Kobe Bryant broke the Los Angeles Lakers' season scoring record with a flourish, getting 50 points to eclipse Elgin Baylor's long-standing total in a 110-99 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers last night at Los Angeles.
Bryant, closing in on his first NBA scoring title, reached the 50-point mark for the sixth time this season and 11th time in his career. The Lakers are 8-3 in those games.
He eclipsed two other franchise records this season that Baylor held -- most points in a game and most 40-point games in a season. Bryant, whose 81 points against Toronto Jan. 22 were second-most ever in an NBA game, needed only 16 to pass Baylor's mark of 2,719 points in 1962-63.
Kwame Brown had 20 points and nine rebounds for the Lakers, who sent the Blazers to their 15th straight road loss with their ninth win in 12 games. The only thing that prevented LA from clinching a playoff berth was Utah's victory over New Orleans.
Bulls 103, Wizards 101 -- Ben Gordon made nine 3-pointers without a miss to tie the NBA record and scored 32 points to help host Chicago take sole possession of eighth place in the Eastern Conference as Washington lost its fifth straight.
Gordon matched the record set by Latrell Sprewell of New York against the Clippers Feb. 4, 2003.
Raptors 108, Pistons 103 -- Mike James scored 20 of his career-high 39 points in the fourth quarter to help Toronto end a 10-game losing streak by beating visiting Detroit.
James, who scored Toronto's last 13 points and was 18 for 18 from the line, surpassed his previous best of 38. Heat 104, 76ers 85 -- Dwyane Wade scored 25 points and had eight assists to lead host Miami over Philadelphia to secure the Eastern Conference's No. 2 playoff seed and home-court advantage for the first two rounds of the playoffs.
Udonis Haslem scored a career-high 24 points and tied a season high with 14 rebounds for the Heat, who got contributions from Antoine Walker (16 points) and Shaquille O'Neal (15 points, 10 rebounds). Bucks 97, Knicks 80 -- Michael Redd scored 18 of his 23 points in the first half before visiting Milwaukee blew the game open in the third quarter en route to moving into a three-way tie for fifth in the East.
Knicks coach Larry Brown missed his first game of the season after he was hospitalized in Cleveland Thursday night with a stomach ailment. He returned to New York yesterday but assistant Herb Williams led the team.
Pacers 89, Timberwolves 77 -- Jermaine O'Neal had 29 points and 12 rebounds to help host Indiana draw closer to clinching a playoff berth with its third straight victory.
Jazz 105, Hornets 104 -- Andrei Kirilenko had 25 points and nine rebounds and Deron Williams hit two free throws with 18 seconds left as Utah beat New Orleans at Oklahoma City to pull within a game of Sacramento for the final playoff spot in the West.
Clippers 101, Sonics 97 -- Elton Brand dominated the interior, scoring 30 points, and visiting Los Angeles rallied from an 18-point first-half deficit to pull even with idle Memphis for fifth in the West.
Warriors 110, Suns 102 -- Jason Richardson scored 27 points, Derek Fisher added 19 and host Golden State knocked off another playoff team late in their 12th straight losing season, beating Phoenix, which rested Steve Nash and Raja Bell.
Bobcats 116, Hawks 110 -- Raymond Felton scored 27 points and Melvin Ely had 21 as Charlotte beat host Atlanta, leaving the last-place Bobcats only one game behind the Hawks in the Southeast Division.