Kobe’s return equals win for Lakers
Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) – Kobe Bryant returned from a two-game
suspension to pour in 48 points as the Los Angeles Lakers romped the
Philadelphia 76ers, 119-93, at the Staples Center.
Bryant shot 19-of-29 and was a perfect 7-of-7 from behind the arc for the
Lakers, who stopped a season-high five-game losing streak. The seven-time All-
Star was suspended two games by the NBA for his flagrant foul on Memphis’ Mike
Miller during LA’s 100-99 overtime loss on December 28th at the Staples
Smush Parker put in a career-high 24 points and Chris Mihm added 13 points and
seven rebounds for Los Angeles, which snapped a three-game losing streak
The Lakers completely dominated for much of the game and had season-high’s in
points scored, margin of victory, and field goals made.
Allen Iverson had 31 points and seven assists and Andre Iguodala added 14
points for the Sixers, who concluded their season-long seven-game road trip
with back-to-back defeats. They finished 2-5 during the trip.
It was tight early in the first quarter. Iverson put in a driving layup to
draw within 14-13 with 6:25 left.
However, Parker drained a trey on the Lakers next possession to spark a
13-3 run capped off by a Bryant layup to make it 27-16 with under three
minutes remaining. The Lakers led 37-22 going into the second quarter.
“I was just playing basketball,” said Parker. “My defense is my offense.
Iverson is a roamer and I just tried to take full advantage of that. I was
able to get my hands on some loose balls and made the best of it.”
Philadelphia made it a 10-point game after Iguodala hit a jumper to make it
54-44 with a little under four minutes left until halftime.
Los Angeles scored 13 of the final 21 points and Bryant hit a free throw
to complete a three-point play in the closing seconds of the half to make it a
67-52 game at the break.
“Kobe made some shots that were incredible,” said Philadelphia coach Maurice
Cheeks. “Kobe was the difference in the game. We put ourselves in a hole early
and we couldn’t recover.”
The Sixers cut their deficit to nine about halfway through the third quarter
on the strength of a Chris Webber three-point play to make it 73-64.
The Lakers responded, though, with a small 7-2 spurt and increased their lead
to 14 points, 80-66, after Sasha Vujacic drained a three-pointer.
LA held a 94-75 lead going into the final 12 minutes.
Philadelphia never seriously threatened in the final quarter. The closest the
Sixers got to was within 17 points several times.
The Lakers play the Clippers on Saturday…Philadelphia returns home to host
Seattle on Monday…Lakers coach Phil Jackson has never lost six consecutive
games during his career as head coach…Bryant also had 10 rebounds in the
game…Webber finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds…Laker Lamar Odom had
eight points, 12 assists and seven rebounds.