-ins less than a minute later and the Lakers finished the game with only the one second-chance basket.

The Lakers managed to persevere nevertheless, with Gasol logging 22 points and 12 rebounds and Bryant scoring 24 points on 10-for-16 shooting.

Williams had 20 points for the Nets, who also received 19 points from Gerald Wallace and 18 points and 15 rebounds from Kris Humphries.

Lakers 78, Nets 66 (end of third quarter)

Metta World Peace to the rescue?

It cetainly looked that way late in the third quarter, when the Lakers' small forward hit back-to-back three-pointers after the New Jersey Nets had crawled back into the game with a 9-0 run.

World Peace's three-pointers, his first baskets of the game, gave the Lakers a 78-62 lead.

Pau Gasol leads the Lakers with 20 points and seven rebounds and Kobe Bryant has 19 points on eight-for-14 shooting. The Lakers' shooting cooled a bit in the quarter as they have now made 33 of 61 shots (54.1%) overall.

Gasol received a technical foul early in the quarter after pushing the Nets' Kris Humphries in the back as Bryant hoised a three-pointer. It was a rough quarter for Humphries, who also tipped a Ramon Sessions shot that appeared to be bouncing off the rim back into the basket.

Humphries has 14 points and 11 rebounds for the Nets. The onetime spouse of faux celebrity Kim Kardashian for 72 days has been booed when his name was announced or when he shot free throws.

Lakers 58, Nets 45 (halftime)

The Lakers haven't missed Andrew Bynum, or many shots.

Playing the New Jersey Nets helps.

Pau Gasol has scored 18 points on nine-for-13 shooting to lead the Lakers, who are playing with center Andrew Bynum sidelined by a sprained left ankle. The Lakers made 25 of 38 shots (65.8%), with Kobe Bryant (12 points) making five of nine and Ramon Sessions (12 points) making four of six.

Sessions also has eight assists and three rebounds for the Lakers, who have held the Nets to 40.5% shooting but have committed 10 turnovers to keep New Jersey within striking distance.

Neither team apparently believes in second chances because they have combined for zero second-chance points in 24 minutes.

Gerald Green leads the Nets with 13 points.

Lakers 32, Nets 23 (end of first quarter)

One 7-footer proved to be enough for the Lakers in the early going.

Pau Gasol made all four of his shots in the first quarter for the hot-shooting Lakers, who withstood the absence of center Andrew Bynum (sprained ankle) largely by making 10 of their first 12 shots Tuesday night at Staples Center against the New Jersey Nets.

Gasol had eight points and two rebounds in eight first-quarter minutes. Josh McRoberts, starting in place of Bynum, had four points and three rebounds in the quarter, including a buzzer-beating long jumper that had the crowd roaring.

The Lakers ended the quarter making a robust 15 of 20 shots (75%), double the accuracy of the Nets, who made nine of 24 shots (37.5%).

Gerald Green had eight points off the bench to lead the Nets.

Bynum was sidelined by the moderately sprained left ankle he sustained Sunday against the Golden State Warriors. He will not play against the Nets and his status against the Clippers on Wednesday remained unclear.


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