The Los Angeles Lakers once again dug themselves a huge hole against a lowly Charlotte Bobcats team, but like December's meeting, found a way to rally from the jaws of defeat. Kobe Bryant scored 14 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter and Los Angeles overcame a 20-point deficit to down Charlotte, 100-93, on Friday. Bryant also tallied eight assists with seven rebounds to prevent the Lakers from a second straight defeat. Earl Clark chipped in 17 points and 10 boards, while Dwight Howard came through with 12 points and 11 rebounds to help Los Angeles to its seventh win in nine games. The Bobcats, losers of six straight, blew an 18-point lead in a loss to the Lakers back on Dec. 18 at Staples Center. Byron Mullens and Gerald Henderson each put forth double-doubles for Charlotte, with both scoring 20 points. Mullens tallied 12 rebounds and Henderson had 10.
Final Score: Toronto 100, Indiana 98 (OT)
Indianapolis, IN (Sports Network) - Rudy Gay's go-ahead jumper with 1.7 seconds remaining in overtime lifted the Raptors to their second triumph in Indianapolis this season, a 100-98 victory that ended the Pacers' 15-game home winning streak. Gay finished with 23 points and DeMar DeRozan had 22 to help Toronto, which dealt Indiana a 74-72 defeat at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Nov. 13, halt a two-game skid. Amir Johnson and Jonas Valanciunas notched double-doubles in the win, with Johnson amassing 14 points and 14 rebounds and Valanciunas pulling down 13 boards in addition to 14 points. Johnson also sent the game into extra time with a putback off a Gay miss an eyelash before the final horn sounded in regulation. The Central Division- leading Pacers suffered their first setback at home since a 92-89 ousting by Denver on Dec. 7 despite a 30-point night out of David West and a 26-point, 14-rebound performance from Paul George. Indiana also had a season-high five- game overall win streak halted.
Final Score: Washington 89, Brooklyn 74
Washington, DC (Sports Network) - Nene poured in 20 points and pulled down 11 rebounds to lead the Washington Wizards to an 89-74 win over the Brooklyn Nets on Friday. Nene had half of his points during a dominant second quarter, when the Wizards held a 30-11 scoring advantage. John Wall added 15 points and nine assists and Martell Webster dropped in 16 points for the Wizards, who have won three straight games for just the second time all season. Deron Williams scored 20 points, Joe Johnson scored 14 and Brook Lopez added 13, but the trio finished just 16-for-43 from the field.
Final Score: New Orleans 111, Atlanta 100
Atlanta, GA (Sports Network) - Greivis Vasquez recorded the first triple- double of his career to lead the New Orleans Hornets past the Atlanta Hawks, 111-100, at Philips Arena. Vasquez continued filling the stat sheet with 21 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds for the Hornets, who have won two in a row and snapped a four-game road skid. Eric Gordon netted a game-high 27 points, while Ryan Anderson and Robin Lopez chipped in 19 and 17 points, respectively, as New Orleans shot 52 percent from the field and overcame the Hawks' 13 3-pointers. Josh Smith added 23 points, eight helpers and six boards, while Jeff Teague totaled 21 points and nine assists, in the loss, the club's third in four games.
Final Score: Cleveland 119, Orlando 108
Cleveland, OH (Sports Network) - Kyrie Irving recorded 24 points, eight assists and six rebounds, leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 119-108 win over the Orlando Magic on Friday. Marreese Speights scored 18 points off the bench, including a perfect 12-of-12 from the free throw line, while Tristan Thompson had 16 points for the Cavaliers, who have won three straight games. Nikola Vucevic had a career-high 25 points and 13 rebounds for the Magic, who have lost 12 games in a row. Arron Afflalo and Andrew Nicholson scored 25 and 23 points, respectively, while Jameer Nelson registered 15 points and 13 assists.
Final Score: Detroit 119, San Antonio 109
Auburn Hills, MI (Sports Network) - Greg Monroe scored 26 points and pulled down 16 rebounds and Brandon Knight scored 24 points, as the Detroit Pistons earned a hard-fought 119-109 victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Friday. Charlie Villanueva came off the bench and contributed 21 points on 5-of-9 shooting from behind the arc for the Pistons, who ended a three-game losing streak. Kyle Singler added 14 points and seven boards and Rodney Stuckey donated 11 points, four assists and six rebounds in the victory. Tony Parker had 31 points and dished out eight helpers for the Spurs, who lost for the first time in their last 12 games. Kawhi Leonard scored 16 points and Danny Green added 15 -- all on 5-of-7 shooting from 3-point range -- in defeat. The Spurs were without forward Tim Duncan, who missed the game because of knee and ankle issues, and guard Manu Ginobili, who missed his third straight due to a left hamstring injury.
