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Lakers ride Bryant's 48 points to win over 76ers

Forward passes Iverson for the NBA scoring lead

Lakers ride Bryant's 48 points to win over 76ers

After playing the past two games with one arm tied behind their backs - or suspended by the NBA - the Lakers returned to full strength Friday night and buried their five-game losing streak with a 119-93 rout of the Philadelphia 76ers at Staples Center.

It was the Lakers' most lopsided victory of the season, and it was a direct result of Kobe Bryant returning from a two-game suspension.

Bryant realigned the Lakers offense and passed Philadelphia's Allen Iverson for the NBA scoring lead with 48 points on 19-of-29 shooting. Bryant made all seven three-point shots he attempted, a Lakers record for three-pointers in a game without a miss.

Iverson, who was munching popcorn during Bryant's 62-point game last month and calling friends with directives to tune in on TV, had 31 points on 11-of-22 shooting and saw his scoring average drop to 33.1 points. Iverson had a better view this time - though no popcorn - as Bryant's average rose from 32.7 to 33.2.

Lamar Odom, freed of his temporary top-scoring responsibility, got to play his game and posted a career-high 12 assists. Smush Parker, one of the Lakers whose shooting can get shaky under pressure, relaxed with Bryant back and scored a career-high 24 points on 9-of-10 shooting despite having to guard Iverson.

"We just fell in line with what we're supposed to do," Bryant said. "Lamar is such a great facilitator that he takes a load off my shoulders. I don't have to facilitate and I can focus on putting the ball in the basket."

Said Parker, who made all five of his three-point shots: "We're going to get open shots when No.8 is on the court."

The Lakers reached season highs in points and shooting (58.5 percent) and brought a relaxed demeanor to the game that Bryant had initiated Wednesday in practice. Bryant surprised his teammates with an upbeat attitude despite the five consecutive losses, hoping to create a positive energy.

And unlike in the Lakers' November 11 loss in Philadelphia when Bryant shot 7 for 27, Bryant shot decisively before double teams could come to help Andre Iguodala.

Lakers coach Phil Jackson, who averted the first six-game losing streak of his coaching career, helped Bryant by extending the triangle offense to prevent Philadelphia from packing all its defenders inside.

Brown starts

Kwame Brown returned to the starting lineup at power forward for the first time since he strained his right hamstring on November 18 and was moved to the simpler center position in the offense.

Jackson replaced Brian Cook, wanting Brown's physicality to match up against 76ers forward Chris Webber and with Elton Brand and Jermaine O'Neal coming up.

"Obviously, we need his defense on some level," Jackson said of Brown.

Brown did well on Webber and in help situations on Iverson early. But in the second half, Brown began to annoy Jackson with his inability to get past offensive failures.

After a badly missed layup by Brown and then a foul, Jackson yelled at Brown: "Forget about it! Forget about it! It's over!"

But not long after, Brown threw the ball out of bounds then failed to get back on defense, resulting in his third foul. Jackson pulled Brown from the game at that time with 6:08 left in the third quarter.

Nets 113, Magic 106

At East Rutherford, New Jersey, Jason Kidd had 16 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds for his 69th career triple-double, and New Jersey beat Orlando for its ninth straight victory.

Vince Carter scored 31 points, going 14-of-15 from the free throw line, to lead six Nets players in double figures. Richard Jefferson added 15 points, Nenad Krstic had 14, and reserves Clifford Robinson and Jacque Vaughn each scored 10.

Dwight Howard paced the Magic with 19 points and 14 rebounds. Grant Hill scored 14 points, all in the first half, but played only two minutes in the second half before re-aggravating his strained groin.

Jameer Nelson had 18 points and Hedo Turkoglu 14 for the Magic, who have lost three straight following a three-game winning streak.

In other NBA action: Toronto 112, Houston 92; Atlanta 103, Boston 98; New York 113, Washington 92; San Antonio 83, Minnesota 77; New Orleans 90, Portland 80; Detroit 97, Seattle 85; Memphis 87, Utah 65; Chicago 105, Milwaukee 91; Dallas 114, Denver 112, OT; Sacramento 118, LA Clippers 114; Phoenix 111, Miami 93.


Updated : 2021-03-04 02:40 GMT+08:00