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Lakers Too Much For Bucks Down The Stretch 118-107


Kobe Bryant scored 31 points and grabbed seven rebounds, helping the Los Angeles Lakers snap out of their funk with a 118-107 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks.

Shannon Brown came off the bench to add 21 points on 7-of-9 shooting for the Lakers, who snapped a brief two-game skid to improve to 9-2 on the season. Pau Gasol contributed 18 points and 10 rebounds, while Lamar Odom had 13 points, seven boards and six assists in the victory.

Brandon Jennings also scored 31 points to lead the Bucks, who had won their last three games. Drew Gooden posted 22 points and 13 rebounds, while Andrew Bogut had 12 points and 18 boards in defeat.

Corey Maggette scored 15 points for Milwaukee.

"The losing mindset is to look at other people to blame," Bucks head coach Scott Skiles said. "That's generally not what winners are doing and if that was what we're doing that's not a good sign. They took it to us. We had some silly fouls in the first half. As I said, we didn't take care of our business tonight."

Jennings hit a layup and a three-pointer to begin the second half and give the Bucks a 64-57 lead, but the Lakers fought back to move ahead.

A 13-4 run ensued for Los Angeles, where Odom's tip shot tied the game and Bryant's subsequent 16-footer provided the Lakers their first lead of the quarter, 70-68, five minutes in.

Bogut's dunk a short time later gave the Bucks a 75-72 lead, but the Lakers scored the next 10 points -- seven by Bryant, whose two free throws with 3 1/2 minutes left gave the visitors an 82-75 cushion.

An 8-2 burst to end the third gave the Lakers a 90-81 lead heading to the fourth quarter, and the Bucks never got closer than seven in the final 12 minutes.

"I needed to get us going a little bit, the game was flat," Bryant said. "At halftime we talked about doing a better job defensively. We were really poor in the first half just giving layup after layup and we wanted to sure up our defense in the second half."

Milwaukee scored seven straight points midway through the fourth to pull to within 104-97, but Brown's three-pointer put the Lakers back up by 10, and they held on down the stretch.

The Lakers grabbed a 32-29 lead after one quarter, but the Bucks fought back and carried a 59-57 advantage into the second half.

The Lakers have won the last six meetings and 16 of 19 overall against Milwaukee...Los Angeles shot 10-of-16 from three-point range, compared to 9- of-24 for the Bucks...Milwaukee struggled from the free throw line, going 16- of-27, including a 2-for-10 mark by Bogut.

Photographs by spatulated, Triple Tri, and chrischappelear used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.