Bryant scores 34, leads Lakers past 76ers
PHILADELPHIA — Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers are winning again. It’s just a two-game streak, but it’s still a turnaround from their abysmal play of late.
Bryant scored 34 points, Metta World Peace added 19 points and a career-high 16 rebounds and the Lakers won consecutive games for the first time in nearly a month with a 111-98 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday.
Dwight Howard had 17 points and 11 rebounds for the Lakers, who led 60-50 at halftime. Darius Morris had a career-high 15 points, all in the first half, and Chris Duhon scored 14. It was World Peace’s first double-double since Jan. 13, 2010, at Dallas.
The Lakers (11-14), who beat Washington 102-96 on Friday night, won two in a row for the first time since a three-game streak from Nov. 16-20.
“It’s guys playing with confidence and guys trusting each other,” said Bryant, who was 12 for 21 from the field and 8 for 9 from the free-throw line. “We played well, communicated well, kept attacking and good things happened. I know the questions have been coming because we hadn’t been winning, but our time will come.”
Even without injured stars Steve Nash and Pau Gasol, the Lakers hardly resembled the team which entered the night four games below .500. Bryant has scored at least 30 points in six consecutive games.
“We did a great job of attacking early and then we stayed with it,” he said. “Our bench did a great job and stepped up and our whole team stepped up and just played with confidence.”
Nick Young paced the reeling Sixers (12-12) with 30 points while Spencer Hawes and Evan Turner added 16 apiece. Thaddeus Young had 14 for Philadelphia, which dropped its third straight game for the first time this season.
“We just have to keep working, keep going to practice and go back to the drawing board,” Thaddeus Young said.
Like the Lakers, the Sixers also have been playing short-handed. Point guard Jrue Holiday, who averages a team-best 18.4 points, missed his second consecutive game with a sprained left foot.