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Bryant, Lakers are firing on all cylinders

Associated Press / March 27, 2009
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Kobe Bryant had a reason to smile when he left The Palace for a change.

Bryant scored 30 points and helped the Los Angeles Lakers beat Detroit, 92-77, last night in Auburn Hills, Mich., snapping a nine-game losing streak on the Pistons' home court.

"It feels good to finally walk out of here with a win," said Bryant, who helped Los Angeles score the last 20 points of the third quarter to surge ahead for good.

The Lakers earned their fourth straight victory to pull within a game of NBA-leading Cleveland, and won five in a row on the road for a league-high 26 this season.

"One of our goals is to have the best record before the playoffs start to have home-court advantage," Lamar Odom acknowledged.

At this point, the once-mighty Pistons simply are hoping to make the playoffs.

They were without Allen Iverson (back), Richard Hamilton (groin), and Rasheed Wallace (calf) against the Lakers.

"They were shorthanded," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "We should've won."

Trail Blazers 129, Suns 109 - LaMarcus Aldridge scored a season-high 29 points and added 12 rebounds to help host Portland snap Phoenix' six-game winning streak.

Phoenix, making a late push for the playoffs, is ninth in the Western Conference - 3 1/2 games behind Dallas. The Blazers are tangled in a group jockeying for position behind the conference-leading Lakers.

Brandon Roy added 26 points and nine rebounds for Portland.

Bulls 106, Heat 87 - John Salmons scored 27 points, and host Chicago beat Dwyane Wade and Miami for its sixth win in seven games.

The Bulls took control in the third quarter, outscoring the Heat, 32-14, and moved into a seventh-place tie with Detroit in the Eastern Conference.

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