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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Bryant overtakes Malone on scoring list

ATLANTA (AP) Larry Drew remembers thinking as a young Lakers assistant coach that Kobe Bryant's talent "was off the charts" when the teen made his NBA debut with Los Angeles in 1996.

News photo
Six appeal: Kobe Bryant rests between action during the Lakers' 101-87 win over the Hawks on Tuesday. AP PHOTO

Fifteen years later, Drew isn't surprised to see Bryant still climbing the charts as the sixth-best scorer in NBA history.

Bryant scored 26 points to pass Moses Malone for sixth on the career scoring list and the Lakers beat Drew's Atlanta Hawks 101-87 on Tuesday night for their eighth straight win.

"He's very unique," said Drew, in his first season as the Hawks' coach, of the Lakers' star. "I was in L.A. when we traded for him, and you saw the talent.

"It was a matter of understanding and picking his spots and learning to play the game on the NBA level. And he did that. . . . He's a phenomenal player."

Bryant, a 13-time All-Star, began the night 12 points from matching Malone's 27,409 points. He passed Malone when he made three free throws with 2:05 remaining in the first half.

Bryant has moved past an impressive list of Hall of Fame scorers this season. He passed Malone one week after eclipsing Elvin Hayes for seventh. He also has topped the scoring totals of Hakeem Olajuwon, Oscar Robertson, Dominique Wilkins and John Havlicek this season.

"I'm just very fortunate, that's all," Bryant said.

The Lakers took a three-game losing streak into the All-Star break. Since then, they've won eight straight, a streak that began with a similar 104-80 home win over the Hawks on Feb. 22.

Bryant said the Lakers "are just all on the same page."

"We're making people take contested shots and taking them out of areas they're comfortable in," Bryant said.

"It's not necessarily that we're winning games, but how we're winning them. We're really playing well. We're not making too many mistakes."

Bryant had good support as the Lakers overwhelmed the Hawks with their depth and power game inside.

The Lakers' 7-footers — Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol — both had double-doubles and dramatically affected the Hawks' shot selection. Center Al Horford relied on jump shots for his 17 points.

Bynum had 16 points, 16 rebounds and three blocked shots. It was his third straight game with 16 or more rebounds.

Trail Blazers 105, Heat 96

In Miami, shortly after LeBron James called LaMarcus Aldridge one of the top All-Star "snubs" in NBA history, he scored 26 points and led the Trail Blazers to a win over Miami — sending the Heat to their fifth straight loss.

76ers 110, Pacers 100

In Indianapolis, Thaddeus Young scored 18 points and Andre Iguodala, coming off back-to-back triple-doubles, finished with 16 points and 10 assists for Philadelphia.

Bucks 95, Wizards 76

In Washington, Brandon Jennings scored 23 points and Andrew Bogut had 14 points, nine rebounds and seven assists in his first game back after an injury.

Warriors 95, Cavaliers 85

In Cleveland, Monta Ellis made a career-high six 3-pointers — all in the second half — and scored 24 points, and Stephen Curry added 23 points.

Suns 113, Rockets 110

In Phoenix, Hakim Warrick scored a career-high 32 points starting in place of injured Channing Frye and the Suns added to their recent mastery of Houston.

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