Kobe Bryant scores 40 in Lakers’ 120-112 win over the Warriors

The inevitable Lakers fade came and went against a lesser opponent without any major repercussions.

The short-handed Lakers frittered away most of a 15-point lead before holding on for a 120-112 victory over the Golden State Warriors on Sunday evening at Staples Center.

Kobe Bryant shook off his shooting woes of the previous day by scoring 40 points on 16-for-28 shooting. He made a three-pointer to extend the Lakers’ lead to 115-109 with 1 minute 39 seconds left.

Lakers small forward Metta World Peace then added a three-pointer to help the Lakers avoid what would have been their first loss of the season against a sub.-500 team.

PHOTOS: Lakers vs. Warriors

Ramon Sessions added 23 points for the Lakers, his biggest output since joining the team before the trade deadline. Sessions made a three-pointer that extended the Lakers’ lead to 100-96 after the Warriors had closed to within one point and he buried another long jumper in the final minute.

The Lakers persevered without center Andrew Bynum, who moderately sprained his left ankle in the first quarter and did not return. His status for the Lakers’ game Tuesday against New Jersey was not immediately clear.

Lakers power forward Pau Gasol had 26 points and 11 rebounds in Bynum’s absence and escaped the wrath of Coach Mike Brown after missing a three-pointer late in the third quarter. Gasol made a nice baseline turnaround jumper to give the Lakers a 112-106 lead.

David Lee led had 27 points, six rebounds and seven assists for the Warriors, who shot 48.9% to the Lakers’ 53.7%.

Lakers 89, Warriors 76 (end of third quarter)

The injury bug was spreading quickly in the third quarter for the Lakers, with Pau Gasol nearly taking out Matt Barnes on the bench while chasing a loose ball.

Barnes clutched his knee and appeared to be in some discomfort, with trainer Gary Vitti coming over to check on him. But Barnes entered the game later in the quarter, erasing any concerns.

Kobe Bryant was knocked in the head while making a layup but stayed in the game and seemed to be OK. He has 29 points on 13-for-23 shooting.

The Lakers were already without Andrew Bynum after the center landed awkwardly in the first quarter and sustained a moderately sprained ankle. He will not return against Golden State, and his status for future games remains unknown although an initial X-ray did not reveal any structural damage.

Gasol, the Lakers’ other 7-footer, was starting to assert himself with a couple of strong moves to the basket. He also tried a three-pointer late in the quarter after being goaded by fans as he stood in the corner. Gasol, who came out of the game during the next timeout, has 16 points on seven-for-11 shooting.

Point guard Ramon Sessions could be on his way to his best game as a Laker, with 18 points on five-for-seven shooting.

David Lee leads the Warriors with 20 points.

Lakers 57, Warriors 54 (halftime)

The Lakers didn’t go into shutdown mode while waiting for word on the severity of Andrew Bynum’s injured ankle.

They extended their lead against the Golden State Warriors in the second quarter at Staples Center, making a flurry of three-pointers while riding a hot start from Kobe Bryant.

Late in the quarter it was announced that X-rays on the ankle Bynum hurt during an awkward fall in the first quarter were negative, and the injury was described as a moderate sprain. He will not return.

Bryant had 17 points in the half on eight-for-15 shooting, avoiding a repeat of his inaccuracy from the previous day when he missed 15 consecutive shots until making three in the fourth quarter.

Showing in part why the Lakers wanted to acquire him, point guard Ramon Sessions accelerated on a couple of nice drives to the basket for layups that helped his new team extend its lead. Sessions had 11 points in the half, making four of five shots.

David Lee has 15 points and five rebounds for the Warriors.

Lakers 27, Warriors 26 (end of first quarter)

A day later, it didn’t take quite as long for Kobe Bryant to make his first shot.

The Lakers star made a 17-foot jumper only 12 seconds into the game against Golden State at Staples Center, the same court where he needed until the fourth quarter to score on Saturday after starting 0 for 15 against the New Orleans Hornets.

Bryant made his first two shots and three of his first four against the Warriors, matching his production from the entire previous day. He had made three of 21 shots against New Orleans, though all was forgiven after he buried the go-ahead three-pointer with 20.2 seconds left in an 88-85 victory.

Bryant finished the first quarter Sunday with 13 points on six-for-11 shooting.

There was some concern for the Lakers when center Andrew Bynum rolled his left ankle sd he landed awkwardly with 1 minute 49 seconds left in the quarter. Bynum clutched the ankle and then left the game and headed for the locker room.

Golden State had perhaps the most impressive play of the quarter when Dorell Wright made a touch pass on a fastbreak to David Lee, who went in for a dunk. Klay Thompson has a team-high nine points for the Warriors after making a late three-pointer in the quarter.

The Lakers’ top play came when forward Josh McRoberts swung a pass with his right hand to Bryant for an easy layup.


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