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Bryant, Lakers outlast spirited Wolves

KOBE Bryant scored 28 points to move past Elgin Baylor into 20th place on the NBA's career scoring list as the Los Angeles Lakers outlasted the Minnesota Timberwolves for a 111-108 victory yesterday.

Lamar Odom had 25 points and 14 rebounds, and Pau Gasol added 25 points for the team with the league's best record.

Ryan Gomes had 20 points and seven rebounds and Craig Smith scored 19 on 9-for-10 shooting for the Timberwolves, who committed 20 turnovers and lost their sixth straight home game.

Bryant's breakaway layin with 10:42 to play in the third quarter pushed him past the former Lakers great Baylor into third in franchise history, behind only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Jerry West.

Celtics 128, Suns 108

At Phoenix, Rajon Rondo scored a career-high 32 points to go with 10 assists on his 23rd birthday as Boston beat Phoenix without Kevin Garnett.

Ray Allen scored 31 and Paul Pierce 26 in Boston's first game since Garnett went down with a strained muscle in his right knee that is expected to sidelined him for at least two weeks.

Jason Richardson scored 21 for the Suns in their first loss in four games under new coach Alvin Gentry.

Raptors 111, Knicks 100

At Toronto, Andrea Bargnani had 28 points and 10 rebounds to help Toronto beat New York two days after absorbing a 30-point loss against the Knicks.

Each of the Toronto starters reached double figures and four of the five had double-doubles. Anthony Parker scored 24 points, Shawn Marion had 16 points and 15 rebounds and Chris Bosh added 11 points and 12 boards. Jose Calderon had 13 points and 11 assists.

Al Harrington scored 31 points and David Lee had 17 points and 15 rebounds for the Knicks, who have lost nine straight games in Toronto.

Pacers 98, Bulls 91

At Indianapolis, Troy Murphy had a season-high 27 points and Indiana survived a second-half stretch of 11 minutes without a field goal to beat Chicago.

The Pacers, playing without injured leading scorers Danny Granger and Mike Dunleavy, led 69-55 midway through the third quarter but did not make another field goal until a 3-pointer by Murphy with 6:43 left in the final period.

Chicago took an 80-77 lead before Murphy's 3-pointer. There were two more ties before T.J. Ford put Indiana ahead for good with a 3.

Ben Gordon had 28 points to lead Chicago.

Magic 122, Heat 99

At Orlando, Florida, Dwight Howard had 32 points and 17 rebounds as Orlando withstood a career-high 50 points by Dwyane Wade to rout Miami.

Hedo Turkoglu had 20 points and Rafer Alston added 12 points and nine assists for the Magic, who have won 12 of the past 15 games against their Sunshine State rival.

Trail Blazers 116, Clippers 87

At Portland, Oregon, Steve Blake tied the NBA mark with 14 first-quarter assists and LaMarcus Aldridge scored 28 points as Portland rolled past Los Angeles.

Blake matched the record set by San Antonio's John Lucas during the second quarter against Denver on April 15, 1984. Blake finished with 17 assists.

Aldridge had a double-double, as he hit 13 of 20 shots from the field and grabbed 10 rebounds. Portland (35-20) pulled to within two games of first-place Denver in the Northwest Division.

Eric Gordon led Los Angeles with 21 points.

Bucks 120, Nuggets 117

At Milwaukee, Charlie Villanueva scored nine of his season-high 36 points in the fourth quarter to help Milwaukee beat Denver.

Villanueva tied his career high with seven 3-pointers, and Ramon Sessions added 27 points for the Bucks.

Carmelo Anthony scored 33 points and Chauncey Billups added 21 for the Nuggets who ended a season-high eight-game road trip with a 5-3 mark.

Rockets 99, Bobcats 78

At Houston, Ron Artest scored 26 points, Yao Ming added 19 points and seven rebounds and Houston beat Charlotte in another win without Tracy McGrady.

Luis Scola had 12 points and 10 rebounds and Shane Battier sank three 3-pointers for the Rockets, who've won four straight games and eight of the last nine McGrady has missed with a sore left knee. McGrady announced Wednesday that he'll have season-ending surgery, but Houston is 15-6 without him this season.

Raymond Felton, Boris Diaw and Emeka Okafor scored 13 points apiece for the Bobcats.

Cavaliers 99, Pistons 78

At Cleveland, Delonte West scored 25 points in his first game since mid-January and LeBron James added 20, leading Cleveland over Detroit.

West, sidelined since Jan. 15 with a fractured right wrist, was 8-of-11 from the field and made all five of his 3-point attempts. He scored 13 points in the first quarter when the Cavaliers put the game away against the sluggish Pistons, who have lost six straight for the first time since February 2004, and fell to 27-27.

James, who scored 55 points Friday night against Milwaukee, played just 31 minutes, added nine assists and five rebounds.

Allen Iverson scored 14 points for the Pistons, who have lost 15 of 20.


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