- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 1, 2009

MILWAUKEE (AP) - Kobe Bryant rebounded from a rough shooting night to hit his first seven from the field and score 30 points, Pau Gasol had eight of his 15 in the fourth quarter, and the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Milwaukee Bucks 104-98 on Wednesday night.

Lamar Odom added 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Lakers, who were playing the finale of a grueling seven-game road trip and coming off two straight losses.

Ramon Sessions had his first career triple-double for the Bucks, who fell four games out of the Eastern Conference’s final playoff spot. Sessions finished with 16 points, 16 assists and 10 rebounds.

With Milwaukee leading by two early in the fourth quarter, Gasol dunked and was fouled, completing the three-point play to give the Lakers an 85-84 lead. Gasol would score three more points in an 11-2 run, putting Los Angeles ahead 93-86 on a free throw with just over six minutes remaining.

Richard Jefferson made a driving layup, but Gasol answered with a hook shot and Bryant converted a three-point play after being fouled on a layup.

A 3-pointer by Jefferson and a jumper by Charlie Villanueva cut the Lakers’ lead to five with 2:39 left. Jefferson came up with a steal, but Sessions missed a jumper.

Sessions, who briefly left the game earlier in the quarter after colliding with the Lakers’ Josh Powell, then made a pair of free throws with 52 seconds left to cut the lead to three.

Bryant missed a jumper, but Jordan Farmar corralled a long rebound and Bryant was fouled, putting the game away with a pair of free throws.

Jefferson finished with 29 points for Milwaukee.

Los Angeles shot poorly and showed other signs of fatigue in consecutive losses at Atlanta and Charlotte after beginning the trip with four straight victories, but played well enough Wednesday to finish the road trip 5-2.

Bryant was 7-for-7 from the field in the first half, making shot after shot despite being challenged by Bucks rookie Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, the team’s best defender. But the Bucks, powered by Jefferson’s 14 first-half points, took a 57-55 lead into halftime.

Bryant, who was 11-for-28 from the field in Tuesday’s loss at Charlotte, finally missed a shot with 11:22 left in the third quarter, but was fouled on the 3-point attempt and made all three free throws to give the Lakers a 60-59 lead.

Bryant’s first miss that counted came a few minutes later, clanking one off the front of the rim at the 9:56 mark. Milwaukee then went on an 11-3 run that began with three scores by Dan Gadzuric _ a forceful dunk that left him holding his finger in pain, a turnaround jumper and driving layup.

Milwaukee led by as many as six points in the third quarter, taking a 70-64 lead on a fast-break dunk by Sessions with 6:10 left, and led 81-80 going into the fourth quarter.

Notes:@ Bucks center Francisco Elson went to the floor with a strained right hip flexor at the 1:24 mark of the third quarter. He did not return. … Injured Bucks guard Michael Redd was presented with his championship ring from the U.S. Olympic team in a ceremony before the game.



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