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Jon Krawczynski, Published February 23 2009

Wolves’ slide continues

MINNEAPOLIS – 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 in Minnesota, 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.

L.A. Lakers 29 25 24 33 – 111

Minnesota 26 24 30 28 – 108

L.A. LAKERS (111): Walton 3-8 0-0 8, Odom 10-14 5-6 25, Gasol 9-13 7-10 25, Fisher 3-8 1-2 9, Bryant 11-21 6-7 28, Farmar 2-5 1-2 6, Ariza 2-6 0-0 4, Vujacic 0-2 0-0 0, Powell 3-5 0-0 6, Mbenga 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 43-82 20-27 111.

MINNESOTA (108): Miller 6-10 0-0 14, Gomes 7-17 3-3 20, Love 3-7 5-6 11, Telfair 9-17 0-0 20, Foye 5-13 4-7 16, Collins 0-2 1-2 1, Ollie 0-3 0-0 0, Smith 9-10 1-1 19, Carney 3-5 0-0 7. Totals 42-84 14-19 108.

3-Point Goals – L.A. Lakers 5-13 (Walton 2-3, Fisher 2-4, Farmar 1-2, Ariza 0-1, Vujacic 0-1, Bryant 0-2), Minnesota 10-25 (Gomes 3-9, Telfair 2-4, Miller 2-5, Foye 2-5, Carney 1-2). Fouled Out – None. Rebounds – L.A. Lakers 47 (Odom 14), Minnesota 46 (Love 10). Assists – L.A. Lakers 32 (Bryant 7), Minnesota 26 (Ollie, Foye 6). Total Fouls – L.A. Lakers 20, Minnesota 24. A – 19,177 (19,356).