Kobe leads Lakers to win over Minnesota .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:none; color:#000000;} .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink:hover { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:underline; color:#990000;} LOS ANGELES - Kobe Bryant had 26 points and five assists as the Los Angeles Lakers pulled away in the fourth quarter to beat the struggling Minnesota Timberwolves 98-86 on Sunday.

Pau Gasol had 18 points, 11 rebounds and six assists, Andrew Bynum added 14 points and nine rebounds, and Trevor Ariza scored 14 points for the Lakers.

The win was the 13th in the last 15 games for the Lakers, whose 20-3 record is the second-best in the NBA behind Boston's 22-2 mark, but it was not very impressive.

The Lakers won despite being outrebounded 53-46.

"We held a team under 100 points. We limited our turnovers to 10, which is good,'' Lakers coach Phil Jackson said, looking at the bright side. Los Angeles forced 17 turnovers while committing 10 and shot 44.7 percent to Minnesota's 36.1 percent.

Al Jefferson had 20 points and 13 rebounds to lead Minnesota. The Timberwolves (4-19) lost their ninth straight game and fourth in a row since Kevin McHale took over as coach last Monday.

’Not mentally prepared’
"The guys are going to go out there and fight and scrap. I know that,'' McHale said. "We've just got to go out there and play a style of ball that will fit this team and stick with it. I don't think that right now, we are able to do that.

"Right now, we are not mentally or physically prepared to push the ball, push the pace for a long time.''

The Timberwolves have the NBA's second-worst record and are 2-10 on the road but they led 57-54 with six and a half minutes left in the third quarter after scoring eight straight points. But a three-pointer by Bryant, a basket by Lamar Odom and five straight points by Luke Walton gave the Lakers a seven-point lead, and they were on top the rest of the way. It was 69-62 entering the final period.

"We were in a great position to win,'' Jefferson said. "I just missed a lot of shots. I think we just need to get that first win (under McHale) and everything else is going to fall into place for us.''