<
>

Bryant, Odom lead Lakers past SuperSonics

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- An off-night for Kobe Bryant at the offensive
end turned into an on-night in a hurry.

His defensive effort on Ray Allen was exceptional until the
outcome was decided.

Bryant scored 29 of his 34 points in the last 18 minutes, and
the short-handed Los Angeles Lakers rallied for a 108-96 victory
over the Seattle SuperSonics on Thursday night.

"Once he got hot, we really focused on riding that energy that
he had," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said.

Bryant had only five points before making a 3-pointer with 5:48
remaining in the third quarter. Then, he scored nine points in the
last 1:33 of the period to spark an 11-4 run that gave the Lakers a
79-71 lead entering the fourth quarter.

Bryant kept it going as the final period began, scoring his
team's first seven points capped by an off-balance jumper as the
shot clock expired, making it 85-76. The Sonics didn't pose a
serious threat after that.

Bryant, who shot 2-of-16 from 3-point range in the first 10
games of the season, made 4-of-5 from beyond the arc in this game.

Allen, the Seattle star averaging 24.6 points per game, scored
all but seven of his 19 points in the fourth quarter. Most of them
came after the Lakers had clinched the victory.

"The defense was more fun, more challenging," Bryant said.
"Scoring the ball is pretty much like breathing to me. Defense, I
really take a lot of pride in."

Said Allen: "He took a lot of our weak-side stuff away. I don't
know how many times I shot the ball in the first half, but I
thought we played good team basketball, and I was happy with that.
In the third and fourth quarter he stepped his defense up, but
offensively we didn't get anything going and I thought they got
more confidence."

Lamar Odom added 23 points, 12 rebounds and six assists for the
Lakers. Brian Cook had season-high totals of 17 points and seven
rebounds in a career-high 38 minutes in his first start of the
season. Smush Parker scored 16 points, and Chris Mihm added 12 for
Los Angeles.

"The most satisfying thing is my mother was here to see me
play, the first time she's seen me play at Staples Center," Cook
said. "That was real gratifying for me."

The Lakers (5-6), who won for only the second time in seven
games, committed only one turnover in the second half, when they
outscored the Sonics 65-45.

"We knew (Bryant) was going to come out firing (after
halftime)," Sonics coach Bob Weiss said. "He is a great player,
he's shooting fadeaway 3s and making them and I can't fault us
there. I thought the third quarter just killed us."

The Lakers outscored the Sonics 36-20 in the third period to
overcome an eight-point halftime deficit and go ahead for good. Los
Angeles won decisively despite playing without injured forwards
Kwame Brown, Devean George, Slava Medvedenko and Luke Walton.

Rashard Lewis led the Sonics (5-7) with 32 points. Vladimir
Radmanovic added 13 points and Mateen Cleaves scored a season-high
11 for the Sonics.

Seattle led 51-43 at halftime, and 57-55 before Bryant finally
got it going. He wound up shooting 12-of-26 after a 2-for-9 start.

"It felt good tonight. It felt in rhythm," he said. "I felt
like it gave us a good energy boost when we needed it. I think
everybody fed off that energy and we went from there."

Bryant fouled Allen twice early in the game, putting him on the
bench for last 8:11 of the first quarter. The Lakers led 9-2 when
he left, then gave up seven quick points to Allen before outscoring
the Sonics 15-10 for a five-point lead entering the second quarter.

With Lewis scoring 13 points, the Sonics dominated the second
period, outscoring the Lakers 32-19 for their eight-point halftime
lead.

Game notes
The Lakers played on Thanksgiving for the first time since
1980. They are 13-3 in Thanksgiving games. ... The Sonics played on
Thanksgiving for the first time in 32 years. They are 2-5 in such
games. ... The Los Angeles Clippers and New Jersey Nets played on
Thanksgiving at Staples Center each of the past four seasons. ...
Cook started in Brown's place. It was his third start in 118 career
games. ... The Sonics played without forward Danny Fortson,
sidelined because of an injured right big toe. ... The Sonics won
three of the four games between the teams last season and are 11-10
against the Lakers since the start of the 2000-01 season. ...
Walton, who hasn't played this season because of hamstring and hip
injuries, said before the game he hopes to make his season debut in
Sunday night's game against New Jersey.