Kobe Bryant scored all but two of his 27 points after halftime, including a go-ahead, 10-foot jumper in the lane with 23.9 seconds remaining, and the Los Angeles Lakers rallied from a 20-point deficit to beat the visiting San Antonio Spurs, 89-85, last night in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals.
Game 2 will be played tomorrow night before the best-of-seven series shifts to San Antonio for the third and fourth games. The Lakers are 7-0 in the postseason at Staples Center, where they've won 13 straight games overall.
"We almost gave up home-court advantage to a great effort by the Spurs," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "That was a big comeback."
Bryant also had five rebounds and nine assists. Pau Gasol had 19 points and seven rebounds, and Sasha Vujacic and Vladimir Radmanovic scored 10 points apiece for the Lakers.
Tim Duncan led the Spurs with 30 points, 18 rebounds and four blocked shots.
In other Lakers news, center Andrew Bynum underwent arthroscopic knee surgery yesterday in New York, and the team said it expects him to make a full recovery by the start of training camp next fall.
Bynum hasn't played since suffering a bone bruise in his knee and a subluxation of the kneecap in the third quarter of a win over Memphis on Jan. 13. He was having a breakout season, averaging 13.1 points, 10.2 rebounds and 2.1 blocked shots in 35 games.
* NBA coach of the year Byron Scott, who has the right to buy out the remainder of his contract and go to the highest bidder next season, said he expects to remain with the New Orleans Hornets.