Lakers down Spurs for second win without Kobe

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The Los Angeles Lakers pulled together to win their second straight contest without Kobe Bryant with a 101-89 victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Monday.

Pau Gasol had a versatile effort with 21 points, 19 boards, eight assists and five blocks while Lamar Odom had 16 points and 10 rebounds for the defending NBA champions.

Los Angeles (40-13) were not only without Bryant, who has missed two straight games because of an injured left ankle, but starting center Andrew Bynum was also absent with a hip ailment.

"We have quality players and with Kobe and Andrew out we had to play hard and play team basketball," Gasol told reporters. "You have to fight through. That's what the NBA is about."

Despite a good start, the Spurs (29-21) could not take advantage and slumped to a third defeat in their last five games, Manu Ginobili getting 21 points and Tony Parker 20 in the losing cause.

San Antonio scored the game's first nine points and led by six after the first quarter but the Lakers overhauled them and had a 50-47 lead at halftime. The Lakers then stretched the advantage and surged early in the fourth to go up by 11.

Los Angeles ended a five-year stretch without a win in Portland on Saturday and continued their balanced play in the absence of their leading scorer Bryant, with five players finishing in double figures.

The role players stepped up while Bryant gets a well-needed rest after playing through various injuries this season. His absence on Saturday was the first game he has missed since 2007 and he is currently listed as day-to-day.

"If I'm not able to play I won't play and If I am I will - it's as easy as that," Bryant said.

"If (Sunday's) All-Star game were today I could not play in it. I'm just trying to push out inflammation and trying to minimize the pain and increase the range. It's a process."

The defeat for the Spurs meant they slipped into a tie with the Oklahoma City Thunder for sixth place in the Western Conference.

Offseason acquisition Richard Jefferson struggled again, managing only nine points on 2-for-9 shooting.

(Reporting by Jahmal Corner, editing by Nick Mulvenney and Patrick Johnston; To query or comment on this story email sportsfeedback@thomsonreuters.com)