The Kobe Bryant Show
When the New Jersey Nets refused to let Kobe Bryant beat them with his shooting, he did them in with a couple of passes. After that, all he wanted to do was complain about how his team is playing.
Bryant scored 25 of his 32 points in the second half and set up Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom for easy baskets in a late, eight-point run that led the Los Angeles Lakers to a 99-92 victory over the Nets in Newark, N.J., on Sunday in front of a crowd that included Phillies slugger Ryan Howard.
The Lakers have been in a funk, winning only six of their last 11 games. "We have to muster up the energy and muster up the motivation to play every night," Bryant said. "I'm [annoyed] about it."
Odom had five of his 22 points in the late spurt and Gasol had the other three in capping a 15-point, 11-rebound effort.
Brook Lopez had 25 points and nine rebounds for the Nets, who have lost seven straight and nine of 11.
Elsewhere: With the Madison Square Garden crowd chanting "MVP!", Amar'e Stoudemire had 24 of his 30 points in the second half before Wilson Chandler made the tiebreaking three-pointer with 30 seconds left, and New York beat the Denver Nuggets, 129-125, for the Knicks' first eight-game winning streak in 16 years. Denver's Carmelo Anthony had 31 points and 13 rebounds. ESPN.com reported that the native New Yorker wants a long-term contract extension only if it comes with a trade to the Knicks. . . . George Hill scored 22 points and the host San Antonio Spurs became the NBA's first 20-game winner this season with a 95-78 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers. Tim Duncan, in his 1,000th career regular-season game, had eight points and 13 rebounds in 27 minutes. . . . Kevin Durant poured in 25 points as the Oklahoma City Thunder sent the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers to their eighth straight loss, 106-77.
Odom, on the NBA champion Lakers' Monday visit at the White House with President Obama: "It's always cool meeting the president, because he knows us all by name and knows who we are." - Staff and wire reports