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Lakers dig deep to cool the Heat

WHEN Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol both have below-par shooting nights in the same game, the Los Angeles Lakers are usually in trouble.

Not so on Sunday night.

Andrew Bynum scored a season-high 24 points including a go-ahead follow shot with 18.5 seconds remaining, Vladimir Radmanovic added a season-high 18 points, and the Lakers beat the Miami Heat 108-105 in Los Angeles to become the first Western Conference team to reach 30 victories.

Bryant had 19 points and seven assists, but shot just 5-of-14. Gasol had 14 points and 18 rebounds, which matched his career high, but shot 4-of-15.

"You have to hand it to Miami's defense," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "They wanted to shut down those two players, and they did."

Outside of Bryant and Gasol, the Lakers shot 28-of-54 and scored 75 points.

"That's good. That's a good sign, a good thing," Gasol said. "We might be struggling offensively or shooting from the field, but we still get it done and we still come up with ways to win."

Bryant's performance on offense was probably affected by his work at the defensive end, where he guarded Miami star Dwyane Wade.

"We got other guys involved," Bryant said. "It's part of my responsibility to this team to try to do what it takes on every given night, any given night, to ensure victory for our ball club and that includes chasing (Wade) around."

The two bumped heads late in the game, and Bryant needed four stitches to close a cut over his right eye. Wade also had a gash on his head.

"He just drove the ball, I was able to cut him off a little bit, our heads bumped," Bryant told reporters after the game.

Wade said he enjoyed going up against Bryant.

"You play for the matchups," Wade said. "And it was in the concept of team ball. We both played hard. He was denying me all over the court. To me, it was fun. I had to figure out a way to get open. It was a good game, a competitive game and fun to be a part of. Games against guys like Kobe, you love to play those games."

In other games, it was: Celtics 94, Raptors 88; Magic 105, Spurs 98; 76ers 109, Hawks 94; Suns 109, Clippers 103; Kings 102, Mavericks 95; and Warriors 120, Pacers 117.


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