LOS ANGELES — Carlos Boozer scored 18 points in his new role off the bench, and the Los Angeles Lakers shocked the league-leading Golden State Warriors 115-105 on Tuesday night without Kobe Bryant.
The NBA's No. 3 career scorer sat out for the first time this season to rest his tired legs, a decision made by coach Byron Scott.
The 36-year-old shooting guard, averaging 35.5 minutes through the first 27 games of his 19th NBA season and shooting just 37.2 percent, was 3 for 15 in a one-point loss to Oklahoma City last Friday and 8 for 30 with nine turnovers in a seven-point defeat at Sacramento on Sunday.
Bryant, who passed Michael Jordan on the career points list Dec. 14 at Minnesota, missed 76 games last season because of a torn Achilles and a fractured left knee. Scott said the two-time scoring champ was “on board” with the decision, adding that Bryant would be evaluated before Thursday's nationally televised Christmas Day game at Chicago.
Wayne Ellington made his first start for the Lakers in Bryant's place and 36th in 333 career NBA games. He scored 12 points in 25 minutes, one of seven Lakers in double figures.
Stephen Curry had 22 points and six assists for the Warriors, who lost for only the fourth time in their first 27 games. They also have lost to Phoenix, Memphis and the NBA champion San Antonio Spurs.
Curry, who didn't play in the fourth quarter, was 10 for 14 from the field after averaging 30.3 points and 12.3 assists in his previous three games against the Lakers. Draymond Green, still starting at forward despite the return of David Lee, made one of six shots in 24 minutes and finished with two points.
The Lakers made only one field goal over the final 5:56, a clutch 3-pointer by Jeremy Lin with 35 seconds to play. The Warriors cut it to 113-105 on Justin Holiday's 3-pointer with 29 seconds to go, before Ronnie Price helped put it away with a pair of free throws.
The Lakers, moving the ball just fine in the first half without Bryant orchestrating the offense, had 19 assists in 27 baskets and got 12 points each from Wesley Johnson and Ed Davis en route to a 63-48 lead.
Warriors: For the first time this season, the Warriors trailed by double digits after the opening quarter. They fell behind 34-24, giving up nine second-chance points and getting outrebounded 14-5. … Paul Walther, a six-year NBA veteran who played for both the Lakers and Warriors during the 1950s, died Sunday at age 87 in Atlanta.
Lakers: Former Laker Vlade Divac sank a midcourt shot to win $90,000 for charity, with the proceeds going to the Divac Childrens' Foundation and the Lakers' Youth Foundation. Divac shot 23.5 percent behind the 3-point line in his career (100 for 426). … Tuesday marked exactly seven years since Bryant became the youngest player to reach the 20,000-point mark during a game against the Knicks at Madison Square Garden (29 years, 122 days). … Bryant scored 28 and 44 points in the first two meetings with the Warriors â€” both losses by 20 or more points. He has a career scoring average of 27.9 against the Warriors, his highest against any opponent. … C Jordan Hill and F Wesley Johnson are now the only Lakers who have started all 28 games.
Warriors: At Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday.
Lakers: At Chicago on Thursday.