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Thursday, Dec. 24, 2009

Kobe carries Lakers to fifth straight win

LOS ANGELES (AP) Kobe Bryant scored 40 points for the sixth time this season, and the NBA-leading Los Angeles Lakers shook off a rough first half before hanging on for their 16th victory in 17 games, 111-108 over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday night.

News photo
Hanging around: Golden State's Vladimir Radmanovic puts up a shot against Memphis in the first half on Tuesday night. The Grizzlies beat the Warriors 121-108. AP PHOTO

Pau Gasol had 15 points and 11 rebounds for the road-weary Lakers, who needed two last-minute free throws apiece from Bryant and Derek Fisher to win their first game back from a five-game road trip.

After trailing by 12 in the first half, Los Angeles blew most of an 11-point lead in the fourth quarter. Baskets by Russell Westbrook and James Harden twice cut the Lakers' lead to one in the final 25 seconds, but Bryant and Fisher sealed Los Angeles' 12th straight win over Oklahoma City.

Celtics 103, Pacers 94

In Boston, Paul Pierce finished with 21 points, going 12 for 13 from the free throw line to make up for his slow start from the floor. Kendrick Perkins scored 19 points to go with eight rebounds, and Rasheed Wallace filled in for ailing Kevin Garnett with nine points and 13 rebounds.

Troy Murphy had 24 points and a season-high 18 rebounds for Indiana, which lost its fourth straight.

Wizards 105, 76ers 98

In Washington, brilliant at the beginning and end, and basically silent in between, Gilbert Arenas scored 31 points to lead Washington over Philadelphia, ending a three-game home losing streak.

Arenas scored the game's first seven points and finished the opening quarter with 15. After adding only two points in each of the next two periods, he came back out of his shell in the fourth, scoring 12. He finished with eight rebounds but only two assists.

Knicks 88, Bulls 81

In New York, David Lee rattled in the clinching jumper with 5.5 seconds left, finishing with 18 points and a career high-tying 21 rebounds as the Knicks held on to beat Chicago.

One night after blowing a 35-point third-quarter lead in a home loss to Sacramento, the Bulls nearly battled back from a huge deficit in this one. But New York prevailed for its third straight victory and seventh in nine games.

Bobcats 88, Pistons 76

In Charlotte, Gerald Wallace had 29 points and 12 rebounds in his return after missing a game with severe headaches, leading the Bobcats over undermanned Detroit to snap a three-game skid.

The Pistons lost their fifth straight as they again had 52 points a game in street clothes, with Richard Hamilton (hamstring), Tayshaun Prince (back) and Ben Gordon (ankle) sidelined.

Hawks 112, Timberwolves 87

In Minneapolis, Jamal Crawford scored 26 points and Joe Johnson added 21 points and six assists to lead Atlanta past Minnesota.

Al Horford had 16 points and 11 rebounds and Mike Bibby added 18 points and six assists for the Hawks (20-7), who tied the best start in franchise history.

Grizzlies 121, Warriors 108

In Memphis, Zach Randolph scored a season-high 33 points and grabbed 18 rebounds, and the Grizzlies withstood Golden State's strong start to beat the slumping Warriors.

Trail Blazers 85, Mavericks 81

In Dallas, Brandon Roy scored 23 points, LaMarcus Aldridge added 19 points and 12 rebounds and Portland rallied in the fourth quarter to beat the Mavericks.

Andre Miller's two free throws with 6.5 seconds remaining sealed the victory.

Rockets 108, Clippers 99

In Houston, Carl Landry matched his career high with 27 points in his first game back after dental surgery, helping the Rockets beat the Clippers.

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