Lakers win, await Kobe's return


SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Jodie Meeks made two huge 3-pointers in the final minutes to finish with 19 points, lifting the Los Angeles Lakers past the Sacramento Kings 106-100 Friday night in what was expected to their last game before Kobe Bryant returns.

Pau Gasol had 19 points and seven rebounds, and Steve Blake added 13 points and 10 assists for the Lakers, who held the Kings scoreless for nearly 3½ minutes until Ben McLemore’s meaningless 3-pointer with 6.9 seconds remaining.

The Lakers are figuring to get an even bigger boost when Bryant returns against Toronto on Sunday, nearly eight months since undergoing surgery on his torn left Achilles tendon.

DeMarcus Cousins and McLemore each scored 20 points, and Isaiah Thomas added 14 points and a season-high nine assists as Sacramento lost its sixth straight game.

HAWKS 108, CAVALIERS 89

ATLANTA — Kyle Korver set the NBA record for consecutive games with a 3-pointer, Al Horford scored 22 points and the Atlanta Hawks beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 108-89 Friday night.

Korver’s 3 with 5:29 remaining in the first quarter gave him at least one in a record-90th straight game, breaking a tie with Dana Barros (1994-96). Korver was 2 for 3 from beyond the arc and finished with 10 points.

Dion Waiters scored a season-high 30 points for the Cavaliers. Andrew Bynum tied his season high with 20 points and grabbed a season-best 13 rebounds, and Jarrett Jack added 13 points.

BOBCATS 105, 76ERS 88

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Jeffery Taylor matched a career high with 20 points, leading six Charlotte scorers in double figures.

Gerald Henderson and Kemba Walker added 18 apiece, and Walker also had a season-high 10 assists.

Al Jefferson had 14 points and 12 rebounds for the Bobcats. Ramon Sessions added 13 points and rookie Cody Zeller chipped in with 10.

Philadelphia was led by Tony Wroten’s 21 points. Evan Turner added 16, Hollis Thompson scored 12 and Spencer Hawes had 10 points and 13 rebounds.

KNICKS 121, MAGIC 83

NEW YORK — Carmelo Anthony had 20 points and 11 rebounds, and New York snapped a seven-game home losing streak.

Andrea Bargnani and J.R. Smith each added 17 points for the Knicks, who followed their 113-83 rout of Brooklyn on Thursday with an even more powerful performance, giving them consecutive victories for the first time this season after a nine-game losing streak.

Arron Afflalo scored 20 points for the Magic, who dropped their fourth straight. Victor Oladipo added 17 points and nine rebounds.

CELTICS 106, NUGGETS 98

BOSTON — Kris Humphries came off the bench and had a season-high 18 points and seven rebounds for Boston, which scored the first 14 points of the game and held on for the win.

Jordan Crawford had 22 points and eight assists, and Avery Bradley scored 18 as the Celtics won their second straight game to remain in first place in the Atlantic Division.

Ty Lawson scored 20 points and J.J. Hickson had 17 for Denver.

BUCKS 109,

WIZARDS 105, OT

WASHINGTON — Khris Middleton scored a career-high 29 points and Brandon Knight added 20 as Milwaukee outlasted Washington in overtime.

John Henson had 19 points and 17 rebounds for the Bucks (4-15), who had lost 13 of their previous 14.

John Wall scored 30 points and Trevor Ariza added 22 points and 12 rebounds for Washington.

THUNDER 109,

PELICANS 95

NEW ORLEANS — Kevin Durant scored 29 points, Russell Westbrook added 25 and Oklahoma City beat New Orleans for the ninth straight time.

Serge Ibaka added 17 points and 13 rebounds for the Thunder.

Ryan Anderson scored 18 for the Pelicans, who lost their second straight at home while playing their third full game without power forward Anthony Davis, sidelined by a broken left hand. New Orleans also lost Tyreke Evans to a left ankle sprain late in the third quarter.

ROCKETS 105,

WARRIORS 83

HOUSTON — James Harden scored 34 points and Dwight Howard had 22 points and 18 rebounds to lead Houston.

Terrence Jones added 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Rockets, who had lost two straight. Harden shot 13 for 22 from the field and 7 for 9 on free throws two nights after shooting 3 for 17 — including 0 for 10 on 3-pointers — against Phoenix.

Stephen Curry led the Warriors with 22 points and five assists, but was just 5 of 14 from the field while making all 11 free-throw attempts. Harrison Barnes had 14 points and seven rebounds, and Kent Bazemore added 12 and David Lee 11 points as the Warriors saw their two-game win streak end.

SUNS 106, RAPTORS 97

PHOENIX — Markieff Morris made his first 11 shots en route to a 25-point performance and Phoenix handed Toronto its fifth straight loss.

Morris, who also grabbed 11 rebounds, finished 11 of 14 from the field, tying his career high in field goals made.

Eric Bledsoe added 19 points, including 3 of 3 on 3-pointers, and P.J. Tucker had 18 points and a career-high 13 rebounds for the Suns.

Amir Johnson scored a season-best 22 for the Raptors. Kyle Lowry added 19 and Rudy Gay 17.

TRAIL BLAZERS 130,

JAZZ 98

PORTLAND, Ore. — Wesley Matthews scored 24 points, LaMarcus Aldridge added 20 points and 15 rebounds, and the Portland Trail Blazers beat the Utah Jazz 130-98 Friday night to run their winning streak to 12 games.

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No. 20 Baylor 67, No. 3 Kentucky 62

ARLINGTON, Texas — Kenny Chery scored 18 points, including six in the go-ahead run, and No. 20 Baylor defeated No. 3 Kentucky 67-62 on Friday night in the same building where the NCAA Final Four will be played in April.

The young Wildcats (7-2) had a 50-41 lead when Julius Randle, one of three Kentucky freshmen playing in their home state, had a slam dunk with 13 minutes left.

Baylor (8-1) responded with a 15-5 run when Chery, the junior college transfer who is now the point guard, came up big. His two free throws with 6 minutes left put the Bears up 56-55 and they never trailed again.

No. 9 Oklahoma State 79, South Carolina 52

STILLWATER, Okla. — Le’Bryan Nash had 16 points to lead five Oklahoma State players in double figures.

Marcus Smart added 13 points for the Cowboys (8-1), who bounced back from their first loss of the season last week. Markel Brown added 11 points, and Brian Williams and Michael Cobbins finished with 10 each.

No. 12 Connecticut 95, Maine 68

HARTFORD, Conn. — Ryan Boatright scored 17 points as Connecticut remained undefeated.

DeAndre Daniels and Omar Calhoun both added 16 points for the Huskies (9-0), who have won 54 consecutive home games against non-conference opponents. Niels Giffey added 12 points.

Shabazz Napier scored seven points and had eight assists, becoming the fourth player in school history with at least 1,000 points and 500 assists.

By wire sources