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Sunday, Jan. 23, 2011

Kobe takes Nuggets, fans, to woodshed

DENVER (AP) Kobe Bryant blasted the Denver crowd by day and quieted it at night.

News photo
Fifth straight victory: Phoenix's Steve Nash drives past Washington's John Wall in the first half on Friday night. The Suns beat the Wizards 109-91. AP PHOTO

After criticizing Denver fans for booing Carmelo Anthony, Bryant gave the Pepsi Center crowd little to cheer about, as he led the Los Angeles Lakers past the Nuggets, 107-97 on Friday night.

Bryant scored 14 of his 18 points in the decisive third quarter and was one of five Lakers to score at least 17. Ron Artest scored a season-best 19 as did Pau Gasol. Lamar Odom had 18 and Andrew Bynum 17.

"Every one of their big guys had a big game," Nuggets coach George Karl lamented.

After frittering away double-digit leads in their last three games, the Lakers never let up after grabbing a 10-point advantage in the third quarter.

Anthony led Denver with 23 points after missing the shootaround to attend to a personal matter. Arron Afflalo chipped in 22, but the Nuggets repeatedly failed to find him in their second-half rotations and Bryant went off in the third quarter, helping the Lakers take control.

Bryant said his quiet first half was by design.

"It's important for me to keep my guys involved, and build their confidence. I know I can score at any moment or get looks at any moment," he said. "The third quarter I was able to do that."

Bryant, who gets booed in Denver every time he touches the ball, called out the Nuggets fans who have been jeering Anthony over his trade stance. "Melo's a good friend of mine and it's the truth," Bryant said after the game. "It's stupid. You don't boo him. It's silly. You boo him the first time, let him know how you feel and get over it."

Hornets 100, Hawks 59

In Atlanta, Chris Paul scored 16 points and dished out eight assists in a laugher for New Orleans, which took control late in the first half and held the Hawks to their lowest-scoring game in Atlanta history.

Celtics 110, Jazz 86

In Boston, Kevin Garnett scored 21 points, Paul Pierce added 20 and Rajon Rondo had 12 assists to lead the Celtics to their fifth straight win.

Spurs 101, Knicks 92

In San Antonio, Tim Duncan had 21 points and 16 rebounds, and the Spurs extended their winning streak to eight games.

Magic 112, Raptors 72

In Orlando, Dwight Howard had 31 points and 19 rebounds to lead the Magic.

Ryan Anderson added 21 points for Orlando, which avenged a four-point home loss to the Raptors in November.

Suns 109, Wizards 91

In Washington, Channing Frye scored 25 points and led a third-quarter 3-pointer run, helping Phoenix to its season-high fifth consecutive victory. Frye made four of the Suns' six 3-pointers during a third quarter in which Phoenix outscored Washington 31-18.

Grizzlies 115, Rockets 110

In Memphis, Zach Randolph had 29 points and 19 rebounds, Rudy Gay added 22 points, and the Grizzlies snapped a seven-game losing streak to Houston.

Nets 89, Pistons 74

In Newark, N.J., Anthony Morrow scored all of the points during a key second-half run in his first game since mid-December, leading the Nets to the victory.

Bucks 102, Cavaliers 88

In Cleveland, Andrew Bogut scored 23 points, Corey Maggette added 20 and Milwaukee took its turn beating up the horrible Cavaliers, who lost their 15th straight with no end to their slide in sight.

Warriors 119, Kings 112 (OT)

In Oakland, Monta Ellis scored 28 points, including a tying jumper in the final second of regulation, and Golden State stunned Sacramento in overtime again.

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