LAL 120, GSW 112: April 1 Running Diary

Below is a running diary of L.A.’s Sunday evening home contest against Golden State, the Lakers looking to win their second straight home game of the weekend, with some comments drawn from our @LakersReporter Twitter account, and a few more details in case you missed any of the action:

Starters
Lakers: Sessions, Bryant, World Peace, Gasol and Bynum
Warriors: C. Jenkins, K. Thompson, D. Wright, D. Lee, J. Tyler

FIRST QUARTER
11:34 After failing to score until the fourth quarter last night, Kobe went the other way in this one, hitting back to back jumpers that preceded a Sessions bucket at the rim in L.A.’s 6-0 start. Bryant, playing the third most minute in the league, has been a bit short on his J’s at various points in the past few weeks, so seeing good lift on his first two was a good sign.

5:44 The offense was clicking OK mostly behind Bryant (seven points) and Sessions (five), but the D wasn’t exactly at its most intense. The Bynum/Gasol combo was a bit sluggish in the paint, allowing consecutive layups at the rim, which is always a no-no. As such, we had a 14-all score early.

2:44 The energy did improve when … well … energetic subs Barnes, McRoberts & Blake checked in. Consecutive buckets followed, with Bryant making his fifth field goal and Blake getting two free throws around a Barnes swat of David Lee at the other end (20-19 LAL).

SECOND QUARTER
12:00 The bad news for L.A. from the first quarter: Bynum sprained his ankle with about 30 seconds left in the first quarter, walking to the locker room under his own power to get x-rays. His team would take a 33-31 lead moments later on Troy Murphy – who didn’t play last night against New Orleans – jump shot.

3:00 With Bynum still in the locker room, L.A. got contributions from elsewhere, Barnes sinking a three and Sessions and Bryant (24 total points) following with consecutive buckets at the rim to push the home team’s lead to 51-42. LAL were as small as we’ve seen them all season, with neither Bynum or Gasol (getting a breather) in the contest, but McRoberts and Murphy were picking up the slack.

0:00 An explosive drive that was also aesthetically pleasing from Sessions, end-to-end, allowed L.A. a 57-54 lead at the half, snapping an 8-0 run that had nearly erased a nine-point Lakers lead moments earlier. Kobe was effective with 17 points on 8 of 15 field goals, while Sessions finished with 11. Both had three assists.

THIRD QUARTER
7:55 After shooting better than 50 percent only three times in 17 March games, Kobe continued his efficient start to April, hitting three field goals early in the third to get him to 24 points on 11 of 19 shots. L.A., as such, took a 71-62 lead.

2:28 Solid all-around play from L.A. continued, the lead holding at 83-72 thanks in part to Murphy (11 boards) and McRoberts (six) helping hold the paint down. Sessions continued to get to the rim and draw fouls, hitting 7 of 9 free throws for 18 points, and Gasol reached 16 points with two buckets on one possession, thanks to his own missed and-1 foul shot.

0:00 Perhaps inspired by a similar effort from McRoberts, Matt Barnes rose high to erase a Brandon Rush dunk attempt, moments after McBobs swatted Rush at the rim only to be called for a foul both he and a smiling Rush knew wasn’t there. Such effort helped the Lakers push their lead to 89-76 at the break, with triples from Bryant (29 points) and Murphy (eight) helping the cause.

FOURTH QUARTER
9:26 Flying out of nowhere came Josh McRoberts with a monster two-handed put-back slam of a near miss from Sessions, putting the Lakers up 11 points. But…

7:00 … Golden State scored 12 points in just over two minutes, connecting on two threes, to cut L.A.’s lead suddenly to one. Sessions and Bryant, however, had been scoring all night, and went for five quick points, ahead of another Gasol dunk, to see the lead restored to eight at 104-96.

2:51 Despite Kobe continuing to hit everything, the Lakers’ lead was only four thanks in large part to Nate Robinson somehow draining four of his five threes in the fourth quarter. Gasol responded with a tough jumper at the other end to reach 26 points of his own, but Lee then converted an and-1 on the other end to make it 112-109. The Lakers seemed determined not to get an easy win, as it were.

1:09 OK, Warriors, slow down … the SEVENTH Golden State three of the fourth quarter alone again cut the lead to three, this one from Jefferson answering Kobe’s three-point bomb that got him to 40 points. World Peace, however, had an answer to that one, draining a triple of his own out of a time out to make it 118-112.

0:00 The final dagger cam from Sessions, who drained a pull-up jumper with 24 seconds left to leave a final margin of 120-112. Bryant finished with 40 points and five assists, Gasol with 26 points, 11 boards, six assists and three blocks, Sessions 23 points with nine assists and Murphy/McRoberts 19 total boards off the bench. Up next: New Jersey on Tuesday, where we’ll see if Bynum can play through his sprained ankle.