Lakers hold off Nets, win D’Antoni’s debut
LOS ANGELES — Kobe Bryant scored six of his 25 points in the final two minutes, and the Los Angeles Lakers hung on for a 95-90 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday night in coach Mike D’Antoni’s sideline debut.
Dwight Howard had 23 points and 15 rebounds despite a horrific 7-for-19 performance at the free-throw line for the Lakers, who have won five of six and moved above .500 since firing Mike Brown.
Although D’Antoni is still unsteady on his surgically replaced knee, he coached Los Angeles to a narrow victory that snapped Brooklyn’s five-game winning streak.
Brook Lopez scored 23 points and Deron Williams had 22 for the Nets, who missed five of their last six shots in their ninth consecutive loss to the Lakers.
Pau Gasol and Metta World Peace scored 17 points apiece as the Lakers wrapped up a tumultuous six-game homestand that began with coach Mike Brown’s unexpected firing 11 days ago.
The Lakers went 4-1 under interim coach Bernie Bickerstaff, but D’Antoni finally took over the bench nine days after he was hired. Los Angeles largely couldn’t play at his favored tempo, but D’Antoni quickly learned the benefits of coaching Bryant, who took over in the final minutes.
After taking a narrow lead through three quarters, the Lakers missed their first seven shots in the fourth and fell behind mostly due to their All-Star center’s incompetence at the line. Brooklyn deliberately fouled Howard in the fourth quarter, when he went 3-for-10.
Los Angeles still took the lead on Gasol’s free throw with 2:37 to play, and Bryant hit a running hook shot after Joe Johnson airballed a jumper moments later. Johnson cut the lead to one point on a fast-break layup with 36 seconds left, but Bryant hit four free throws in the final 17.1 seconds while Williams missed a potential tying 3-pointer with 4 seconds left.
Johnson scored 14 points for the Nets.
Knicks 102, Hornets 80
NEW ORLEANS — Carmelo Anthony scored 29 points and the New York Knicks extended the undermanned New Orleans Hornets’ losing streak to four games.
Raymond Felton and J.R. Smith each added 15 points. Felton scored all of his points on five 3-pointers as New York hit 14 3s as a team.
Tyson Chandler grabbed 12 rebounds for the Knicks, who’ve won two straight since their first loss of the season and are 8-1 for only the third time in franchise history.
Ryan Anderson, starting in place of Anthony Davis, led the Hornets with 15 points. Davis was ruled out shortly before tip-off because tenderness in his left ankle.
76ers 106, Raptors 98
PHILADELPHIA — Jason Richardson scored six of his 21 points late in the fourth quarter, Nick Young had 23 off the bench and the 76ers rallied to beat Toronto.
Jrue Holiday had 19 points and 12 assists and Thad Young scored 18 to help the Sixers win their third straight game.
DeMar DeRozan had 24 and Andrea Bargnani scored 22 for the Raptors, who are off to a 3-8 start.
Down 87-80 early in the fourth, the Sixers came back to win their first game in which they trailed after three quarters.