Kobe keeps up torrid pace, scores 50 in win over Hornets

Associated Press • Mar 24, 2007 at 8:09 AM

NEW ORLEANS - Kobe Bryant is making 50-point games look routine.

Bryant finished with exactly 50, becoming only the second NBA player to hit that mark in four straight games and leading Los Angeles to a 111-105 victory over the New Orleans Hornets on Friday night.

Bryant followed scoring totals of 65, 50 and 60 in his previous three games, all victories.

Only Wilt Chamberlain has exceeded that mark, scoring at least 50 points in seven consecutive games during the 1961-62 season.

Bryant calmly made all 16 free throws he attempted while the opposing crowd tried to rattle him with arm-waving taunts.

Tyson Chandler had 22 points and 22 rebounds for New Orleans, which trailed nearly the entire second half. Chris Paul had 28 points and 12 assists for the Hornets, playing the last of six games scheduled in New Orleans this season before a full-time return to the city over the summer.

Hitting everything from a long 3-pointers to off-balance fades off the glass, Bryant scored 10 points in the first three minutes of the second half during a 14-4 run that gave the Lakers the lead for good at 70-61.

ORLANDO, Fla. - Jameer Nelson scored 22 points, 12 in the fourth quarter, and Orlando beat New Jersey in a matchup of teams fighting for the last two Eastern Conference playoff spots.

Vince Carter had 27 points, seven rebounds and five assists for the Nets, who shot 34.5 percent for the game and 11-for-41 in the second half. Orlando hit 42.3 percent overall.

Richard Jefferson scored 19 points for New Jersey and Mikki Moore added 12.

Both teams remain in the playoff hunt despite struggling in March: Orlando is 4-7, New Jersey is 3-8.

SAN ANTONIO - Tony Parker scored 22 points to lead San Antonio over Detroit, which has dropped its first two games on a three-game road trip.

Tim Duncan added 17 points and 14 rebounds, Brent Barry had 16 points, Manu Ginobili added 10 and Francisco Elson had 10 rebounds.

Rasheed Wallace had 21 points and another technical foul for Detroit. Antonio McDyess had 18 points and 11 rebounds, and Richard Hamilton added 16 points, but missed a pair of free throws in the final minute.

CLEVELAND - LeBron James had 21 points and 10 assists, and Cleveland cruised to victory over sluggish and sloppy New York.

Larry Hughes and Zydrunas Ilgauskas added 16 points apiece for Cleveland, which has won nine of 11 to keep pressure on Detroit for the best record in the Eastern Conference.

Eddy Curry scored 27 points with nine rebounds to pace New York, which lost for the fifth time in six games and is running out of time to make a playoff push. The Knicks had 20 turnovers in their lowest scoring game this season.

TORONTO - Morris Peterson had 23 points, Jorge Garbajosa had a career-high 22 and Toronto never trailed against Denver.

Carmelo Anthony had a season- low 10 points for the Nuggets, who missed their first 15 shots. Anthony finished 3-for-15 from the field. Allen Iverson had 14 points on 3-for-12 shooting.

The Atlantic Division-leading Raptors led by as many as 38 in winning its second straight without No. 1 pick Andrea Bargnani, who had an appendectomy. Also, All-Star Chris Bosh didn't return after spraining his right ankle with 5:07 left in the third.

PHILADELPHIA - Andre Miller scored 19 points to lead seven Philadelphia players in double figures in a victory over Charlotte.

The Sixers played without leading scorer Andre Iguodala, who was out with a strained lower back. It was the first game Iguodala, averaging 18.1 points, missed after beginning his NBA career with a streak of starting 232 regular-season games. His was the third-longest active streak behind San Antonio's Bruce Bowen and Detroit's Tayshaun Prince.

Gerald Wallace scored 21 points for the Bobcats.

INDIANAPOLIS - Danny Granger scored 22 points, Mike Dunleavy added 20, and Indiana claimed its largest victory margin of the season in beating Miami.

Indiana shot 51.5 percent from the field to win for the second time in four games after an 11-game losing streak.

Shaquille O'Neal was the only Miami player in double figures with 13 points. He played just 25 minutes due to foul trouble.

BOSTON - Jason Terry scored 29 points, Josh Howard added 19 points and 11 rebounds, and Dallas extended its winning streak to five with a victory over Boston.

Dirk Nowitzki scored 20 and Devin Harris added 18 points for the Mavericks, who improved to 4-0 during their six-game road trip.

Paul Pierce scored 30 points for the Celtics, who have lost three straight and own the Eastern Conference's worst record (20-49). Only Memphis has a worse record in the NBA.

ATLANTA - LaMarcus Aldridge scored six of his 27 points in overtime and Portland overcame an early 15-point deficit to beat Atlanta for its third straight win and Atlanta's fourth loss in five games.

Salim Stoudamire came off the bench and kept the Hawks in the game, finishing with 37 points. Josh Childress added 22 points and 12 rebounds.

LOS ANGELES - Elton Brand had 20 points and 11 rebounds before resting most of the fourth quarter, and the Clippers held the Jazz to their lowest point total of the season.

Corey Maggette scored 19 points for the Clippers, who never trailed and led by as many as 35 while handing Utah its fifth straight road loss. Los Angeles avoided a four-game season sweep by the Northeast Division-leading Jazz.

Carlos Boozer had 13 points and nine rebounds for Utah, which has dropped five of six after winning 14 of 16.

OAKLAND, Calif. - Baron Davis had 34 points, 15 assists and nine rebounds, leading Golden State through a fantastic second half for a victory over Washington.

Jason Richardson scored 23 points and Andris Biedrins had 24 points and 12 rebounds in the Warriors' seventh win in nine games.

Thanks to Davis' late-game poise against Gilbert Arenas and the surging Wizards, Golden State kept pressure on the eighth-place Los Angeles Clippers in the quest for the Warriors' first playoff berth since 1994.

Arenas had 29 points and a season-high 13 assists against his former team.

SEATTLE - Rashard Lewis made a 3-pointer with 1:41 left to give Seattle its first lead, added a one-handed rebound dunk moments later, and the SuperSonics rallied for a victory over Minnesota.

Earl Watson sparked Seattle off the bench with 14 points, and Chris Wilcox added 16 points and 12 rebounds.

Rookie reserve Craig Smith led Minnesota with 19 points, and Kevin Garnett grabbed a season- high 22 rebounds, three off his career best. But Minnesota went four minutes without a field goal until Smith's putback with 2.4 seconds left got the Timberwolves to 84-82.

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