Bryant has bone spur, Lakers fall to Bucks
MILWAUKEE — Kobe Bryant used a crutch to leave the arena after the Los Angeles Lakers’ latest loss.
Following Los Angeles’ 113-103 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday night, the Lakers said Bryant had a bone spur in his left foot. He left the arena using one crutch, but appeared to be walking without any pain.
Bryant led the Lakers with 30 points, leaving him four points behind Wilt Chamberlain (31,419) for fourth place on the NBA’s career list. He played 36½ minutes and didn’t show any signs of difficulty during the game.
“Inflamed on me. I’ll be all right,” Bryant told Yahoo Sports.
The Lakers are eighth in the Western Conference, a half-game ahead of Utah for the final playoff spot.
Larry Sanders scored 13 of his career-high 21 points in the third quarter for the Bucks. He was 8 of 11 from the floor and had 13 rebounds.
Ersan Ilyasova and Brandon Jennings each had 20 points, Monta Ellis added 18, and Marquis Daniels had 16 to help the Bucks snap a four-game losing streak.
“Our attention to detail was a little bit better,” coach Jim Boylan said. “Larry was great, really active. There was a lot of communicating going on. We’ve been struggling lately and when you struggle you can get into your own little world, and that’s a bad place to be.”
The Bucks hold the eighth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, and have a seven-game lead over ninth-place Philadelphia with 11 games to go. However, they weren’t playing as a unit, the effort and energy level were sagging, until the game against the Lakers.
“You need to be playing a collective game, whether it be offensively or defensively,” Boylan said. “Tonight, for us was maybe breaking out of that shell a little bit.”
Sanders noticed the change, too.
“It’s easy to kind of get in slumps and get that dark cloud over your head and stay there,” he said. “But, we fought our way through tonight. It’s good and showed a lot of character. You only lose when you stay down. You’ve got to get back up.”
Dwight Howard had 15 points and 15 rebounds for the Lakers, and Steve Nash scored 16 points.
Howard said the Lakers needed to play better defense against the Bucks.
“We need to work together against these guys,” he said. “We just didn’t do that tonight. Defense needs to be a team effort each and every night.”
Ellis scored eight points for Milwaukee during a late 12-3 run, making it 102-92 on a running in the lane. The Lakers turned it over on the next possession, and Daniels raced down the court and dunked to make it 104-92 with 4:12 left. The Lakers never got closer than eight the rest of the way.
Jennings was on the bench, again, during the fourth quarter. At 8:08 left, Boylan took Ellis out and put Ellis in. He scored the Bucks’ next six points and turned the momentum. JJ Redick, Ilyasova, Daniels and Sanders finished the game with Ellis.
Jennings also was benched in the fourth quarter of Wednesday night’s loss to Philadelphia.
He was unhappy about the move and felt picked on.
“Brandon played great tonight. I took him out, had all intentions of putting him back in the game,” Boylan said. “I had every intention of putting him back in the game, but then the game started to roll in our favor. I didn’t want to mess with the chemistry we had out on the court. Not that I didn’t trust Brandon to come back and play well.”
The Lakers’ last gasp came early in the fourth. Antwan Jamison scored twice and Howard dunked in a miss to help the Lakers regain the lead at 83-82. The teams exchanged the lead four times before Jennings’ 3-pointer at 8:23 put Milwaukee ahead for good.
The Bucks started turning it around in the third, using a 19-8 run to close the quarter with 82-77 lead.
Daniels stole an inbound pass from Bryant under the Lakers’ basket and passed to Sanders, who dunked to give Milwaukee a 70-69 lead with 4:23 left in the third. Sanders dunked his way to nine points during the surge. The rest of his points came on a hook shot and a free throw.
PACERS 103, MAVERICKS 78
DALLAS — Paul George had 24 points and eight rebounds and Indiana broke open a close game in the third quarter to beat Dallas.
George scored 13 points in the third, including eight in a 20-5 run that broke a tie game at halftime.
The Central Division-leading Pacers won their fourth straight and have a half-game lead for the second-best record in the Eastern Conference.
Dirk Nowitzki scored 21 points for Dallas, which remained 1½ games behind the Los Angeles Lakers in the race for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
KINGS 117, SUNS 103
PHOENIX — DeMarcus Cousins scored 17 consecutive points in the first half and finished with 34 in Sacramento’s victory over Phoenix.
Cousins also had 14 rebounds while playing only the first three quarters. Isaiah Thomas added 23 points and eight assists to help the Kings win for only the second time in their past 14 games in Phoenix.
Luis Scola led the Suns with 25 points, P.J. Tucker had a career-high 18, and Michael Beasley added 14 points and eight rebounds. Phoenix, resting point guard Goran Dragic for the second straight game, has lost five straight, nine of 10 and 11 of its past 13.
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