YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Lakers' 99-87 win over Golden State is painless; so is Kobe Bryant

They cruise to win as Andrew Bynum (31 points, 12-of-14 shooting) and Pau Gasol (triple-double) can't be stopped. Bryant's return is likely after he successfully endures thorough workout that causes no pain to his shin.

April 18, 2012|By Mike Bresnahan

OAKLAND -- Good day for the Lakers.

They beat the short-handed Golden State Warriors, nobody could stop Andrew Bynum, and Kobe Bryant's seven-game run as an unofficial assistant coach probably came to an end.

Bynum had 31 points on 12-for-14 shooting as the Lakers plundered the woeful Warriors, 99-87, Wednesday at Oracle Arena.

A few hours before the game, Bryant successfully endured a thorough workout that included dozens of shots and full-speed running and jumping exercises that produced no pain in his sore left shin.

Assuming he felt no discomfort Thursday, he would return Friday against San Antonio.

"Why not?" Bryant said, adding that the final three regular-season games would give him "plenty of time" before the playoffs began. "I'm good."

Bryant continued to coach and cajole teammates from the sideline against the Warriors as the Lakers (40-23) improved to 5-2 without him.

Only one other time this season had a player scored more than 30 points and shot better than 85%, and that was also Bynum, against Utah last month (33 points, 12-for-14 shooting).

Bynum did not play in the fourth quarter Wednesday, a rare rest for a Lakers starter in a season that has been filled with close games. He also took nine rebounds and made all seven of his free-throw attempts.

Pau Gasol had his fifth career triple-double, amassing 22 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists. It was the most assists he ever had with the Lakers and was one shy of his career high.

Metta World Peace also continued to impress, scoring 18 points and handing out nine assists.

Bryant said it was "for sure" a good thing that he sat out so many games, listing the recent success of World Peace and Matt Barnes.

"The pieces around [Bynum and Gasol] have really stepped up and added more features to their game," he said.

The Lakers won for the 25th time in their last 28 games against the Warriors (22-39), who started four rookies Wednesday.

The Warriors didn't embarrass themselves in the first half, trailing only 56-48, but couldn't keep pace after that.

As the Lakers pulled away, it became more amusing to guess the ratio of Lakers to Warriors fans at the arena, an educated estimate falling at about 60%-40% in favor of Lakers fans.

If it didn't become evident from the loud reaction after Bynum's alley-oop dunk in the first quarter, it was obvious after a "Let's go Lakers" chant circulated briefly in the third quarter, followed later by cries of "Ko-be, Ko-be."

Bryant hadn't been sidelined this many games in a row since missing 14 straight in 2005 because of a severely sprained right ankle.

The Lakers will gladly take him back. The Clippers are only half a game behind them for third place in the Western Conference.

"I ain't really tripping about that," Bryant said. "You want to be playing great basketball going into the postseason. We've got a couple tough games coming up but we're looking forward to it."

Los Angeles Times Articles