8:00 PM ET, March 28, 2013
BMO Harris Bradley Center, Milwaukee, WI
Following Los Angeles' 113-103 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday night, the Lakers said Bryant had a bone spur in his left foot. He left the arena using one crutch but appeared to be walking without any pain.
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Bryant led the Lakers with 30 points, leaving him four points behind Wilt Chamberlain (31,419) for fourth place on the NBA's career list. He played 36½ minutes and did not show any signs of a difficulty during the game.
"Inflamed on me. I'll be all right," Bryant told Yahoo! Sports.
The Lakers are eighth in the Western Conference, a half-game ahead of Utah for the final playoff spot.
Larry Sanders scored 13 of his career-high 21 points in the third quarter for the Bucks. He was 8-of-11 from the floor and had 13 rebounds.
"Our attention to detail was a little bit better," coach Jim Boylan said. "Larry was great, really active. There was a lot of communicating going on. We've been struggling lately, and when you struggle, you can get into your own little world, and that's a bad place to be."
The Bucks hold the eighth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference and have a seven-game lead over ninth-place Philadelphia with 11 games to go. However, they weren't playing as a unit, the effort and energy level sagging, until the game against the Lakers.
"You need to be playing a collective game, whether it be offensively or defensively," Boylan said. "Tonight for us was maybe breaking out of that shell a little bit."
Sanders noticed the change, too.
"It's easy to kind of get in slumps and get that dark cloud over your head and stay there," he said. "But, we fought our way through tonight. It's good and showed a lot of character. You only lose when you stay down. You've got to get back up."
Howard said the Lakers needed to play better defense against the Bucks.
"We need to work together against these guys," he said. "We just didn't do that tonight. Defense needs to be a team effort each and every night."
Ellis scored eight points for Milwaukee during a late 12-3 run, making it 102-92 on a running shot in the lane. The Lakers turned it over on the next possession, and Daniels raced down the court and dunked to make it 104-92 with 4:12 left. The Lakers never got closer than eight the rest of the way.
Jennings was on the bench, again, during the fourth quarter. At 8:08 left, Boylan took Jennings out and put Ellis in. He scored the Bucks' next six points and turned the momentum. J.J. Redick, Ilyasova, Daniels and Sanders finished the game with Ellis.
Jennings also was benched in the fourth quarter of Wednesday night's loss to Philadelphia.
He was unhappy about the move and felt picked on.
"Brandon played great tonight. I took him out, had all intentions of putting him back in the game," Boylan said. "I had every intention of putting him back in the game, but then the game started to roll in our favor. I didn't want to mess with the chemistry we had out on the court. Not that I didn't trust Brandon to come back and play well."
The Lakers' last gasp came early in the fourth. Antawn Jamison scored twice and Howard dunked in a miss to help the Lakers regain the lead at 83-82. The teams exchanged the lead four times before Jennings' 3-pointer at 8:23 put Milwaukee ahead for good.
The Bucks started turning it around in the third, using a 19-8 run to close the quarter with an 82-77 lead.
Daniels stole an inbounds pass from Bryant under the Lakers' basket and passed to Sanders, who dunked to give Milwaukee a 70-69 lead with 4:23 left in the third. Sanders dunked his way to nine points during the surge. The rest of his points came on a hook shot and a free throw.
Lakers forward Metta World Peace had surgery Thursday on a torn meniscus in his left knee. He was injured in Los Angeles' loss to Golden State on Monday night and is expected to miss at least six weeks. ... The crowd cheered when the public address announcer said Marquette beat Miami to advance in the NCAA basketball tournament. ... Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni said Nash's back and hamstring "fired up on him. He toughed it out at first. I could tell he was hurting."
MILWAUKEE, WI - MARCH 28: Dwight Howard #12 of the Los Angeles Lakers dunks against the Milwaukee Bucks on March...(Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images)
Around The Association
MVP: Larry Sanders had a career-high 21 points to go along with his 13 rebounds and two blocks. Sanders was very active all night and scored all but one of his buckets right at the rim.
X factor: Monta Ellis played a great fourth quarter, scoring eight of his 18 points in the game-defining period. Instead of allowing the Lakers to get back into the game, Ellis continued to push the pace and put the game away.
That was ... unfortunate: In a season that has been plagued with injuries, the Lakers' starting point guard Steve Nash didn't see the floor in the fourth quarter due to an injury. He may not have changed the outcome tonight, but losing Nash for any time is tough nonetheless.
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