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Bryant leads Lakers past Spurs — again

SHARE Bryant leads Lakers past Spurs — again

SAN ANTONIO — Kobe Bryant scored 17 of his 28 points in the second half Saturday to lead the Shaq-less Los Angeles Lakers to a 98-81 victory over the San Antonio Spurs.

It was the teams' first game since last season's Western Conference finals, when the Lakers swept the Spurs in four games en route to their second straight NBA title.

On Saturday, the Lakers broke open what had been a closely played contest by overwhelming the Spurs in the fourth quarter. They outscored the Spurs 29-18 and outrebounded them 12-4.

Los Angeles went 2-1 during Shaquille O'Neal's three-game suspension for a fight against the Bulls last weekend. The Lakers' center can return Tuesday against Denver.

Stanislav Medvedenko scored 12 points, and Derek Fisher 11 for the Lakers. Each Los Angeles player who saw action scored at least five points.

76ERS 97, KNICKS 89: Allen Iverson scored 34 points and Dikembe Mutombo added a season-high 24 points and grabbed 16 rebounds as Philadelphia extended New York's losing streak to seven games.

Eric Snow added 15 points and Corie Blount, starting in place of the injured Derrick Coleman, had 15 rebounds for the Sixers.

NETS 99, ROCKETS 90: Keith Van Horn scored 22 points and rookies Richard Jefferson and Jason Collins made big plays in crunch time in leading the New Jersey to a win over Houston.

Kerry Kittles added 21 points and Jason Kidd made four baskets down the stretch as the Nets (27-12) surpassed their victory total for all of last season in winning for the seventh time in eight games.

BUCKS 116, HAWKS 107: Ray Allen scored 31 points and Milwaukee extended its winning streak to a season-high seven games with a victory over Atlanta.

Sam Cassell, Jason Caffey and Anthony Mason added 17 apiece for the Bucks, who handed the Hawks their sixth straight loss. Milwaukee, which beat Orlando on Friday night, has now swept its past three back-to-backs.

RAPTORS 91, HORNETS 89: Vince Carter scored 34 points and Alvin Williams hit a pair of free throws with six seconds to play, leading Toronto to its first win in Charlotte since 1997.

The Raptors, who have won four straight, had lost nine straight and won just once in Charlotte in franchise history.

PISTONS 94, CELTICS 91: Jerry Stackhouse scored 28 points and Chucky Atkins made an 18-foot jumper with 3.1 seconds left to lead Detroit past Boston.

Detroit rallied from a 17-point deficit in the final 11 minutes for its second victory in as many nights.

Antoine Walker led Boston with 28 points. Paul Pierce added 23 points.

HEAT 100, PACERS 88: Eddie Jones scored 23 points and Miami shot a season-high 54 percent and scored 100 points for only the second time this season — and the second time this week — to beat Indiana.

The Heat won their fourth consecutive game, a season high, and improved to 5-13 at home The Pacers fell to .500 with their fifth loss in a row, their longest skid of the season.

MAGIC 119, GRIZZLIES 103: Tracy McGrady had 25 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists as Orlando dealt Memphis its third straight loss.

Troy Hudson added 18 points and seven assists for the Magic. Mike Miller scored 16 points and Pat Garrity scored 15.

SUPERSONICS 104, NUGGETS 77: Gary Payton had 25 points and 12 assists as Seattle handed Denver its 13th consecutive road loss.

Nick Van Exel scored 24 of his 28 points in the first half for the Nuggets, who fell to 2-15 on the road. Denver hasn't won on the road since Nov. 17 in Seattle.

TRAIL BLAZERS 113, CLIPPERS 93: Damon Stoudamire scored 14 of his 29 points in the third quarter as Portland beat the Los Angeles Clippers.

Ruben Patterson added 19 points and five rebounds, Scottie Pippen and Bonzi Wells each scored 13, Rasheed Wallace 12 and Shawn Kemp 10 for the Trail Blazers.

Darius Miles scored 20 points, and Quentin Richardson added 19 points and six rebounds to lead the Clippers, who fell to 3-14 on the road.

TIMBERWOLVES 105, WARRIORS 102: Terrell Brandon, playing his first game since returning from knee surgery, made four free throws in the final 20 seconds, and Kevin Garnett scored 21 points to lead Minnesota over Golden State.

Brandon, who underwent arthroscopic surgery Dec. 20 to remove loose particles in his left knee and missed 16 games, finished with eight points and four assists as the Timberwolves won for the 13th time in 15 games.