WASHINGTON — Kobe Bryant scored a season-high 31 points including the go-ahead jumper with 30.8 seconds remaining as the Los Angeles Lakers snapped a seven-game losing streak with a 108-104 win over the Washington Wizards last night.
Bryant, who announced his retirement Sunday, scored 18 points in the first half and 12 in the fourth quarter for the Lakers (3-15). Displaying vintage moves with pull-up and fadeaway jumpers before a crowd roaring his every move with approval, the 20-year veteran efficiently scored in the first half while leaving enough energy left for the fourth quarter.
After the lead switched sides eight times in the fourth quarter, Bryant drained his fourth 3-pointer for a 101-99 lead. Washington center Marcin Gortat’s layup tied the game on the next possession, but Bryant put Los Angeles ahead with a long jumper, his fifth basket of the period.
For the Lakers Jordan Clarkson scored 18 and Julius Randle added 15 points and 19 rebounds.
Guard John Wall had 34 points and 11 assists for the Wizards, who fell to 7-9.
In Charlotte, Stephen Curry erupted for 40 points in his annual homecoming, scoring the final 24 points of the third quarter, and Golden State remained perfect with a 116-99 victory over the Hornets.
The Warriors were in control throughout, racing to a 28-13 lead midway through the first quarter and building the lead to as many as 26 in the second half.
Curry, who grew up in Charlotte and played collegiately at nearby Davidson, finished 14 of 18 from the field and eight of 11 from 3-point range. He had just 12 points at halftime, and then exploded for 28 third-quarter points, including the Warriors’ last 24 over the final 4:55 of the period. He hit four 3-pointers in the final 1:53 of the third. He then sat out the entire fourth quarter with the game well in hand.
In other results, the New York Knicks crushed the Philadelphia 76ers 99-87, the Toronto Raptors downed the Atlanta Hawks 96-86, the Detroit Pistons edged the Phoenix Suns 127-122 in overtime and the Chicago Bulls defeated the Denver Nuggets 99-90.