Mon, Dec 21, 2009 - Page 20 News List

NBA: Bryant sparks Lakers to big win over Nets

REUTERS AND AP , EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY, AND ORLANDO, FLORIDA

The Los Angeles Lakers’ Pau Gasol watches a foul shot during the first half of a game against the New Jersey in East Rutherford, New Jersey, on Saturday.

PHOTO: EPA

Kobe Bryant scored 29 points and had 10 rebounds as the Los Angeles Lakers came from behind to register a 103-84 victory over the New Jersey Nets on Saturday.

Bryant and Lamar Odom sparked an 11-0 run by the league-leading Lakers (21-4) to turn a one-point deficit into a 10-point lead in the third quarter.

“We had a couple days off so we were a little rusty,” Bryant, who scored 13 points in the third quarter, told reporters. “We picked up the play in the second half. Defensively we got our rhythm back, we got back in sync.”

Lakers coach Phil Jackson blamed himself for the team being out of sync.

“I screwed up the game by playing a lot of guys; 11 guys in the first half,” Jackson said. “[We got] some rest for the guys who had to play back-to-back and got ourselves ready to play the second half. Came out and played the kind of game we had to play.”

Odom, Pau Gasol and Jordan Farmar each contributed 14 points for Los Angeles. Gasol also had 14 rebounds and Odom 12.

Devin Harris had 21 points and Chris Douglas-Roberts 20 for the Nets, who have lost seven games in a row and have the NBA’s worst record this season (2-26) after starting with a league-record 18 consecutive losses.

New Jersey led 52-46 in the third before Bryant scored six consecutive points to pull Los Angeles within one. Derek Fisher’s three-pointer and Odom’s layup put the visitors ahead.

“New Jersey gained a little more confidence and the guys that were out there were playing well,” Bryant said. “We didn’t want it to go any further so I kind of took over.”

Interim Nets coach Kiki Vandeweghe said he was pleased with his team’s performance despite the loss.

“They competed every play and went out and got good shots,” Vandeweghe said. “I think in the second half you saw why the Lakers are one of the best teams in the NBA.”

MAGIC 92, TRAIL BLAZERS 83

In Orlando, Florica, the hosts overcame a sluggish first half to beat Portland and reclaim the Southeast Division lead.

Dwight Howard had 12 points, 20 rebounds and four blocks to help Orlando beat Portland for the sixth time in the past seven meetings.

Portland’s Brandon Roy had 33 points, but the Trail Blazers ran out of energy in the second half, shooting just 34 percent and being outrebounded 54-35.

The score was 76-76 with 6:53 left before the Magic went on an 11-0 run to seize control.

BULLS 101, HAWKS 98, OT

In Chicago, Atlanta’s six-game winning run was ended in overtime by the home team.

Derrick Rose scored a career-high 32 points, including the tying basket that sent the game to overtime, and then two free throws with 11 seconds left in the extra period to seal it.

The Hawks had a chance to tie it, but Joe Johnson missed a three-point attempt. Rose got the rebound and missed two free throws with 2.3 seconds left, but Atlanta’s inbound pass was blocked to end the contest. Johnson had a season-best 40 points for the Hawks, who slipped a game behind Orlando in the Southeast.

ROCKETS 95, THUNDER 90

In Houston, Texas, the hosts almost blew a 17-point third-quarter lead before steadying to see off Oklahoma City.

Trevor Ariza scored 31 points and hit five three-pointers for Houston, who have won 10 in a row at home against the Thunder.

Jeff Green led Oklahoma City with 21 points.

SUNS 121, WIZARDS 95

In Phoenix, Arizona, the hosts made extended their perfect home record to 10-0 by routing Washington.

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