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November 19, 2009

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Kobe hits form to sink Pistons

KOBE Bryant showed no signs of injury as the 11-time All Star guard lit up the scoreboard for 40 points in the Los Angeles Lakers' 106-93 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday.

Bryant, who struggled with an injured leg during the Lakers' loss to the Houston Rockets on Sunday, posted the 100th 40-point performance of his career. He now trails only Wilt Chamberlain (271) and Michael Jordan (173) in 40-point games in NBA history.

"I did therapy round the clock just trying to get as healthy as I can to be productive," Bryant told reporters after notching 40 points for the fourth time this season.

"It's a great feeling to think about where I started coming here at 17-year-old, to where we are today."

Will Bynum scored a team-high 24 points for the Pistons, who cut into a 25-point deficit in the fourth quarter to close the gap to 98-91 with 1:54 left in the game.

Detroit (5-6) played without injured starters Richard Hamilton (ankle) and Tayshaun Prince (back).

Last season's champion Los Angeles had endured consecutive losses coming into the game.

Elsewhere in the National Basketball Association, it was: Suns 111, Rockets 105; Cavaliers 114, Warriors 108; Thunder 100, Heat 87; Pacers 91, Nets 83; Hornets 110, Clippers 102; Nuggets 130, Raptors 112; and Bulls 101, Kings 87.

In Los Angeles, Bryant, who was held below 20 points in consecutive games and was shooting just 32 percent in his last two, shook off a one-for-six start against Detroit and scored 13 points in the second where his team took a 57-42 halftime lead.

Bryant finished 17-for-29 from the field and added five rebounds and five assists. Andrew Bynum put up 17 points and 12 boards as the Lakers (8-3) avoided losing three in a row for the first time since February 1, 2008.

The Lakers are sill awaiting for the return of seven-footer Pau Gasol, who could be back tomorrow against the Chicago Bulls.

"I can't wait," said Andrew Bynum, after Gasol indicated he would decide whether to come back pending how he felt in practice. "Our rotation will be back to normal (when Gasol returns) and our second unit will be better."

Offseason free agent signing Ben Gordon had 18 points for the Pistons.

In Houston, the Phoenix Suns recovered from a slow start to get a 111-105 win over the Rockets, rallying from a double-digit deficit to victory for the fifth time this season.

Amare Stoudemire scored 23 points and Steve Nash had 16 assists for the NBA's early-season pacesetter.

The Suns extended a strong recent record at Houston and remain the only team to reach 100 points in all their games this season.

For the Rockets, Carl Landry scored a career-high 27 points off the bench.


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