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Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2012
Bryant, World Peace too much for Sixers
PHILADELPHIA — Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers are winning again. It's just a two-game streak, but it's still a turnaround from their abysmal play of late.
Bryant scored 34 points, Metta World Peace added 19 points and a career-high 16 rebounds and the Lakers won consecutive games for the first time in nearly a month with a 111-98 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday.
Dwight Howard had 17 points and 11 rebounds for the Lakers, who led 60-50 at halftime. Darius Morris had a career-high 15 points, all in the first half, and Chris Duhon scored 14. It was World Peace's first double-double since Jan. 13, 2010, at Dallas.
The Lakers (11-14), who beat Washington 102-96 on Friday night, won two in a row for the first time since a three-game win streak from Nov. 16-20.
"It's guys playing with confidence and guys trusting each other," said Bryant, who was 12-for-21 from the field and 8-for-9 from the free-throw line. "We played well, communicated well, kept attacking and good things happened. I know the questions have been coming because we hadn't been winning, but our time will come."
Even without injured stars Steve Nash and Pau Gasol, the Lakers hardly resembled the team which entered the night four games below .500. Bryant has scored at least 30 points in six consecutive games.
"We did a great job of attacking early and then we stayed with it," he said. "Our bench did a great job and stepped up and our whole team stepped up and just played with confidence."
Nick Young paced the reeling Sixers (12-12) with 30 points while Spencer Hawes and Evan Turner added 16 apiece. Thaddeus Young had 14 for Philadelphia, which dropped its third straight game for the first time this season.
"We just have to keep working, keep going to practice and go back to the drawing board," Thaddeus Young said.
Like the Lakers, the Sixers also have been playing short-handed. Point guard Jrue Holiday, who averages a team-best 18.4 points, missed his second consecutive game with a sprained left foot.
Raptors 103, Rockets 96
In Toronto, Jose Calderon had 18 points, 14 assists and 10 rebounds, and the Raptors won consecutive games for the first time in eight months with a victory over Houston.
Alan Anderson had 24 points and DeMar DeRozan added 19 for Toronto (6-19), which hadn't won consecutive games since April 13 and 15 of last season.
James Harden scored 28 points for the Rockets and Marcus Morris added 19.
Former Raptors sharp-shooter Carlos Delfino drained two baskets in the final 1:04 to pull Houston within two points, but Calderon sunk two free throws to put Toronto back up by four.
The teams traded free throws for most of the final minute.
Nuggets 122, Kings 97
In Sacramento, reserve JaVale McGee scored 19 points, Danilo Gallinari had 18 and Denver built a big lead in the first half to cruise past the Kings.
The Nuggets scored 16 straight points to snap a first-quarter tie and take control.
Denver has won seven in a row against the Kings.
Sacramento has now lost four straight.
Isaiah Thomas had 20 points and DeMarcus Cousins had 19 points and 11 rebounds for the Kings.
Sacramento's Aaron Brooks committed a hard foul against Andre Miller late in the first quarter and a mild altercation ensued involving Cousins and Kenneth Faried of the Nuggets. All four players were given technical fouls.
Trail Blazers 95, Hornets 94
In Portland, rookie Damian Lillard hit a 3-pointer with 0.3 seconds left as the Trail Blazers handed New Orleans its sixth straight loss.
After trailing by as many as 16, Austin Rivers hit a 3-pointer for the Hornets to tie it at 92 with 50.9 seconds left to set up Lillard's winner. Lance Thomas made a layup for the Hornets as time ran out for the final margin.
J.J. Hickson had a season-high 24 points and added 16 rebounds for Portland, which has won three straight. Hickson has five straight double-doubles and 13 overall this season.
Ryan Anderson had 26 points, including seven 3-pointers, for New Orleans.