Regular Season Series (Game 4 of 4)

Series starts 12/14

Game 1: Tuesday, December 14th
Game 2: Tuesday, January 25th
Game 3: Sunday, March 20th
Game 4: Friday, April 8th

Lakers 117

(34-42, 12-26 away)

SuperSonics 94

(50-25, 25-13 home)

    7:30 PM ET, April 8, 2005

    Key Arena, Seattle, WA

    1 2 3 4 T
    LAL 27 29 27 34117
    SEA 26 16 20 3294

    Top Performers

    LAL: K. Bryant 42 Pts, 2 Reb, 5 Ast, 2 Stl, 1 Blk

    Sea: R. Allen 30 Pts, 4 Reb, 3 Ast, 3 Stl

    Kobe's 42, Butler's 31 pace rout

    SEATTLE (AP) -- Injured or not, bound for the playoffs or not, Kobe Bryant still can score. And the Seattle SuperSonics? They're still waiting to claim that suddenly elusive Northwest Division title.

    Bryant scored 21 of his 42 points in the fourth quarter and Caron Butler matched a season high with 31, leading the Los Angeles Lakers to a 117-94 win over the playoff-bound Sonics on Friday night.

    Bryant, his lower leg heavily wrapped, showed no effects of the bruised right shin that forced him to miss a game earlier this week. He shot 15-for-22 from the floor, a good comeback after his 4-for-19 effort in Thursday's loss to Houston.

    "It was actually sorer today than it was before the last game," he said.

    Bryant started by dishing all five of his assists in the first quarter, then took the scoring later when it was available.

    "My jump shot was falling for me pretty well," he said. "I did a good job penetrating, getting into the gaps, and my teammates were hitting shots. When they do that, it's very tough to guard us because you have to make a decision."

    Jumaine Jones had 13 points and 12 rebounds for the Lakers, who'll miss the playoffs for the first time in 11 seasons. It was just their second win in their last 15 games and their first road win since beating Charlotte on March 12.

    "We just wanted to win," Bryant said. "We've been playing so hard. We just needed to win. It doesn't really matter what they have going on."

    Ray Allen scored 30 points for Seattle while Nick Collison tied a career high with 16 points and added 11 rebounds, but it wasn't enough to help the injury-plagued Sonics wrap up a division title.

    With this loss, the Sonics have whiffed at three straight chances to secure the division championship and the No. 3 seeding in the Western Conference playoffs that comes with it.

    "The focus is to play better basketball and better defense," Seattle coach Nate McMillan said. "We have to play better. If we do that, then we'll take care of the other situation. We can't be concerned about what Denver is doing."

    With Denver beating Minnesota on Friday, the Nuggets are six games back with seven remaining -- still room to catch Seattle. The teams play Saturday in Denver, the first time George Karl will face his former team since taking over the Nuggets.

    The Sonics didn't have all their stars, and it showed.

    All-Star forward Rashard Lewis missed his sixth game with a bruised right foot, forward Vladimir Radmanovic sat out his 12th straight game with a stress fracture in his right leg and guard Antonio Daniels is out with swollen left knee.

    Among the three, that's 43.7 points per game.

    "A lot can be said of our rotation being switched around," Allen said. "Guys are getting shots who aren't usually used to getting shots. We're trying to develop a chemistry with guys who are playing. The same can be said on defense."

    As if McMillan needed more injuries, center Jerome James missed the second half with a sprained right ankle.

    "We're missing some guys," McMillan said. "We have some young guys playing. It's a tough situation here, one we haven't been in."

    Los Angeles took control with a 15-0 run midway through the second period, outscoring Seattle 29-16 in the quarter. Bryant even banked in a 3-pointer at the halftime horn, putting the Lakers up 56-42 at the break.

    Then Bryant scored the first four points of the second half and Seattle's defense went to sleep to open a lane for Butler, whose layup put the Lakers up 62-42 only 3½ minutes into the third period.

    Los Angeles didn't let up. Butler scored 10 points in the third, and Bryant added nine as the Lakers stretched their lead as large as 83-61 after Butler's two free throws with 49 seconds left in the period.

    "It felt good to get a win," Butler said. "We just have to continue to play hard and kind of be the spoilers."

    Game notes

    Lakers F Brian Grant went to the bench after banging his right knee midway through the third quarter but returned in the fourth. He scored 10. ... Sonics F Danny Fortson was listed as doubtful because his sprained left shoulder swelled after Thursday's practice, but he played 13 minutes, scoring three points. ... L.A. coach Frank Hamblen on former coach Phil Jackson's visit to Staples Center for Thursday's game: "I hope he had a good time last night. It was a good opportunity to look at our team, to look at what's lacking." ... Seattle won the season series 3-1.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 117 94
    FGM-FGA 42-82 (.512) 31-75 (.413)
    3PM-3PA 12-23 (.522) 8-26 (.308)
    FTM-FTA 21-24 (.875) 24-32 (.750)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 13-39 14-42
    Assists 31 19
    Turnovers 8 12
    Steals 6 4
    Blocks 2 5
    Fast Break Points 5 5
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 26 (0/0) 23 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 25 4

    Top Performers

    Los Angeles
    Kobe Bryant Bryant
    Points: 42
    Reb: 2
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 1
    Ray Allen Allen
    Points: 30
    Reb: 4
    Ast: 3
    Stl: 3
    Blk: 0