Kobe Bryant scored 29 points and made two free throws with seven seconds remaining, lifting the Los Angeles Lakers to a 99-98 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats on Sunday night in Los Angeles.
Bryant was just 9 of 30 from the field, but he made 11 of 12 free throws, including the winning pair after being fouled by Bernard Robinson.
Melvin Ely scored 20 points, Brevin Knight added 17, and Emeka Okafor grabbed 12 rebounds for the Bobcats, who lost their ninth in a row on the road. They remain winless in eight games against Western Conference opponents this season.
Knight made two free throws with 2:29 left to push Charlotte’s lead to 95-90. The Lakers made one final push, with Bryant passing to Brian Cook for a jumper, then Cook hitting a 3-pointer to draw the Lakers within one.
Bogans made a layup for a 98-95 lead, then Bryant missed a 3-pointer.
Bryant got fouled and made both free throws, cutting the Lakers’ deficit to one with 17 seconds left. He fouled Knight, who missed both with 11 seconds left.
After a timeout, Bryant drove the basket and got fouled, setting up the winning free throws.
Suns 112, Hawks 94: In Phoenix, James Jones scored a season-high 20 points and Shawn Marion also had 20 to lead the Suns to their sixth consecutive victory, beating Atlanta and former teammate Joe Johnson.
The Suns’ winning streak is the longest in the NBA. It is also Phoenix’s sixth straight home victory and the eighth game in a row the Suns have held an opponent under 100 points.
Timberwolves 85, Kings 77: In Sacramento, Calif., Wally Szczerbiak scored 18 points and Troy Hudson had 17 to help Minnesota overcome Kevin Garnett’s shooting problems in the Timberwolves’ victory over the slumping Kings.
Garnett, 3 for 14 from the field, had a season-low 11 points and also finished with 10 rebounds for the Timberwolves, who have won two straight and six of eight overall to take over first place in the Northwest Division.
Mike Bibby had 14 points for the Kings, who lost their third in a row.
Jazz 98, Trail Blazers 93: In Portland, Mehmet Okur had 28 points and eight rebounds, and Utah withstood the Trail Blazers’ second-half rally for a victory.
Matt Harpring added 20 points, including a key 3-pointer in the final minute, as the Jazz snapped a three-game losing streak.
Celtics 102, Knicks 99: In New York, Ricky Davis scored 27 points and made two free throws with 8.7 seconds left, then Nate Robinson missed a long 3-pointer on the game’s final play as Boston beat the Knicks.
Stephon Marbury led the Knicks with 35 points, 24 of those coming in the first half.
Off the court
Trail Blazers forward Darius Miles has cartilage damage in his right knee that may require surgery. Miles said he had an MRI exam on Sunday and was going to seek a second opinion today. … Celtics coach Doc Rivers was fined $10,000 by the NBA for failing to leave the court in a timely manner after getting ejected Friday against Chicago.
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