Sunday , Feb , 29 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

Los Angeles Lakers Team Report – February 29

=== Los Angeles Lakers Team Report – February 29 ===

(Sports Network) – Two of the best and hottest teams in the NBA square off
this evening in New Jersey when the Nets welcome the Los Angeles Lakers to
Continental Airlines Arena.

Los Angeles rebounded from Thursday’s loss to the Sacramento Kings, as Kobe
Bryant posted his first triple-double in more than a year, leading the Lakers
to a 122-110 win over the Washington Wizards on Saturday at the MCI Center.

Bryant had 25 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists and registered his first
triple-double since January 10, 2003.

Shaquille O’Neal added 29 points as Los Angeles improved to 6-1 in its last
seven games. Stanislav Medvedenko and Kareem Rush had 14 points apiece in a
winning cause.

Bryant and O’Neal have been the catalysts behind LA’s recent surge. In his
seven games since the All-Star break the 25-year-old Bryant is averaging 32.7
points, 8.3 boards, eight assists and 2.4 steals a game. O’Neal, meanwhile,
has scored 24.1 points-a-game and has pulled down 9.3 rebounds in that time.

All is not well in Laker-land, though, as guard Gary Payton has been griping
about playing time. Payton, who had 10 points and seven assists in 34 minutes
on Saturday, signed with LA as a free agent in the offseason.

Los Angeles, which will be playing the second leg of a four-game road trip
tonight, has won six of seven and seven of its last nine on the road and is
15-15 away from home this season.

The Lakers have just one loss in 11 Sunday games this season.

Los Angeles, which swept the Nets in the 2002 NBA Finals, lost both meetings
with New Jersey last season and has dropped three straight in the series. The
Lakers, though, have won 12 of the last 16 matchups, including six of the last
eight in the Garden State.