At the end of a long road trip, the Los Angeles Lakers got a welcome boost from the bench.
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Kobe Bryant scored 20 points, Pau Gasol had 19 and the Los Angeles Lakers won their fifth straight game Sunday, beating the Toronto Raptors 120-110.
The Lakers got 57 points from their reserves, including a season-high 16 from Andrew Bynum, who played his fourth game after returning from offseason surgery on his right knee.
Shannon Brown added 14 points and Matt Barnes had 12 as Los Angeles capped a 6-1 road trip and won for the eighth time in nine games.
”I’m very pleased with the bench and how they performed in both the second and third quarters,” Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. ”I thought they bailed out the starters in a significant amount of minutes.”
Lamar Odom scored 11 points for the Lakers, who have won seven of eight against the Raptors. Los Angeles is 11-5 away from home, the most road wins in the NBA.
Bryant, who started despite a sprained right pinky that he hurt in the opening quarter of Friday’s win at Philadelphia, praised the play of the Lakers reserves.
”They’ve been solid this entire trip,” Bryant said. ”They came in and gave us a big boost.”
Jackson was much happier with his bench than his starters, calling their effort in the first quarter ”terrible.” Bryant, Odom and Ron Artest were subbed off together midway through the third after watching a 16-point edge dwindle to five points.
”In the third quarter, they were substituted because they weren’t playing well,” Jackson said. ”They took early shots against a zone and played against the principles of what we wanted to do.”
Bynum had seven rebounds in 17:39, his longest outing so far, but said afterward that his knee was ”a little sore.”
”I kind of felt it (in the fourth quarter) when I did a double jump,” he said. ”I missed a layup and got back up on the rebound. It’ll be all right, there’s no swelling. I’ll just ice it all the way home, it should be good.”
Toronto’s Linas Kleiza matched his season-high with 26 points and had 10 rebounds. DeMar DeRozan scored 23 points while Jose Calderon had 20 points and 12 assists in his second game after missing four straight with a sore foot.
Amir Johnson scored 12 of his 14 points in the first quarter but was hampered by a sore back the rest of the game. Leandro Barbosa scored 11 for the Raptors, who have lost seven of nine.
”Amir and Jose, it’s questionable if they should have even played,” Toronto coach Jay Triano said. ”(Amir’s) back is in spasms and Jose’s foot is bad but I thought they were two of our better players. They found a way to have good games and played a lot of minutes.”
Toronto’s Andrea Bargnani, who scored 32 points in Friday’s win over New Jersey, was held out of the lineup for the second time in three games, this time with a sore right ankle. Bargnani missed last Wednesday’s loss to Chicago with a sore left knee.
”His ankle is compensating for his knee,” Triano said of Bargnani, his team’s leading scorer at 21.4 points per game. ”He’s been limping around because of the pain in his knee and it’s caused irritation in his ankle.”
Up 86-79 to start the fourth, the Lakers pushed their lead to 13, 99-86, on a jumper by Brown with 8:16 remaining. Toronto answered with a 9-2 run, cutting it to 101-95 on a 3-pointer by Kleiza with 6:28 left. But Bynum made a jumper in the lane and Steve Blake hit a 3 as Los Angeles restored its double-digit advantage.
Johnson made all six shots he took in the opening quarter as the Raptors led 34-28 after one. Toronto struggled with its shooting in the second, hitting just 3 of 18. Odom and Luke Walton each scored six points as the Lakers took a 57-49 lead at the half.
DeRozan scored 19 points in the third and Barbosa stole Walton’s pass, then made a halfcourt 3-pointer at the buzzer, but Toronto could only shave one point off its deficit as Los Angeles took an 86-79 lead into the fourth.
NOTES: The Lakers are 6-0 this season when trailing after the first quarter. … DeRozan went 11 for 11 at the free throw line. … The Lakers outrebounded the Raptors 46-35. … Toronto’s Sonny Weems (sore back) sat out for the second straight game. … Toronto’s 13 steals were a season-high. … Raptors center Solomon Alabi made his season debut. … The previous three games between the teams were all decided by five points or fewer.