LOS ANGELES (AP) — Kobe Bryant scored 33 points and hit a tiebreaking jumper with 1:15 to play, and the Los Angeles Lakers bounced back from consecutive home losses with a 102-98 victory over the pesky Philadelphia 76ers on Friday night.
Pau Gasol had 20 points and eight rebounds for the Lakers, and Lamar Odom scored 18 points off the bench as the defending champions barely hung on to win the NBA’s final game of 2010.
HIGHLIGHTS/John Ireland Postgame Recap
Los Angeles never trailed for the sixth time this season, but also couldn’t shake the young Sixers until Philadelphia missed five shots in the final minute.
Jrue Holiday had 19 points and 11 assists and Lou Williams scored 18 points for the Sixers, whose eight-game road trip concludes Monday in New Orleans.
The Sixers won at Denver and Phoenix over the past five days, but repeatedly fell just short of taking a late lead in their fourth straight loss to the Lakers.
Philadelphia cut the Lakers’ lead to one point midway through the fourth quarter with a 12-2 run led by Elton Brand and Thaddeus Young, who scored 14 points.
Holiday’s 3-pointer in front of the Lakers’ bench again cut the lead to 96-95 with 2:45 left.
After Bryant hit a jumper, Young’s three-point play with 1:33 left on a fast break created by Bryant’s turnover tied it at 98.
Bryant hit another mid-range jumper, and Philadelphia missed four shots over its final two possessions, including Williams’ missed 3-pointer with 4 seconds left.
Bryant hit two clinching free throws with 1.9 seconds to play.
Despite the late dramatics, the Lakers won their second straight after three straight blowout losses to head into a home-friendly January schedule with a bit of momentum.
Six days after barely putting up a fight in the Miami Heat’s Christmas win at Staples Center, the Lakers built on Wednesday’s win at New Orleans by holding off persistent Philadelphia, which refused to wrap up 2010 quietly despite playing its third straight game without Andre Iguodala, who won’t return from tendinitis for several more games.
After losing their last two home games by at least 16 points apiece for just the third time in franchise history, the Lakers avoided their first three-game home losing streak since March 2008.
Andrew Bynum had eight points and 15 rebounds in his first start of the season at Staples Center, following up his return to the starting lineup at New Orleans.
Odom, who willingly went back to the bench when coach Phil Jackson shook up his struggling lineup, got a warm ovation when he checked in as a reserve.
The Lakers never trailed in the first half, taking a 12-point lead early in the second quarter and staying ahead despite Holiday’s 13 points.
NOTES: Los Angeles hasn’t lost three straight home games by double digits since February 1993. … Lakers coach Phil Jackson assisted 76ers coach Doug Collins during their days with the Chicago Bulls. Jackson eventually replaced Collins and led the Bulls to six titles. …
Fans near courtside included Tom Petty, baseball agent Scott Boras, George Lopez and actresses Heather Locklear and Regina King.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)