Barkley’s worried

In case you missed it, here’s what Charles Barkley had to say on TNT about the Lakers before their victory Monday night over the San Antonio Spurs: “I’m concerned about Kobe (Bryant’s) health. Kobe and Pau Gasol are the only Lakers who have played well. Lamar Odom has been inconsistent, Andrew Bynum for some reason cannot play well with Pau Gasol. Ron Artest has not helped them and their bench has been inconsistent. I was watching Michael Wilbon the other day and he was talking about Kevin Garnett, Kobe, guys like that, those guys have actually played more minutes than guys like myself. I played more years than these guys, but these guys have played more minutes than I played. Kobe has played more minutes than I have and he’s played four years less than me. That takes its toll. The Lakers are still the favorite if everybody’s healthy.”

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Lakers 101, Spurs 89

Pau Gasol had a huge game to lead the Lakers past the San Antonio Spurs tonight at Staples Center. He scored 21 points, 19 rebounds, eight assists and five blocked shots as Kobe Bryant watched from the training room while getting treatment on his sprained left ankle. Ron Artest had 18 points, Lamar Odom had 16 points and 10 rebounds. Jordan Farmar and Derek Fisher scored 13 apiece. Andrew Bynum (bruised right hip) also didn’t play. Manu Ginobili led the Spurs with 21 points and Tony Parker scored 20.

“It was fun,” Gasol said after the Lakers improved to 40-13, including 2-0 without Bryant. “I think it was a good challenge for us. The way we played tonight, (it) was beautiful to be out there. We played hard and got a nice win. I think it’s got to be reassuring for the rest of the team and for the guys who don’t play that much that are now stepping up. We have to play different roles without Kobe and Bynum out there.”

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Halftime: Lakers 50, Spurs 47

Lamar Odom scored 11 points, Ron Artest added nine points, Sasha Vujacic added eight points and Pau Gasol had six points and 10 rebounds in the first half tonight. How’s that for balance? The Lakers were missing Kobe Bryant (sprained left ankle) and Andrew Bynum (bruised right hip) while facing the full-strength San Antonio Spurs. The Lakers gave up the game’s first nine points, but rallied behind a pair of 3-pointers from Artest in the early minutes and things settled into a better rhythm. Tony Parker led the Spurs with 15 points.

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Bryant, Bynum updates (UPDATED)

UPDATE: Kobe Bryant underwent an MRI exam today, which revealed he has a sprained left ankle. So, nothing new there. He’s not going to play tonight against the San Antonio Spurs. It’s unclear whether he will play in Wednesday’s game against the Utah Jazz. Lakers coach Phil Jackson said before the game he hoped Bryant could play. As for Andrew Bynum, he also isn’t playing tonight. He has a bruised and swollen right hip and he could be out until after the All-Star break. He said he probably wouldn’t play against the Jazz, adding that it could be week before he’s ready to play.

Kobe Bryant is listed as questionable to play tonight against the San Antonio Spurs because of a sprained left ankle. Andrew Bynum is listed as doubtful to play because of a bruised right hip. If neither can play, the Lakers’ starting lineup might look like this:

Fowards: Ron Artest, Lamar Odom.
Center: Pau Gasol.
Guards: Shannon Brown, Derek Fisher.

If Bryant plays and Bynum doesn’t, it could look like this:

Fowards: Ron Artest, Lamar Odom.
Center: Pau Gasol.
Guards: Kobe Bryant, Derek Fisher.

Best guess: Neither plays. More after the locker room opens at 6 p.m..

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Lakers 99, Blazers 82

PORTLAND, Ore. — Ron Artest scored 21 points to help lead the Kobe Bryant-less Lakers past the Portland Trail Blazers, ending their nine-game losing streak in Oregon. Shannon Brown added 19 points in a reserve role. Derek Fisher had 14 points and six assists. Pau Gasol had 13 points, Jordan Farmar added 12 and Lamar Odom scored 10 points and tied his career high with 22 rebounds. LaMarcus Aldridge led Portland with 16 points. The Lakers went 3-2 during a hectic seven-day schedule of games that stretched from the East Coast to the West Coast with a stop in the middle of the country. They beat the Celtics in Boston on Sunday, lost to the Grizzlies in Memphis on Monday, beat the Charlotte Bobcats on Wednesday at Staples Center, lost to the Denver Nuggets at home Friday and then defeated the Trail Blazers at the Rose Garden tonight.

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Bynum out, too

PORTLAND, Ore. — Center Andrew Bynum suffered a hip contusion in the first half and could not answer the bell for the second. He had three points and one rebound in 9 minutes, 33 seconds in the first half. His status for Monday’s game against the San Antonio Spurs at Staples Center was not immediately know. More later.

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Halftime: Lakers 54, Blazers 48

PORTLAND, Ore. — Ron Artest moved from small forward to shooting guard and Lamar Odom went from sixth man to starting small forward because Kobe Bryant sat out because of a sprained left ankle. Artest scored 11 points in the first half, hitting a pair of 3-pointers in the closing seconds. Odom had six points and eight rebounds. Shannon Brown led the Lakers with 14 points in a reserve role. LaMarcus Aldridge led Portland with 12 points.

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Bryant’s streak ends

PORTLAND, Ore. — Kobe Bryant’s streak of 235 consecutive games will end tonight, when he sits out for the first time since March 7, 2007 because of a sprained left ankle. Bryant declined to speak with reporters before tonight’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers. He scored 33 points during the Lakers’ loss Friday night against the Denver Nuggets at Staples Center. He last missed a game almost three years ago against the Milwaukee Bucks because of a one-game suspension. Bryant’s availability for Monday’s game against the San Antonio Spurs was not immediately certain.

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Roy sits it out

PORTLAND, Ore. — The Lakers got good news tonight when the Portland Trail Blazers announced guard Brand Roy would sit out the next three games plus the All-Star game because of a right hamstring injury. He had missed 11 of Portland’s last 12 games going into tonight’s contest against the Lakers, who have lost nine in a row at the Rose Garden. “Unfortunately, I’m not where I was hoping I would be physically at this point,” Roy said. “It’s a setback and I’m obviously disappointed, but my entire focus is getting back on the court, contributing and helping our team down the stretch.” Roy scored 32 points in the Blazers’ victory over the Lakers here last month. He is averaging 23.1 points in 40 games.

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Nuggets 126, Lakers 113

The Denver Nuggets busted the Lakers in the mouth in the third quarter, with Chauncey Billups scoring 21 of his career-best 39 points. He made 12 of 20 shots, including 9 of 13 from beyond the 3-point arc. J.R. Smith added 27 points on 11-for-17 shooting. Nene had 14 points. Kobe Bryant scored 33 points for the Lakers and Pau Gasol had 17 points and 17 rebounds. Denver shot 57.1 percent; the Lakers shot 44.9 percent. The Nuggets’ 126 points were the most the Lakers have given up this season. Next: Portland, where the Lakers have lost nine consecutive games at the Rose Garden.

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