Saturday , Mar , 20 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

Los Angeles Lakers Team Report – March 20

=== Los Angeles Lakers Team Report – March 20 ===

(Sports Network) – The Lakers continued their climb towards the upper echelon
of the Western Conference Friday night, as they downed the Clippers, 106-100,
at the Staples Center.

The Lakers, who were technically the home team in the contest, got off to a
slow start but recovered for the win. Kobe Bryant poured in 27 points,
including 10 in the final four minutes to pace the Lakers to the win. Bryant
also had seven boards in the contest.

Shaquille O’Neal added 18 points and a game-high 10 rebounds for the Lakers,
who have won four games in a row, including a home-and-home sweep of the
Clippers after Wednesday’s 106-103 victory. Gary Payton had 16 points and Karl
Malone added 14.

The Lakers hit 50.6 from the field, while limiting the Clippers to 43 percent
shooting. However, the Clippers owned a 43-37 advantage on the boards and
outscored the Lakers 30-23 at the free throw line. The Lakers have now won
eight of their last 10 games.

Lakers F/C Horace Grant was placed on the injured list with a tear in his hip.
Grant has decided to postpone surgery and try to play again this season.

Rookie Brian Cook is expected to be activated before Sunday’s game against
Milwaukee. The Lakers have six games remaining on their current seven-contest
homestand. For the year, the Lakers are 26-5 in their friendly confines.

Los Angeles has fought its way into third in the Western Conference — just
four games behind the top seeded Sacramento Kings. The Lakers are just one
game ahead of fourth place San Antonio.

LAL