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Kobe Bryant and Lakers go cold late in 95-90 loss to Philadelphia

Their road troubles continue as Bryant misses nine of 10 shots in the fourth quarter. That followed his solid first half, in which he passed Shaquille O'Neal on the NBA's all-time scoring list.

February 07, 2012|By Mike Bresnahan

Reporting from Philadelphia — Kobe Bryant chewed on his jersey, his hands on his hips as the Philadelphia 76ers shot meaningless free throws in the final seconds.

The Lakers failed in another attempt to take a bite out of a woeful road record. They surrendered a late seven-point lead amid a stunning flurry of missed shots, most of them by Bryant, in a 95-90 loss Monday at Wells Fargo Center.

Philadelphia fans booed Bryant in his hometown, as always, when he was introduced before the game. Then they jeered in the end. The Lakers are now 14-11, 3-9 on the road.

Andrew Bynum could be heard in the locker room, disclaiming what happened by yelling, "Another ... 'L,' " obviously unhappy despite a 20-point, 20-rebound effort.

The Lakers led, 86-79, on Bynum's alley-oop dunk from Bryant with 4 minutes 37 seconds left. It was the last time he took a shot until a desperation three-point try at the buzzer. It was almost comical.

Bryant couldn't help in the fourth quarter, cooling quickly and missing nine of 10 shots. He and Philadelphia reserve Louis Williams went head to head down the stretch. Williams won, outscoring Bryant in the final quarter, 14-2.

Bryant had 24 points in the first half on solid eight-for-14 shooting, shrugging off the boos, passing Shaquille O'Neal for fifth on the NBA's all-time scoring list and trying to push the Lakers to a slightly more respectable road record. He finished with 28 points on 10-for-26 shooting.

If the Lakers continue to lose, what's next? The trade deadline is March 15.

Even if they showed improvement over the next five weeks, Pau Gasol said there were no guarantees the roster would stay the same.

A shake-up "might occur regardless," he said. "It's solely out of my power. There's always a sense that if something was going to happen before [the season], something might still happen.

"Until the deadline, we won't know for sure. We've just got to try to forget about that, put that aside, and try to continue to play as well as we can without being affected by any of that."

Gasol was ticketed for Houston two months ago in a three-way trade that would have brought Chris Paul to the Lakers before the deal was infamously blocked by the NBA.

While the Clippers are delighting their fan base with Paul, the Lakers are sagging.

The Lakers couldn't even win Monday despite a ridiculous 55-30 rebounding edge. Bynum made eight of 13 shots, including three alley-oops dunks and a dunk off a rebound of Bryant's miss, but was left off the Lakers' plans in the final four minutes.

"Right now it's all about trusting each other," he said. "For me personally, I'm just going to work, getting baskets."

The 76ers dared Bryant to give up the ball early, constantly double-teaming him. He didn't shoot well after halftime, but he didn't have much help. Gasol had 16 points on weak five-for-14 accuracy. Metta World Peace made one of six shots. The Lakers' reserves were outscored, 49-16, Williams compiling 24 points for the 76ers.

Bryant now has 28,601 points in his career, trailing only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain.

"We're just not playing good basketball right now," Bryant said. "Our margin for error is just not as big as some of the other teams. We have to play really, really good basketball in stretches of the game, minimize mistakes. It was a game we should have won, but our margin for error isn't that big."

mike.bresnahan@latimes.com

twitter.com/Mike_Bresnahan

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