Bryant gets fired up as Lakers arrest 10-game losing streak

Kobe Bryant (right) of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts during the second half of the basketball game against Charlotte Hornets on Jan 31, 2016, in Los Angeles.
Kobe Bryant (right) of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts during the second half of the basketball game against Charlotte Hornets on Jan 31, 2016, in Los Angeles. PHOTO: AFP

LOS ANGELES • On a night when Kobe Bryant delivered his best performance of the National Basketball Association season, the Los Angeles Lakers avoided setting another franchise record for futility.

He scored a season-high 38 points and the Lakers ended a 10-game skid with a 119-115 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday night at Staples Centre.

"That's the way the game flowed and opportunities present themselves and (I was) taking advantage of them," said the 37-year-old, who also had five assists and five rebounds, making him the oldest player to compile at least 35 points, five assists and five rebounds since Karl Malone did so in 2003.

"Everything really revolves around the jump shot. Shots were falling, making shots I'm supposed to make, and the game kind of builds from there."

Six foul shots by Bryant, who scored 14 of the last 18 points for Los Angeles, in the final 17 seconds sealed the win for the Lakers, who escaped from setting a club record for consecutive losses.

With an 82-101 loss to the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday, they tied the 1993-94 Lakers, who lost their final 10 games of the season.

Bryant hit 10 of 21 shots from the floor, including seven of 11 from three-point range.

"I appreciate the fact that he's out there competing like he has for 20 years," Lakers coach Byron Scott said of Bryant. "His body can't do it like he used to, but his mind is still sharp. He still has that will, and I marvel at that."

Lou Williams scored 20 points, D'Angelo Russell added 18 and Jordan Clarkson finished with 16 for the Lakers (10-41).

Andrew Wiggins had 30 points for the Timberwolves before fouling out with 7.5 seconds left. He and Bryant engaged in some spirited exchanges in the fourth quarter, trading buckets and talking trash.

"It's always good playing against him," said Wiggins, who scored 18 points in the second half, 12 of those in the fourth quarter. "He always brings it every night, he makes tough shots, he's just Kobe."

Gorgui Dieng had 19 points and Karl-Anthony Town scored 14 points and grabbed nine rebounds for Minnesota (14-36).

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 04, 2016, with the headline 'Bryant gets fired up as Lakers arrest 10-game losing streak'. Print Edition | Subscribe