At last, Kobe Bryant and Lakers win a game: ‘We got to start somewhere’

'I know the city probably feels good about it' said LA Lakers coach Byron Scott after the team's first win of the year following five straight losses to begin the season.

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant goes up for a dunk past Cody Zeller on Sunday in the Lakers' NBA win over the Charlotte Hornets. Mark J Terrill / AP / November 9, 2014
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Purple and gold streamers descended from the ceiling and fans were on their feet applauding at the end. The Los Angeles Lakers finally won a game after five straight losses to open the season.

“I know the city probably feels good about it,” said Byron Scott, who got his first victory as Lakers coach after they rallied to beat the Charlotte Hornets 107-92 on Sunday night.

The party atmosphere didn’t extend to the Lakers’ locker room.

“They were all pretty quiet,” Scott said. “What I said was, ‘OK, that’s one’.”

Kobe Bryant and Jeremy Lin each scored 21 points, and Carlos Boozer added 16 as the Lakers left Philadelphia as the NBA’s only winless team at 0-7.

“We got to start somewhere,” a subdued Bryant said.

Lin and Boozer’s offence dominated the third, when the Lakers were down by seven before a 25-6 run sent them into the fourth leading 76-64.

It was a lead they never gave up.

“Mentally, it gives us the vision that we can win,” Scott said.

Al Jefferson scored 23 points and Kemba Walker added 17 for the Hornets, whose two-game winning streak ended. Gary Neal added 10 of his 14 in the fourth off the bench and Lance Stephenson had 10 rebounds.

“The difference was that they made shots and we didn’t. Kobe hit a couple of tough fades and Lin hit a few,” Neal said. “It doesn’t matter that the Lakers were 0-5. Any time you have a Hall of Famer like Kobe, you always have a chance to win.”

The Lakers scored 14 unanswered points in their dominating third-quarter run, including eight in a row by Boozer, whose jumper gave them their first lead of the game at 61-59.

The Hornets were held to five field goals in the third, and just two over the final 3:48, while getting outscored 34-13 in the period.

“We sat down on them defensively,” Bryant said. “We flew around and made them take tough shots, made a conscious effort to post Booz early.”

Bryant, prone to taking over games while his younger teammates watched, still put up the most shots (20) of any Laker, but he scored just nine points in the second half.

Bryant had one basket in the fourth, with six other Lakers contributing to the offence. Lin and Wesley Johnson hit consecutive three-pointers that had the crowd on its feet cheering a victory that wasn’t in doubt.

“Guys weren’t just looking to get the ball to Kobe and step out of the way,” Scott said. “I talked to Jeremy before the game about being more assertive on both ends of the floor.”

The Hornets got no closer than eight in the fourth, when the Lakers shot 62 per cent.

“We stopped playing defence in the second half,” Charlotte coach Steve Clifford said. “You could see our language starting to fade when we started missing shots and not playing defence.”

AROUND THE LEAGUE

Suns 107 (4-3), Warriors 95 (5-1)

Isaiah Thomas scored 15 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Phoenix Suns to a come-from-behind 107-95 victory Sunday over the Golden State Warriors, leaving the NBA with no unbeaten teams.

Fellow reserve Gerald Green added 16 of his 19 points in the final quarter, when the Suns surged ahead after trailing by eight through three.

Stephen Curry scored 28 points but just six in the second half, when he was plagued by missed shots and foul trouble. Curry, who entered tied for the NBA scoring lead, added 10 assists for his fourth double-double of the season.

Draymond Green added 22 points and nine rebounds for the Warriors (5-1), who played without Klay Thompson (sprained right hand).

Heat 105 (5-2), Mavericks 96 (4-3)

Luol Deng scored a season-high 30 points, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade added 20 apiece and Miami stayed perfect against Dallas since the 2011 NBA Finals.

The Heat have won seven straight regular-season games against the Mavericks since Dallas took three in a row in the finals to capture their first championship.

Miami were without LeBron James in this rematch, while the Mavericks faced the Heat for the first time since the return of two important pieces from their title team, Tyson Chandler and JJ Barea.

But Deng was the key off-season acquisition that mattered most, going 13-of-19 from the field with five rebounds and four assists as the ball-moving Heat shot 55 per cent to 42 per cent for Dallas.

Monta Ellis led the Mavericks with 23 points.

Raptors 120 (6-1), 76ers 88 (0-7)

DeMar DeRozan scored 24 points, Terrence Ross had 17 and Toronto routed winless Philadelphia for their sixth victory in seven games.

Lou Williams added 16 against his former team and Kyle Lowry had 14 for the Raptors, who are alone atop the Eastern Conference for the first time in their 20-year history. They were tied for first in November 2004.

Toronto set a season high in points against the 76ers, who were even worse defensively than when they allowed 118 points against Chicago on Friday.

Tony Wroten scored 18 points and Chris Johnson had 16 for the 76ers, who lost for the 70th time in their past 86 regular-season games.

Trail Blazers 116 (4-3), Nuggets 100 (1-5)

LaMarcus Aldridge scored 28 points and Portland handed Denver their fifth straight loss.

Wesley Matthews added 21 for the Blazers, who have won three of their last four.

Ty Lawson had 18 points for Denver after missing the team’s 110-101 loss at home to Cleveland on Friday night because of a sore left ankle. Kenneth Faried led the Nuggets with 19 points.

Portland were coming off a 106-102 loss to the Clippers in Los Angeles the day before but showed no sign of fatigue, leading by as many as 17 points in the fourth quarter.

Thunder 101 (2-5), Kings 93 (5-2)

Reggie Jackson scored 11 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter to help Oklahoma City beat Sacramento.

Jackson scored eight points in the final 2:17, going 6-of-7 from the free throw line.

Jeremy Lamb scored 17 points, Serge Ibaka had 14 points, nine rebounds and four blocks, and Sebastian Telfair added 14 points for the Thunder. Though struggling without injured stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, they improved to 2-1 at home.

Rudy Gay had 23 points, 10 rebounds and six assists, and DeMarcus Cousins and Ben McLemore each added 16 points for the Kings.

Jazz 97 (3-4), Pistons 96 (2-4)

Gordon Hayward scored 17 points, including four in the final 2 minutes, Derrick Favors added a double-double and Utah overcame a double-digit, second-half deficit to beat Detroit.

Brandon Jennings, who had 23 points, missed a floater from the free-throw line that could have given the Pistons the victory.

Favors finished with 16 points and 12 rebounds for Utah, while Enes Kanter had 14 points and 11 boards.

Greg Monroe had 19 points and 11 rebounds for Detroit, and Andre Drummond added 11 points and 18 rebounds.

Nets 104 (4-2), Magic 96 (2-5)

Bojan Bogdanovic scored a season-high 22 points to lift Brooklyn over Orlando.

Mason Plumlee added 12 points and 10 rebounds while Deron Williams and Kevin Garnett each had seven assists for the Nets.

Nikola Vucevic led the Magic with 27 points and 12 rebounds. Vucevic scored 17 of Orlando’s 25 points in the third quarter as the Magic trailed 81-77 entering the fourth quarter. Evan Fournier scored 19 points.

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