Final

Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 1)

Series starts 10/24

Game 1: Friday, October 24th
Thunder94Final
Lakers105

Thunder 94

(1-6, 1-5 away)

Lakers 105

(6-2, 6-2 home)

    Coverage: ESPN/WatchESPN

    10:30 PM ET, October 24, 2008

    Citizens Business Bank Arena, Ontario, CA

    1 2 3 4 T
    OKC 22 31 22 1994
    LAL 30 33 24 18105

    Kobe plays fewer than 8 minutes, but helps Lakers to strong start

    Associated Press

    ONTARIO, Calif. -- Kobe Bryant, coming back from a knee injury, made a brief appearance at the start of Los Angeles' final preseason game Friday night and appeared to be moving fine in the Lakers' 105-94 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder.

    "Just making sure my rhythm was good, making sure my knee was good," Bryant said. "This way I wouldn't have to go out on Tuesday and experiment with it. It felt fine and I'll be ready to go."

    The Lakers open the season at home Tuesday night against Portland.

    Los Angeles coach Phil Jackson said before the game against the Thunder that Bryant would play only as much time as he wanted.

    He played the first 7:55, went 2-of-3 from the floor and had one rebound and one assist before taking the rest of the night off.

    Los Angeles' Andrew Bynum had 23 points, eight rebounds and three blocks while playing 29 minutes in the final tuneup for both the Lakers (5-2) and the Thunder (1-6).

    Bynum was 10-of-15 from the floor. Jordan Farmar had 14 points on 7-of-9 shooting for Los Angeles.

    "I thought we played reasonably well," Jackson said. "There are still some things we need to do individually, and to do as a team."

    Rookie Russell Westbrook scored 23 for Oklahoma City, and Kevin Durant added 15.

    Bryant, the NBA's reigning MVP, was back after missing the last game because of a hyper-extended right knee. He was hurt in a collision with teammate Josh Powell on Tuesday night against Charlotte in San Diego.

    Slight swelling in his knee led him to sit out Los Angeles' 88-77 victory over the Bobcats on Thursday night in Anaheim.

    Bryant was sharp in his brief stint against Oklahoma City, figuring in the Lakers' first eight points as he hit 3-pointers on his first two shots, then fed Pau Gasol under the basket for a layup.

    The Thunder-Lakers game in the Los Angeles suburb of Ontario was the first sports event at a new arena that will house a minor league hockey team, and drew a sellout crowd of 10,316.

    Thunder coach P.J. Carlesimo said his team didn't shoot that well, but for a reason.

    "A lot of our guys were missing shots, but a lot of people miss shots against the Lakers," Carlesimo said. "They don't get enough credit for what they do defensively. They're tough on defense."

    Bynum had 15 points by halftime, including several dunks off lobs from his teammates, to help Los Angeles to a 63-53 lead at the break. Westbrook scored 11 first-half points for Oklahoma City.

    The Thunder, the former Seattle SuperSonics who moved during the offseason, open in Oklahoma City against Milwaukee on Wednesday.

    The Thunder have had a string of injuries, including forward Chris Wilcox (hamstring), center Mouhamed Sene (knee surgery) and guard Kyle Weaver (groin). Forward Joe Smith, who had missed time with a fractured nose, wore a clear protective mask and scored seven points against the Lakers.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

    SPONSORED HEADLINES