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Bryant’s 35 leads Lakers

first_imgIf this was a playoff preview, the Lakers will remember the parade Bryant made to the free-throw line in the second quarter, when the crowd nearly booed the roof off the building. They will remember Odom’s finest game since returning from a knee injury. They will remember the six 3-pointers Parker hit and the 24 points he scored, including 13 in a first quarter when he couldn’t miss. And they will remember a 3-pointer Evans buried with 3:07 remaining in a game in which he made just 2 of 11 shots. It added up to the Lakers’ third victory in a row after the longest losing streak of Jackson’s career and a question to Bryant about whether the coach’s mantra of “playing for one another” had taken hold. “We’re getting there,” Bryant said. “It’s understanding that your success individually is connected to the success of the team. It’s how you contribute, how you fit into the mix and how the chemistry evolves that makes each player valuable.” Derek Fisher led Utah with 23 points, but Mehmet Okur made just 3 of 19 shots. The Jazz had won eight of nine games, including two in a row with Carlos Boozer back from an injury. • Photo Gallery: 02/26: Lakers vs. Jazz SALT LAKE CITY – Back when his team was searching for any escape from a six-game losing streak, Lakers coach Phil Jackson said he was waiting for a moment to arrive when his players would “play for each other and with each other.” Bryant complained before Sunday’s game against Golden State that he feared he was coming down with strep throat. He did not attend the morning shootaround and spent the day in bed, where he found inspiration in an unlikely source. “If I was feeling a little wimpish,” Bryant said, “I got a good dose of `Patton’ today on AMC. That knocked the yellowbelly right out of me.” Bryant finished with 35 points and made only 7 of 21 shots, but subsisted at the free-throw line, where he went 21 of 24. Yet it was his supporting cast that came up with the biggest plays down the stretch. Parker knocked down two 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, the second breaking an 82-82 tie with 4:23 remaining. Odom followed with a 21-footer and the Lakers went into a timeout with 3:20 left leading 87-84. That set the stage for Evans, who his third consecutive game but missed his first eight shots. Out of the timeout, though, Odom drew the defense and threw a pass to Evans alone at the 3-point line. His shot was good and the Lakers never looked back. Odom finished an assist shy of a triple-double with 19 points, 14 rebounds and only one turnover. [email protected] (818) 713-3607 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!center_img Time will tell if Monday night’s 102-94 victory over the Utah Jazz was that moment, but the argument could be made after Lamar Odom, Smush Parker and Maurice Evans all delivered in the fourth quarter of a game Kobe Bryant was just trying to get through. The Lakers brought a 12-16 road record to a place where the Jazz had won 22 of 28 games this season and left with a victory. They did so as Bryant battled a sore throat that later left him speaking to the media in almost a whisper. last_img

Kwan is still in the spotlight

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGift Box shows no rust in San Antonio Stakes win at Santa Anita Only the winner of the women’s event is guaranteed a spot on the Olympic team, with the federation’s International Committee selecting the other two athletes after the free skate tonight. There are 35 people on the committee, but at least nine will have to recuse themselves because of personal or professional conflicts; a simple majority is needed. The committee will base its selection on how athletes fared at six competitions. They are, in order of importance: nationals; the 2005 Grand Prix final; the 2005 world championships; the 2005 Four Continents championships; the 2005 Junior Grand Prix final; and the 2005 world junior championships. Kwan also had to be examined by a doctor selected by U.S. Figure Skating to prove she was physically ready to compete in Turin. “She was seen by a doctor at his office (on Thursday) and had a complete examination of the groin injury,” Kwan’s agent, Shep Goldberg, told The Associated Press. Neither Kwan nor U.S. Figure Skating had seen the report as of Friday afternoon. Goldberg also said Kwan resumed jumping again Friday for the first time since Dec. 17. Fans are wearing buttons and T-shirts supporting Kwan, a Rim of the World graduate. Each of the top women has been asked repeatedly what she thinks, and coaches and choreographers have weighed in, too. Even men’s contender Evan Lysacek had his pre-event news conference hijacked by Kwan questions. “No, I’m not surprised that it’s a huge deal,” Ron Hershberger, president of U.S. Figure Skating, said Friday. “Michelle has been a marvelous champion. She’s a terrific athlete. It’s clear that skating fans everywhere adore her, and they should. She’s been a terrific image for the sport of figure skating, so I’m not surprised that there’s all this attention.” ST. LOUIS — Even from half a country away, Michelle Kwan is dominating the national championships. The nine-time champion is missing the U.S. Figure Skating Championships for the first time since 1991, at home in California nursing a groin injury. But she has petitioned for a spot on the Olympic team, and the “Should she or shouldn’t she?” debate has sparked far more interest than anything happening on the ice. center_img “Definitely, she’s earned it,” said Kimmie Meissner, who was in fourth place after the short program and one of the skaters at risk of being bumped if Kwan is selected. “She has a pretty good track record. Since I don’t have to make the decision, I’m glad.” Most years, putting Kwan on the Olympic team would be a no-brainer. She is the most popular skater since Scott Hamilton, and has helped bring untold millions — fans and dollars — to the sport. Her longevity and success — she has won five world titles and Olympic silver and bronze medals — have made her one of those rare celebrity athletes who transcends her sport. But she has skated sparingly in recent years, and was sidelined for most of this season first by a hip injury and then by the groin injury. She did do an invitational in early December, but failed to land a triple jump. She also struggled in her only competition under the new judging system. Her fourth-place finish at the world championships last spring was her worst since 1995. “It’s (U.S. Figure Skating’s) job to pick three skaters that will place the highest at the Olympics,” said Sasha Cohen, who had a comfortable lead after the short program. “I really am not too deep in the politics of U.S. Figure Skating, but I definitely think whoever it is that doesn’t get to go would be devastated.” Kwan knows that all too well. Then 13, she finished second at the 1994 nationals but was left off the Olympic team when Nancy Kerrigan was awarded a medical bye. It was the last time a skater petitioned for an Olympic spot. “Michelle’s been to a couple of Games already,” Cohen said. “But then again, it’s the United States’ job to send the best team, the strongest skaters.” Whether she wins or not, Cohen is considered a lock for the team. That means Emily Hughes, Beatrisa Liang, Meissner and Alissa Czisny are the ones vying for the remaining spots or spot. “I think that there’s probably only two spots. Maybe only one because you could almost say Sasha will win,” Meissner said. “So it’s kind of tough.” Or is it? Assuming Cohen makes the team, and looking at the other competitions the committee will consider, Kwan seems to come out on top. She was the only one to compete at the world championships last year, and she finished fourth. Czisny was sixth at the Grand Prix final, and Liang was seventh at Four Continents last year. Hughes has a bronze medal from the 2005 junior worlds. Kwan also has scored better under the new judging system. Even though her performance at last year’s world championships was far from her best, she scored a 61.22 in the short program and a 113.98 in the free skate for a total of 175.20 points. Of the other four skaters, the best scores are 59.11 (Hughes) for the short, 110.80 (Meissner) for the free skate and 168.32 (Czisny) for the final total. “I don’t have control over what place they give me. I have control over what I do on the ice,” Liang said. “Whatever they decide is what they decide. As long as I put out my best, that’s all I can do.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more