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Sunday, April 15, 2012
Bynum carries Lakers as Kobe sits out again
LOS ANGELES — Coach Mike Brown wasn't on the Los Angeles Lakers' bench in a suit and tie. Kobe Bryant was.
Although that's an unlikely scenario for success, the Lakers still took an enormous step toward the postseason thanks to Matt Barnes' outside shooting and Andrew Bynum's inside persistence.
Bynum had 30 points and eight rebounds, Barnes added a season-high 24 points and 10 rebounds, and the Lakers clinched a playoff berth with a 103-97 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Friday night.
Pau Gasol had 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Pacific Division-leading Lakers (38-22), who have won three of four without Bryant while the NBA scoring leader rests his bruised shin. Los Angeles also played without Brown, who left Staples Center shortly before tipoff for undisclosed personal reasons.
"You can tell that these guys went out tonight and wanted to represent Mike Brown as best they could, and that's what they did," said assistant coach John Kuester, who didn't give any additional information about Brown's issues after running the team.
Barnes scored six consecutive points after Denver trimmed Los Angeles' lead to one point, hitting a 3-pointer and adding a clutch jumper with 1:29 to play.
After Bynum grabbed 30 rebounds against San Antonio earlier in the week, he faced double- and triple-teams from the moment he touched the ball on most possessions. The All-Star center persevered for a 13-point third quarter in a mature effort from a mercurial player.
"It was big for us to get this third win (without Bryant)," Bynum said. "For our team, especially not having our leader, it was important to come together and get a win."
Nets 95, 76ers 89
In Philadelphia, Gerald Green scored 23 points, and Kris Humphries had 18 points and 13 rebounds to lead New Jersey to a win over the 76ers.
Heat 105, Bobcats 82
In Miami, LeBron James had 19 points and nine rebounds and Chris Bosh had 18 points and seven rebounds to help the Heat complete a three-game season-series sweep of Charlotte.
Miami, playing without Dwyane Wade again due to an ankle injury, improved to 11-1 in the star guard's absence.
Pacers 102, Cavaliers 83
In Indianapolis, Danny Granger scored 18 points to help Indiana clinch a playoff berth.
Raptors 84, Celtics 79
In Toronto, DeMar DeRozan scored 13 of his 22 points in the third quarter and made four pivotal free throws down the stretch.
Hawks 109, Magic 81
In Orlando, Jannero Pargo hit five 3-pointers and scored 17 points, and Joe Johnson, Josh Smith and Marvin Williams each had 16.
Knicks 103, Wizards 65
In New York, Baron Davis scored a season-high 18 points on his 33rd birthday, J.R. Smith had 23, and the Knicks surged into a tie for seventh place in the Eastern Conference.
Davis shot 7 of 9 in just 23 minutes for New York.
Thunder 115, Kings 89
In Oklahoma City, Kevin Durant had 29 points and nine rebounds and Russell Westbrook scored 22 points for the Thunder in the first of three meetings with Sacramento in a 12-day span.
Hornets 96, Jazz 85
In New Orleans, Eric Gordon scored 10 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter, and the Hornets won their first game under prospective new owner Tom Benson.
Bucks 113, Pistons 97
In Auburn Hills, Michigan, Drew Gooden scored 26 points, and Milwaukee pulled away from Detroit.
Suns 112, Rockets 105
In Houston, Marcin Gortat had 20 points and 15 rebounds, Steve Nash had 18 points and 10 assists and Phoenix boosted its playoff hopes.
Mavericks 97, Trail Blazers 94
In Portland, Dirk Nowitzki had 24 points and nine rebounds, Delonte West added 21 points, seven assists and six rebounds, and Dallas beat the Trail Blazers.