Lakers Remain Unbeaten With Kobe's Help


Saturday, November 4th 2006, 5:59 am
By: News On 6


Kobe's back and the Lakers didn't miss a beat. Kobe Bryant scored 23 points in his season debut, and Los Angeles beat Seattle 118-112 on Friday night, the Lakers' third win in as many games this season.

Los Angeles beat Phoenix and Golden State without Bryant, the league's leading scorer last season, as he worked his way back from arthroscopic surgery on his right knee during the offseason.

Bryant played 41 minutes and went 8-of-15 from the field. He had six assists and four rebounds.

``I feel pretty good. I wasn't thinking about the knee that much,'' Bryant said. ``It's exciting to be back. I am happy to be out on the floor.

``The timing and rhythm was off but that will come back in time.''

In other NBA games on Friday, it was: Toronto 109, Milwaukee 92; New Orleans 100, Indianapolis 91; Philadelphia 105, Orlando 103; Atlanta 102, New York 92; Detroit 101, Boston 88; Miami 91, New Jersey 85; Memphis 96, Charlotte 83; Cleveland 88, San Antonio 81; Sacramento 89, Chicago 88; Utah 108, Phoenix 104; Minnesota 112, Denver 109; and Golden State 102, Portland 89.

Lamar Odom, who led the Lakers in the first two wins by averaging 28 points, matched that number Friday. He made five free throws in the closing 36 seconds to help the Lakers hold off the Sonics.

Luke Walton had a career-high 20 points and eight rebounds for Los Angeles.

``Having Kobe back, watching Ronny (Turiaf) come up big in the end, that was awesome. That was a lot more fun for me than having a career high in points,'' Walton said.

Turiaf had 13 points and seven rebounds in 16 minutes. He made all three of his shots from the field and was 7-of-8 at the free throw line.

``The guys worked extremely hard in the offseason,'' Bryant said. ``To step up when we needed them at the beginning of the season is great.''

The Sonics led 102-100 with 4:55 left in the game. But Turiaf's two free throws pulled the Lakers even, and he added a jumper for a 104-102 lead shortly afterward, and Los Angeles didn't trail again.

Ray Allen had 30 points and Rashard Lewis added 28 for Seattle (0-2).

Seattle coach Bob Hill was unhappy with the disparity in free throws.

``It's difficult to win a basketball game when one team shoots 48 free throws and your team shoots 16 and you go to the basket for two-thirds of the game,'' Hill said. ``That's very difficult to overcome.''

Raptors 109, Bucks 92

Chris Bosh was 12-for-16 from the field and had 26 points and 15 rebounds to lead the Raptors. Bosh had 14 points on 3-for-13 shooting in Toronto's season-opening loss.

Andrew Bogut had 18 points for the Bucks, who won their season-opener in Detroit.

Hornets 100, Pacers 91

David West had 20 points and Rasual Butler scored all of his 11 points in the fourth quarter for New Orleans (2-0).

Jermaine O'Neal had 25 points to lead the Pacers.

76ers 105, Magic 103

Allen Iverson scored 39 points, including a driving layup with 2.2 seconds to play, while reserve Kyle Korver had 28 points on 10-of-13 shooting for Philadelphia, which shot 56.1 percent for the game.

Grant Hill, who led the Magic with 25 points, tied the game at 103 with a short bank shot, but he missed from 12 feet as the buzzer sounded.

Hawks 102, Knicks 92

Joe Johnson finished with 30 points, two more than he averaged against the Knicks last season. He was 12-of-24 from the field and added eight assists to lead the Hawks to their first win.

Eddy Curry had 20 points for New York, which won only eight road games last season and was denied a second straight victory away from home after winning the season-opener at Memphis.

Pistons 101, Celtics 88

Richard Hamilton scored 27 points and Rasheed Wallace had 18 points and nine rebounds for Detroit, which lost its opener to Milwaukee.

Paul Pierce had 22 points and eight rebounds for Boston (0-2).

Heat 91, Nets 85

Shaquille O'Neal had 21 points and nine rebounds and Dwyane Wade added 17 points for Miami, which lost to Chicago by 42 points on Tuesday and avoided becoming the sixth defending NBA champion to start a season 0-2.

Vince Carter led New Jersey with 27 points.

Grizzlies 96, Bobcats 83

Mike Miller scored 27 points, including 21 in the fourth quarter, to lead Memphis to its first win of the season.

Rookie Adam Morrison had 21 points for the Bobcats (0-2), who have lost all five games to the Grizzlies since the Bobcats entered the league in 2004.

Cavaliers 88, Spurs 81

LeBron James scored 35 points and Cleveland withstood a late surge to get its first win in San Antonio since 1988.

Tim Duncan scored 14 points in a 5-minute span of the fourth quarter as the Spurs shaved a 13-point deficit to four. But Duncan, who had 25 points and 12 rebounds, was 9-of-19 from the free throw line for the Spurs, who have lost only 19 times on their home court since 2003, but two have come in the last two games. The Spurs lost to Dallas in Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals last season.

Kings 89, Bulls 88

Kevin Martin scored 30 points, including the go-ahead jumper with 6.4 seconds left, and Ron Artest added 22 points and 13 rebounds for Sacramento.

Luol Deng scored 29 points and Ben Wallace grabbed 13 rebounds in his first regular-season home game as a Bull. It was also his first meeting with Artest since the brawl between Indiana and Detroit at The Palace of Auburn Hills two years ago.

Jazz 108, Suns 104

Carlos Boozer had 21 points and 12 rebounds and dunked with 31 seconds left for the go-ahead score. The Jazz trailed 101-95 after Leandro Barbosa's two free throws with 2:26 to play.

Barbosa, inserted into the starting lineup in place of Boris Diaw, scored 22 points, nine in the final 5 1/2 minutes, but was just 5-for-15 from the field.

Timberwolves 112, Nuggets 109

Kevin Garnett scored 27 points to lead Minnesota's rally. Garnett scored six straight points to put the Wolves ahead 105-104 with 3 1/2 minutes remaining.

Carmelo Anthony of the Nuggets scored 28 points, just 24 hours after he was ejected in a loss to the Los Angeles Clippers when he was caught up in the league's crackdown on bickering at officials. He missed four shots in the final 14 seconds.

Warriors 102, Trail Blazers 89

Baron Davis had 17 points, nine assists, four rebounds and two steals to help Don Nelson earn the first win of his second tenure as Golden State's coach. Mickael Pietrus added 16 points and matched his career high with 10 rebounds for his second double-double as the Warriors beat the Blazers for the seventh straight time.

Zach Randolph had 22 points and 11 rebounds for Portland, while rookie Brandon Roy had 19 points, six rebounds, five assists and a blocked shot.