The Lakers will try to carry that attitude into the start of a road-heavy stretch Saturday night when they attempt to take over first place in the Pacific Division by topping the Milwaukee Bucks.
Bryant felt some of his teammates weren’t being themselves but some conversations and a home game with the rival Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday helped change that.
Bryant’s 24 points led the way during the end to a three-game skid, while Pau Gasol had 23 after scoring eight during a loss to Indiana on Sunday. Rookie Andrew Goudelock had a career-high 14 off the bench after scoring a combined 10 in his first 10 games, and Metta World Peace contributed a season-high seven assists and five rebounds.
“Everybody played with the right attitude, and guys did what they do best,” Bryant said. “They had the right temperament. Everybody did what we do best. Metta was being himself. You have to be who you are.”
The Lakers (11-8) will likely need that grit while playing eight of their next nine on the road. Los Angeles is 1-6 away from home this season.
“We needed to get some momentum for the road. We’re going to be tested during this trip,” said center Andrew Bynum, whose 19 points were his most since Jan. 5. “We need to do way better than .500.”
The Lakers might have a chance to get that stretch started on a positive note as they’ve won 12 of 15 in Milwaukee and each of the last three visits. Bryant had 31 points and the Lakers shot 53.8 percent during a 118-107 win there last season.
The Bucks snapped a six-game skid in the series with a 98-79 victory at Staples Center on Dec. 21, 2010, and will try to avoid a third consecutive home defeat Saturday.
Milwaukee, which had won its first four home games this season, is seeking its fourth win in six overall contests but a slow start to the second half cost the Bucks during a 107-100 loss in Chicago on Friday.
They trailed by a point at halftime but allowed the Central Division leaders to go on a 16-4 run to open the third quarter. With the loss, Milwaukee (7-11) dropped to 0-6 when playing without leading rebounder Andrew Bogut, who is expected to miss eight to 12 weeks because of a broken left ankle.
“We played as hard as possible on both ends of the court,” said Drew Gooden, who replaced Bogut in the starting lineup. “But that wasn’t our best basketball. We know that.”
Gooden had 23 points, 15 rebounds and six assists, while Brandon Jennings scored a team-best 25 to surpass 20 in a career-high sixth consecutive game.
Jennings had 31 points during last season’s visit from the Lakers, while Gooden contributed 22 points and 13 rebounds. Both players were inactive during the win in Los Angeles.
The Bucks won’t have second-leading scorer Stephen Jackson for this matchup. Averaging 12.8 points, Jackson was suspended one game by the NBA for verbally abusing an official and failing to leave the court in a timely manner Friday night.
Bryant, meanwhile, has at least 30 points in each of his last three visits to Milwaukee and his 33.3-point average at the Bradley Center is his second-best in an opponent’s building over the last four seasons. He’s averaged 40.3 points at New York’s Madison Square Garden over that span.