EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The Lakers defeated the New Jersey Nets, 103-95, and clinched the best record in the Western Conference tonight at the Izod Center. Pau Gasol had a season-high 36 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists to lead the Lakers (58-14).
Derek Fisher had 18 points. Kobe Bryant had 14 points and nine assists, but suffered a sprained right ankle that forced him to the locker room inside the final minute of the first half. He returned to score 12 points in the third quarter. He also left the game with only a few seconds left in the game to begin treatment. Vince Carter led the Nets with 20 points.
“We’re not going to pat ourselves on the back,” Lamar Odom said after the Lakers won the West for the second straight season. “We’re on a mission and that’s to get back to the playoffs and do well in the playoffs and hopefully advance to the championship round.”