LOS ANGELES (AP)—Kobe Bryant had perhaps the strangest of his 11 career triple-doubles—and he needed two free throws with 1:22 remaining to accomplish it.
Bryant, hardly a factor for the first three quarters, had 10 points, 10 assists and a season-high 12 rebounds for the Los Angeles Lakers in a 97-88 victory over the Golden State Warriors on Friday night.
Bryant didn’t plan to spend most of his 43 minutes on the floor as a playmaker, but the nine-year NBA veteran had little choice because of the way the Warriors were swarming him every time he had the ball.
“It’s not my intention to go out and score 50, either. You’ve just got to read the defense during the course of the game,” said Bryant, who also committed eight turnovers. “I’ve worked hard on my game since I came into the league so that I could be a better playmaker. So whatever the opposition throws at me, I feel like I can handle.”
Jason Richardson scored 22 points for the Warriors, and Troy Murphy had 13 points and 13 rebounds. The Lakers have won 19 of their last 21 home games against Golden State dating to 1993-94, the only season in franchise history they failed to beat the Warriors in Los Angeles.
Bryant shot 3-for-12 and had only four points in the first three quarters. But he took over down the stretch, as usual. He powered a 12-0 run with six points and two assists, and finished with his second triple-double this season. It also was his fifth double-digit game in assists.
“I’m a hell of a passer sometimes, so I can go either way,” Bryant said. “For me, the personal challenge comes from the opposition thinking that I can’t pass and can’t get other guys involved. So I respond to that challenge. I’ve done it to the tune of three championships.”
Bryant had his most productive game of last season with 45 points against the Warriors the last time the teams met on April 11. He didn’t take a shot in the first quarter.
He had five assists before making his only field goal of the half, a driving layup that increased the Lakers’ lead to 50-41 with 2:18 left in the second quarter.
“I wasn’t going to force the issue, so I just moved the ball around,” said Bryant, who entered the game averaging 20 shots and an NBA-leading 27.8 points. “Every night for me is a different challenge. I really enjoy passing the ball and getting guys going—especially Caron, who had a tough time the last game.”
Clifford Robinson scored seven of his 11 points in a 4:33 span, including a short jumper that put the Warriors ahead 80-79 with 6:05 to play, and Speedy Claxton followed with a three-point play for their biggest lead.
But Bryant responded with an 18-footer and a 13-foot bank shot before Cook’s 3-pointer capped the pivotal rally and gave Los Angeles a 91-83 cushion with 2:52 left.
The Warriors opened the third quarter with a 9-1 spurt that turned a seven-point halftime deficit into a 56-55 lead, their first since Richardson’s game-opening layup. Derek Fisher’s layup sent the teams into the fourth quarter tied at 71-all.
Fisher, who spent his first eight NBA seasons with the Lakers and won three championship rings, faced them in a regular-season game for the first time since signing a six-year, $37 million free agent contract with the Warriors. He had four points and two assists in 19 minutes and missed his first five shots.
“I came here to win a game and that didn’t happen, so it takes a lot of the fun away,” Fisher said. “But to have them think enough of me to take a couple of minutes to show their appreciation for what I tried to bring here for eight years, it just feels great.”
The Lakers are 29-7 when Bryant reaches double digits in assists, including 3-2 this season. … Bryant had four points, six turnovers and three fouls in the first half, while attempting only two shots. … The Lakers’ 10 wins have come against eight teams with a combined 36-80 record, including two victories over Milwaukee and two over New Orleans. … Fisher’s departure from the Lakers left Bryant and injured forward Devean George as the only holdovers who played for the team during its entire three-year championship run.