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Kobe Returns, Leads Lakers Past Spurs

A sprained ankle did not keep Kobe Bryant down for long. Showing no ill effects of the right ankle injury that forced him to sit out a victory over Atlanta on Friday night, Bryant returned with 34 points and eight rebounds on Sunday, and the Los Angeles Lakers beat the San Antonio Spurs 106-99 for their fifth win in six games.

``It's a little sore right now,'' Bryant said. ``All in all, it felt great.''

Lamar Odom had 18 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists, and Luke Walton added 17 points for the Lakers (14-6), who snapped San Antonio's four-game winning streak and handed the Spurs just their third loss in 11 road games this season.

Los Angeles is 3-0 this season without Bryant, but having to play without him against the Spurs certainly would have been a tougher challenge. With Bryant in the lineup, the Lakers hit San Antonio with a third quarter the Spurs won't soon forget.

The Spurs were outscored 37-22 in the third period despite shooting 9-of-14, including 2-of-3 from 3-point range. That's because they committed nine of their 19 turnovers, leading to 19 Los Angeles points.

``I think that's the best defensive quarter I've played in as a Laker,'' said Odom, in his third season with the team. ``It was just effort, energy, rotating, talking. We got our hands on so many passes. That was the difference tonight.''

In other games, it was: Phoenix 114, Charlotte 84; Sacramento 117, Atlanta 92; Seattle 117, Golden State 115; and Portland 93, Toronto 83.

The Lakers trailed by five points before outscoring the Spurs 24-6 in the last five minutes of the third period for an 83-70 lead, and they were on top the rest of the way. Odom scored nine points and Bryant and Walton added five apiece during the spurt.

``We had an inspirational third quarter that carried us,'' Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. ``There are some things we learned tonight that I think as a team helped us grow up a little bit.''

Jackson wouldn't identify what those things were.

``They played good defense and we didn't play solid offense,'' San Antonio's Tony Parker said. ``We lost the game in the third quarter. We tried to make a comeback in the fourth, but it was too late because it's always hard to get a lot of stops in a row.''

Manu Ginobili came off the bench to lead the Spurs (15-6) with 23 points. Parker added 21 points and nine assists, Tim Duncan had 16 points and 13 rebounds, and Bruce Bowen scored 16 points before fouling out with 21 seconds left.

Kwame Brown scored all of his 11 points in the second half and Smush Parker added 10 for the Lakers, who shot 49 percent and outrebounded the Spurs 42-33. San Antonio lost despite shooting 51 percent, including 52 percent (12-of-23) from 3-point range.

Suns 114, Bobcats 84

At Charlotte, N.C., Amare Stoudemire had 22 points and 12 rebounds to help Phoenix win its 10th consecutive game.

Stoudemire had his seventh double-double in eight games, Boris Diaw added 17 points, Leandro Barbosa had 15, and Shawn Marion and Raja Bell each had 14. Steve Nash had 11 points and 10 assists.

Sean May scored a career-high 26 points for the Bobcats, who lost their third straight, all by 20 or more points. Raymond Felton added 14 points, and Emeka Okafor and Matt Carroll had 12 apiece.

Kings 117, Hawks 92

At Sacramento, Calif., Brad Miller scored a season-high 19 points and the Kings snapped a five-game losing streak.

Ahead 53-40 at the half, Sacramento outscored the Hawks 39-22 in the third to take a 92-62 lead. Mike Bibby had 11 points in the period.

Corliss Williamson scored a season-high 18 points and Bibby had 16 points for the Kings.

Salim Stoudamire had a season-high 26 points for Atlanta, which played without Joe Johnson and had no starters in double figures.

SuperSonics 117, Warriors 115

At Seattle, Luke Ridnour scored 13 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter, and Seattle rallied from a 16-point halftime deficit.

Damien Wilkins, starting for the injured Ray Allen, scored a season-high 22 and led Seattle with nine rebounds. Reserve Earl Watson scored 20 points.

Golden State built a 72-56 halftime lead, but shot 34 percent in the second half. Baron Davis led the Warriors with 28 points.

It was the SuperSonics' fourth straight home win, getting them back to .500 at home after a 2-6 start.

Trail Blazers 93, Raptors 83

At Toronto, Jarrett Jack had 22 points, a career-high nine rebounds and eight assists for the Trail Blazers.

Martell Webster added 22 points and eight rebounds for Portland, which won for the second time in nine games despite the absence of suspended forward Zach Randolph.

Toronto was playing without All-Star Chris Bosh (bruised left knee). Andrea Bargnani, the No. 1 pick in the draft, replaced Bosh and had eight points and three rebounds in his first start.

Morris Peterson had 23 points for the Raptors, who were outrebounded 56-34.
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