MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Kobe Bryant scored 28 points to move past Elgin Baylor into 20th place on the NBA's career scoring list and the Los Angeles Lakers outlasted the Minnesota Timberwolves for a 111-108 victory Sunday night.
Lamar Odom had 25 points and 14 rebounds, and Pau Gasol added 25 points for the team with the league's best record.
Ryan Gomes had 20 points and seven rebounds and Craig Smith scored 19 on 9-for-10 shooting for the Timberwolves, who committed 20 turnovers and lost their sixth straight home game.
Both teams were playing without their starting centers because of torn knee ligaments.
Andrew Bynum went down with a torn right MCL on Jan. 31 and isn't expected back until at least April. But the Lakers have defiantly steamrolled on without him. With Bryant upping his scoring average and Gasol playing huge minutes, the Lakers are 9-1 since their big fella went out.
The Timberwolves lost their heart and soul — Al Jefferson — to a torn ACL on Feb. 8 and have had a much tougher time figuring out how to play without him. They are 1-4 without their leading scorer and rebounder.
Bryant's breakaway lay-in with 10:42 to play in the third quarter pushed him past the former Laker great Baylor into third in franchise history, behind only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Jerry West.
The last time the Lakers were here, Bynum had 27 points and 15 rebounds in the Lakers' 132-119 victory, but things weren't as easy this time around.
The Lakers had height mismatches all over the floor.
Bryant had a 2-inch advantage over Foye according to the listed heights, but he plays so much bigger than the Wolves' captain and had no problem getting his shots in the low post.
The 7-foot Gasol was an even bigger handful for Kevin Love, generously listed at 6-10, on the low block. The Spainiard routinely beat Love down the floor to gain position in the paint, and once he got the ball, it was all over.
Bryant was 6-for-8 in the first half, most coming on short turnaround jumpers over Foye. Gasol went 8-for-10 in the first two periods with nothing coming from further than 5 feet out.
Yet for all that success, the Lakers had plenty of problems putting this depleted Wolves team away. Smith made his first eight shots from the field, the last two on breakaway layups to give Minnesota an 80-78 lead after three quarters.
Bryant converted a three-point play and then a baseline turnaround jumper over Foye with his tongue wagging Jordan-style for a 106-103 lead. He added two free throws and Foye missed a desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer to seal it.
Notes:@ Bryant also had seven assists and six rebounds. … The Timberwolves held a moment of silence before the game in memory of Utah owner Larry Miller, who died Friday. … Former Vikings defensive tackle Esera Tuaolo sang the national anthem.
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.