Thursday , Mar , 16 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Bryant leads Lakers past T’Wolves

Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) – Kobe Bryant scored 19 of his 25 points in
the second half, including four in the final minute, as the Los Angeles Lakers
downed the slumping Minnesota Timberwolves, 92-89, at the Staples Center.

Lamar Odom posted a double-double with 20 points and 12 rebounds while dishing
out eight assists and Kwame Brown added 13 points and nine rebounds, as the
Lakers snapped a two-game losing skid.

“As a team we can’t turn the ball over as much,” said Odom. “Tonight we stayed
tough and made plays when we needed to.”

Marcus Banks scored 18 points and dished out eight assists while Kevin Garnett
added 16 points and 14 rebounds in Minnesota’s sixth straight defeat. Rookie
Rashad McCants scored 15 points on 7-of-11 shooting off the bench and Trenton
Hassell contributed 12 points in the loss.

In a series of plays that may have typified Garnett’s career in the Twin
Cities, the multi-talented forward did all he could down the stretch to lead
his team to victory while in the end watching one of his teammates miss a
game-tying shot.

Garnett’s reverse slam dunk and subsequent free throw gave Minnesota an 87-85
lead with 1:22 left. Luke Walton then drained an open three after Bryant drew
the defense to put Los Angeles back in front, 88-87.

Bryant then drained a jumper to extend the advantage to 90-87 before McCants
again trimmed the deficit to one with a jumper.

On the next possession, Bryant received the ball with the shot clock winding
down near the right block and had his shot partially blocked, but the guard
gathered the rebound and scored in traffic to make the score 92-89 with about
30 seconds left.

Minnesota got the ball in Garnett’s hands, but the star forward was double-
teamed and he passed the ball to an open Banks. The guard had a great look
from the left wing, but the shot never grazed the rim.

The Timberwolves held a 26-17 lead after the first quarter and a 46-40
advantage at the half.

Los Angeles seized the lead and the momentum during the third quarter. A 10-0
burst midway through the period helped the Lakers take a 61-60 edge.

The first eight points were scored in the paint, with Parker converting two
layups and Odom and Bryant each making an inside basket. Brown’s two free
throws capped the spurt with 4:06 left in the period.

The Lakers led 67-63 after three stanzas.

Game Notes

The Lakers improved to 18-13 as the host this season…Los Angeles snapped a
four-game losing streak to Minnesota…The Timberwolves dropped to 8-24 on the
road…Walton tallied nine points in the victory.