LOS ANGELES // The Los Angeles Lakers beat the Toronto Raptors 112-99 on Sunday to win their seventh successive game and improve to an NBA-leading 14-1 (win-loss) record. Pau Gasol scored 24 points and Kobe Bryant added 23, both in three quarters of play, to spark the Lakers. Bryant also made seven assists. The centre Andrew Bynum, who finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds, and the Lakers' bench players played the fourth quarter.
"It's really nice to have a big lead so that we don't need to be out there for the fourth quarter," Gasol told reporters. "Other players can step up and our bench players can get some more minutes and some more flow. It's a win-win for us." Bryant scored 21 points in the first half and needed 17 more to become the youngest NBA player to 22,000 career points. But the Lakers guard, who is 30 years and 99 days old, scored only two points in the third quarter.
It was his final chance to grab the record off Wilt Chamberlain, who achieved the milestone at 30 years and 100 days. "This was a high (number) of assists for him in this game, for the year," the Lakers coach Phil Jackson said when asked why Bryant did not go for the record. "I thought he was looking to pass the ball and I thought he stayed aggressive, which were things that we had to have." Anthony Parker led Toronto (8-8) with 19 points while five of his teammates also scored in double figures with Andrea Bargnani scoring 14 points and grabbing 11 rebounds.
"We just couldn't come up with that key basket or that key stop when we needed it," the Raptors coach Sam Mitchell said. *Reuters