Final Score: Houston 118, Portland 103
Houston, TX (Sports Network) - James Harden poured in a game-high 35 points and dished out 11 assists to lead the Houston Rockets to a 118-103 win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday. Harden went 13-for-16 from the field, including 4-of-5 from 3-point range, to notch his 15th 30-plus point performance of the season. Chandler Parsons added 20 points while Patrick Patterson and Jeremy Lin finished with 16 points apiece for the Rockets, who have won six of their last eight contests. LaMarcus Aldridge scored 31 points and pulled down 11 boards and Nicolas Batum scored 24 points for the Trail Blazers, who have dropped three of their last five.
Final Score: Memphis 99, Golden State 93
Memphis, TN (Sports Network) - Marc Gasol scored 20 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and handed out five assists, as the Memphis Grizzlies eked out a hard-fought 99-93 decision over the Golden State Warriors at FedEx Forum. These teams figure to be in the mix for a top-4 seed in the Western Conference playoff race, and the Grizzlies gave themselves an advantage by sweeping the three-game season series. Zach Randolph added a double-double of his own with 16 points and 12 boards in helping Memphis snap a two-game skid and win their ninth straight over the Warriors. Stephen Curry and David Lee carried Golden State with 32 and 26 points, respectively. Curry also had eight assists in the club's third loss in a row.
Final Score: Miami 111, LA Clippers 89
Miami, FL (Sports Network) - The Los Angeles Clippers had their starting core together for the first time in more than two months, and the lack of court time together showed. LeBron James and the Miami Heat spoiled the return to action for Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and Chauncey Billups, with the reigning NBA MVP racking up 30 points in just 31 minutes to lead the defending champions to a 111-89 rout of the struggling Clippers at American Airlines Arena. James added six assists while going 9-of-11 from the field and 4-of-5 from 3-point range, while Dwyane Wade shook off a flu bug to record 20 points and seven assists in a game the Heat dominated from the second quarter on. Wade was questionable to play in the contest due to the illness, which rendered both All-Star center Chris Bosh and top bench option Ray Allen inactive. Paul returned from a nine-game absence caused by a bone bruise in his right knee, but managed just three points on 1-of-5 shooting in 20 minutes. Billups, playing for the first time since early December due to an inflamed tendon in his left foot, had seven points in 16 minutes. Griffin, who had sat out Los Angeles' last two outings with a hamstring injury, made 5-of-7 field goals in a 13-point performance that wasn't nearly enough to prevent the Clippers from their fourth setback in five games.
Final Score: New York 100, Minnesota 94
Minneapolis, MN (Sports Network) - Carmelo Anthony brought the Knicks back in the fourth and Tyson Chandler protected the lead late to lift New York to a 100-94 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday. Anthony scored 12 of his 36 points in the final 6 1/2 minutes to help the Knicks rally from an 11-point fourth quarter deficit. Chandler then made two key blocks in the last 30 seconds to defend the advantage and give New York its fourth straight win over Minnesota. J.R. Smith followed with 15 points and Raymond Felton, Amare Stoudemire and Steve Novak each contributed 11 in the Knicks' sixth victory in seven games. Luke Ridnour poured in 20 points and Ricky Rubio had a third consecutive game with double-digit assists, posting 11 to go with 18 points, but the Timberwolves inevitably fell for the ninth time in 10 tries. Derrick Williams scored 19 points and Nikola Pekovic tallied 16 points with 11 rebounds in the setback.
Final Score: Oklahoma City 127, Phoenix 96
Oklahoma City, OK (Sports Network) - Kevin Durant had 21 points, six rebounds and four assists in the Oklahoma City Thunder's 127-96 rout of the Phoenix Suns. Russell Westbrook added 17 points and six assists for the Thunder, who have won three straight games since going 3-4 over their previous seven. Thabo Sefolosha netted 18 points, Kendrick Perkins tallied 17 points and nine rebounds and Kevin Martin poured in 16 in the triumph. Michael Beasley finished with 25 points and seven boards for Phoenix, which has dropped six of its last eight contests.