Tuesday, April 20, 2010

LA Lakers Wins In Game 2; Kobe Bryant Finishes 39 Points

All-Star basketball player Kobe Bryant scored 39 points and the Lakers pushed themselves away from the Oklahoma City Thunder, 95-92, in Game 2 of their first-round series last night at Staples Center. It wasn't easy, the game coming down to Jeff Green's missed three-point attempt at the buzzer, but the Lakers took a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series. The Lakers, however, took another tight one from the Thunder, Kobe Bryant making 12 of 28 shots and 13 of 15 free-throw attempts, just enough to move age and experience past youth and innocence.

Kobe Bryant had 15 points in the fourth quarter, seven from the free-throw line. Pau Gasol was the only other Lakers player in double-digit scoring, finishing with 25 points and 12 rebounds. Ron Artest missed eight of 10 shots and Lamar Odom missed seven of nine shots. The Lakers could have made things a little easier in the end, but Bryant and Gasol each missed one of two free-throw attempts in the final 15.1 seconds, allowing the Thunder to stay within striking range.

On the Thuders side, Kevin Durant had 32 points and Russell Westbrook had 19 to lead the Thunder. The Lakers led after three quarters, 73-69, but the loudest roar up to that point came when Craig Calloway, a 29-year-old from Compton, won $235,000 by making a halfcourt shot before the fourth quarter in a promotion sponsored by The Mirage hotel. Getting the ball inside was part of the Lakers' game plan after they went over video from Game 1. 


Rusell Westbrook carried the Thunder early in the third, and Durant scored their final five points to leave them trailing 64-56 going into the final 12 minutes. Fisher, Artest and Odom were in foul trouble and Bryant scored a single point on a free throw as they played to a draw in the third.

The Thunder outscored the Lakers 26-20 in the second quarter, when Los Angeles got away from the inside game of Bynum and Gasol and settled for jump shots instead. Their 17-point lead dwindled to 47-39 at the break.

Pau Gasol made eight of 14 shots, but Andrew Bynum had only six shots going into the fourth quarter. When he got the opportunities in the fourth, he didn't take advantage, finishing with six points on three-for-nine shooting. Andrew Bynum ignited the Staples Center crowd with a monster one-handed dunk over a defenseless Nenad Krstic in the second quarter that pushed the Lakers’ lead to 17.

The Lakers came out blazing against the overwhelmed Thunder, pounding the ball inside to Bynum and Gasol while shooting 54 percent and taking a 27-13 lead in the first quarter. In the playoffs for the first time since moving from Seattle two years ago, the Thunder shot 26 percent, leading to their fewest points in an opening period all season.

However, Oklahoma City settled down the rest of the way, but never got closer than six points against the defending champions, who are seeking a third straight trip to the NBA finals.

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