LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Kobe Bryant has great respect for the man
whose franchise records he keeps breaking.
Bryant broke Elgin Baylor's single-season scoring record with a
flourish, getting 50 points Friday night in a 110-99 victory over
the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night. But he won't sit by his
cell phone waiting for any congratulatory response from the
Clippers' general manager, who set the mark during the 1962-63
"I don't expect him to. I mean, he's with the Clippers and I'm
with the Lakers," Bryant said. "But if he picks up the paper and
reads about it, he should know that I owe a lot of it to him and to
the other great players as well, because I really learned a lot
about the game from watching them."
Bryant has been aware of Baylor ever since age 6, when his
grandparents sent him a tape called "Golden Greats of the NBA."
He didn't just watch it, he studied it -- over and over, year after
"I just steal all of their moves and incorporate them into my
game," Bryant said. "I copied Elgin's first step. It's actually a
`rocker' step, which is kind of a stutter move."
Bryant, closing in on his first NBA scoring title, reached the
50-point mark for the sixth time this season and 11th time in his
career. The Lakers are 8-3 in those games.
He eclipsed two other franchise records this season that Baylor
held -- most points in a game and most 40-point games in a season.
Bryant, whose 81 points against Toronto on Jan. 22 were second-most
ever in an NBA game, came in needing only 16 to surpass Baylor's
mark of 2,719. He did that with 9:06 left in the third quarter,
draining a 3-pointer after missing two free throws 44 seconds
"It means a lot to me because we're playing well and we're in a
position where we can get into the playoffs and make some noise,"
Bryant said. "We've achieved everything we have as a team, and the
individual stuff just makes for a more pleasant journey."
Lamar Odom recorded his second straight triple-double. He
finished with 16 points and 12 rebounds and tied a career high with
12 assists, after going 15-13-10 against Golden State on Tuesday
for his first triple-double with the Lakers. He is the first player
on the team with consecutive triple-doubles since December 2004,
when Bryant did it against Golden State and Phoenix.
"I hope I can keep it going and take it into the playoffs,"
Odom said. "I'd really like to get four in a row going into the
postseason. I'm just staying focused throughout the game and not
letting one or two missed shots get me down. I'm just doing all the
little things I need to do to win games."
Kwame Brown had 20 points and nine rebounds for the Lakers, who
sent the Blazers to their 15th straight road loss with their ninth
win in 12 games. The only thing that prevented Los Angeles from
clinching a playoff berth was Utah's 105-104 victory over New
Orleans, which was completed shortly before the Lakers and Blazers
"We need to keep playing this way if we want to shock some
people in the playoffs," Odom said. "No one had us making the
playoffs -- and now we'll probably be picked to lose in the first
round. So this is a lot of fun, being an underdog."
Reserve guard Martell Webster scored 18 points for the Trail
Blazers, who sent forward Darius Miles home on Thursday for
disciplinary reasons before losing their fifth straight overall and
30th in their last 34 games.
Miles, who spent the entire first half of Wednesday night's
97-93 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on the bench, was punished
by coach Nate McMillan for changing into his street clothes at
halftime of that game. The team did not characterize the move as a
suspension, but Miles' status was unknown for Saturday night's game
against Golden State at the Rose Garden. He is in the second year
of a six-year, $48 million contract.
Odom secured his 10th career triple-double with an assist on
Bryant's 3-pointer, which gave the Lakers an 86-77 lead with 10:18
to play. Portland got as close as 88-86 on a 3-pointer by Webster
with 7:38 remaining. But the Lakers responded with a 15-4 run,
including nine points from Bryant, to extend the margin to 103-90
with 2:49 left.
"Right now it looks like Kobe's challenging himself in the
fourth quarter to see if he can just dominate," Portland coach
Nate McMillan said. "Before we could even get a double-team on
him, the ball was released. And there's not much more you can do
A victory on Sunday against Phoenix would keep Phil
Jackson's perfect record as an NBA head coach intact -- guiding a
team to the playoffs for the 15th time in 15 tries without ever
finishing the regular season with a losing record. ... The Trail
Blazers have won only 15 of 81 road games over the last two
seasons. They are a league-worst 6-34 this season away from the
Rose Garden, and are assured of finishing with their worst road
record since going 5-36 in 1973-74.