Bryant explodes for 48 as Lakers down Raptors
Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) – Kobe Bryant set a new season high with 48
points just three days after pouring in 42, as the Los Angeles Lakers defeated
the Toronto Raptors, 117-99, at Staples Center.
Bryant originally set his season best during his Christmas Day, 42-point
performance against former teammate Shaquille O’Neal but topped that by
hitting 14-of-26 shots from the field and 16-of-18 foul shots in this one.
Caron Butler scored 18 points while Lamar Odom added 15 points and 13 rebounds
for the Lakers, who closed out the 2004 calendar year at 15-12.
“What can you say about Kobe?” said Los Angeles head coach Rudy Tomjanovich.
“He was all over the place.”
Chucky Atkins contributed 14 points and seven assists in the victory.
Rafer Alston led the Raptors with 13 points and 11 assists. Toronto has
dropped 11 of its last 14 games overall. Eric Williams scored 12 points, while
Chris Bosh added 11 points and 10 rebounds in the losing effort.
Trailing 59-55 at the start of the second half, the Raptors used a solid third
quarter to erase their deficit and led by one, 82-81 after 36 minutes of
In the fourth quarter, Donyell Marshall followed his three-pointer with a
thunderous dunk to make it 91-85 Toronto with 8:20 remaining.
However, the Lakers proceeded to go on a 7-2 run, including a nice inside
bucket from Bryant and a three-pointer from Jumaine Jones, to cut their
deficit to 93-92 with just over six minutes remaining.
Bryant’s three-pointer then put LA in the lead before Odom followed with his
own jumper from behind the arc to move the Lakers ahead, 98-93, with 5:15
With 3:50 to go, Bryant pulled up from the top of the key and nailed a jumper,
but Toronto responded with a pair of foul shots and made it 100-98.
Bryant was simply too much, adding a pair from the charity stripe and making a
nice defensive play on the other end before another two foul shots created a
104-98 lead for the Lakers with 2:15 to play in regulation.
The Raptors never threatened the rest of the way.