|Toronto's Chris Bosh (24 points) shoots over Hawks' Acie Law, but Atlanta won. (JOHN AMIS/Associated Press)|
Kobe Bryant scored 14 of his 36 points in the fourth quarter, Pau Gasol added 10 points in his first game in nearly three weeks, and the Lakers beat the Portland Trail Blazers, 104-91, last night in Los Angeles.
Bryant also had 13 rebounds and seven assists for the Lakers (51-24), who trail New Orleans by 1 1/2 games and San Antonio by one game in the Western Conference standings. The Hornets have eight games left, the Lakers and Spurs seven each.
Gasol, playing for the first time since spraining his left ankle March 14 and admittedly not fully healed, played nearly 32 minutes - far more than expected. He added six rebounds and seven assists.
"It's going to be sore, there's going to be pain," he said before the game. "I just have to deal with it and get over it."
The Lakers were 5-4 in his absence after going 15-4 in his first 19 games after Los Angeles acquired him from Memphis.
Derek Fisher scored 13 points, Lamar Odom had 12 points and eight rebounds, and Vladimir Radmanovic and Jordan Farmar added 10 points each for the Lakers.
Travis Outlaw and Martell Webster scored 23 points each for the Blazers. Steve Blake added 12 points and 10 assists and LaMarcus Aldridge had 11 points and 12 rebounds.
Hornets 106, Heat 77 - Tyson Chandler was 10 for 10 from the floor and his 20-point, 10-rebound effort helped New Orleans remain atop the Western Conference with a victory in Miami.
David West scored 22 points and Chris Paul added 14 points and 10 assists for the Hornets, who finished 5-1 on their six-game road trip through the East. It was also the 25th road win for the Hornets.
Chandler was 6 for 6 in the opening 7 1/2 minutes as the Hornets ran out to a 21-9 lead. They never trailed and put away the game with a 19-3 run midway through the fourth quarter.
Bucks 110, Wizards 109 - Agent Zero is back. Now Washington has to figure out how to win with him.
Gilbert Arenas made a surprise return after 66 games away because of knee surgery, but Ramon Sessions provided the Arenas-like dramatics with a 19-foot jumper at the buzzer to give visiting Milwaukee the victory.
The Bucks, who never led by more than 1 point, set up the perfect inbounds play to win the game. With 1.1 seconds left, Royal Ivey threw the ball in to Andrew Bogut, who found Sessions open in the corner. There was barely a tick left on the clock as the ball left Sessions's hands.
Mavericks 111, Warriors 86 - Dirk Nowitzki unexpectedly returned to the starting lineup and scored 18 points after missing four games with a high ankle sprain, and host Dallas finally beat a winning team since acquiring Jason Kidd.
Jason Terry equaled his season high with 31 points and Josh Howard added 28 for the Mavericks, whose victory over could be huge in the tight race for the Western Conference playoffs.
Kidd matched a season-high 17 assists and had 11 rebounds and 5 points for the Mavericks.
Cavaliers 118, Bobcats 114 - LeBron James scored 29 points before fouling out for the only the fourth time in his career, but Cleveland made several big plays down the stretch and held off Charlotte to snap a six-game road skid.
James was called for his sixth foul when he reached in on Charlotte's Jason Richardson at the top of his drive to the basket with Cleveland leading, 104-101, and 3:56 left.
Hawks 127, Raptors 120 - Mike Bibby hit a tying 3-pointer in regulation, Josh Smith made two in overtime, and host Atlanta beat Toronto for its fifth straight victory.
The Hawks increased their lead for the eighth and final Eastern Conference playoff spot to four games over Indiana.
Jazz 117, Timberwolves 100 - Mehmet Okur made four 3-pointers and had 22 points, leading Utah over Minnesota in Salt Lake City.
Deron Williams had 19 points and 14 assists for his 49th double-double of the season as Utah won for the 24th time in 25 home games and improved to 34-4 at EnergySolutions Arena this season.
Clippers 102, SuperSonics 84 - Elton Brand made his long-awaited season debut and scored 13 points in the fourth quarter, Al Thornton had 21 points and Los Angeles won in Seattle.
Grizzlies 130, Knicks 114 - Javaris Crittenton scored 23 points, Rudy Gay added 21, and host Memphis had its best offensive performance this season in a victory over New York. Michael Conley added 18 points, Juan Carlos Navarro had 16, and Mike Miller 15 as eight Grizzlies reached double figures.