Friday , Jan , 13 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Kobe’s late jumper pushes Lakers past LeBron and Cavs

Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) – Kobe Bryant put in 27 points and hit the
winning jumper with 8.6 seconds remaining to lead the Los Angeles Lakers over
the Cleveland Cavaliers, 99-98, at the Staples Center.

Lamar Odom added 20 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists and Chris Mihm put in
15 points for the Lakers, who have won four of their last five contests.

Zydrunas Ilgauskas led all scorers with 29 points and LeBron James added 28
points and nine assists for the Cavaliers, who have lost two straight and
three of the last four contests. James missed a potential winning shot at the
buzzer.

Drew Gooden added 15 points and pulled down 11 boards for Cleveland, which has
lost its last seven road games versus the Lakers.

It was a close affair through much of the final 12 minutes, but Bryant put
in a clutch jumper from the left side to give the Lakers a 97-95 lead with 50
seconds remaining.

Gooden banked one off the glass to tie it up at 97 with 31.3 seconds
remaining, but Bryant nailed a jumper from the left side with 8.6 seconds left
to give the Lakers a 99-97 advantage.

“My hand was bothering me. It was tough for me to shoot the ball,” said
Bryant, who sprained his right wrist in the first quarter. “I asked the team
to put up the steam a little bit.”

After a Cleveland timeout Bryant fouled James, who hit the first free throw
but missed the second. Gooden came down with the rebound with 4.2 seconds
remaining and the Cavs called a timeout.

The ball then found its way to James, who threw a fadeaway jump shot over
Bryant, but the ball bounced off the rim.

“It’s going to come. You win some and you lose some. I’m not going to shy away
from that shot at the end of the game,” James said.

The Lakers had a slim 68-67 lead going into the final 12 minutes, but Luke
Jackson drained a trey on the Cavaliers’ first possession to give them a
70-68 lead.

Los Angeles went on a 7-1 run to take a 75-71 lead on the strength of a
Devean George jumper with 9:28 to play.

It continued to be a close game with the Lakers never leading by more than
seven points.

However, with Los Angeles up 85-80, Jackson hit back-to-back three-pointers to
give Cleveland a 86-85 with 4:43 to play.

The teams exchanged a pair of baskets, but George drained a three-pointer from
the right side to give the Lakers a 92-90 lead with 2:47 left.

Ilgauskas nailed a jumper on the Cavaliers next possession and each side hit
one of two free throws to tie the game up at 93 each to setup the final 1:41
of the game.

The Lakers had a 23-16 lead after Smush Parker drained a basket with a little
over three minutes remaining in the opening 12 minutes. The Cavaliers scored
six straight points, but LA led 28-25 going into the second.

The second quarter was tight with neither team able to pull out to a decisive
lead. However, Ilgauskas hit two free throws to put Cleveland ahead and the
Cavs took a 50-46 edge into the locker room.

The Cavaliers led throughout much of the third quarter. However, after a
Donyell Marshall basket made it a 66-62 game with less than two minutes to
play in the third, the Lakers ripped off the last six points of the quarter
Mihm’s two-handed slam gave the Lakers a slim lead going into the final
stanza.

Game Notes

The Lakers visit Golden State on Saturday…The Cavaliers continue their six-
game road trip against the Suns on Saturday…Parker had 12 points…The
Lakers outrebounded the Cavaliers 31-29…Cleveland shot 54.2 percent while
Los Angeles hit 50.6 percent of its shots…Mihm had six rebounds…Bryant
had scored 40 or more points in his previous five games.

CLE LAL