NBA Roundup: Bryant's passing key in win over Thunder

2013-01-28T00:00:00Z NBA Roundup: Bryant's passing key in win over ThunderThe Associated Press The Associated Press
January 28, 2013 12:00 am  • 

LOS ANGELES - After every plot twist and dramatic turn in the Los Angeles Lakers' soap opera of a season, perhaps their stars' latest identity switches shouldn't be all that shocking.

Kobe Bryant made all the big passes. Steve Nash scored important points down the stretch. Pau Gasol excelled off the bench as the new-look Lakers calmly maintained a fourth-quarter lead on the mighty Oklahoma City Thunder.

Bryant had 21 points, 14 assists and nine rebounds, Nash added seven of his 17 points in the final 5 1/2 minutes, and the Lakers held off the NBA-leading Thunder 105-96.

Gasol scored 16 points in a reserve role as the Lakers picked up the most impressive victory of their thoroughly unimpressive season, coolly maintaining a small lead down the stretch of their second straight win after a four-game skid.

"We're doing a good job right now of just being real with each other and holding each other accountable," said Bryant, who fell one rebound shy of a triple-double in each of the past two games. "That makes a huge difference. I'm trying to evolve and find out what we need as a ballclub."

Kevin Durant scored 35 points and Russell Westbrook had 17 points, 13 assists and nine rebounds for the road-weary Thunder, which finished its longest trip of the season at 3-3.

• Celtics 100, Heat 98, 2 OT: In Boston, Paul Pierce hit a go-ahead jumper with 31 seconds left and Boston beat the Heat in double overtime after learning that All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo was out for the season with a knee injury.

Rondo will have surgery for a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. He was hurt late in Boston's 123-112 loss, also in two overtimes, to the Atlanta Hawks on Friday night.

This game was the first in Boston for Ray Allen since he left the Celtics after five seasons and signed as a free agent with Miami. He scored 21 points.

Kevin Garnett led the Celtics with 24 points and 11 rebounds, and Pierce had 17 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists. LeBron James had 34 points for the Heat.

• Clippers 96, Trail Blazers 83: In Los Angeles, Blake Griffin had 23 points and nine assists and the Clippers ended a four-game losing streak with a victory over Portland.

The Clippers have the third-best record in the NBA at 33-13, 2 1/2 games behind San Antonio.

Eric Bledsoe had 10 points, five assists and five rebounds in his seventh start as point guard.

Chris Paul missed his fourth straight game and seventh in the past nine because of a bruised right kneecap.

• Knicks 106, Hawks 104: In New York, Carmelo Anthony tied a franchise record with nine 3-pointers, then converted a go-ahead, three-point play with 12.5 seconds left to cap a 42-point night and lead the Knicks to a victory over Atlanta.

The Hawks shot a season-high 60 percent from the field but had their three-game winning streak snapped when Josh Smith missed a 3-pointer on Atlanta's final possession.

• Hornets 91, Grizzlies 83: In Memphis, Tenn., Ryan Anderson scored 22 points, connecting on seven 3-pointers, and the Hornets beat Memphis.

Anderson was 7 of 13 from the field, all of his attempts coming from outside the arc. He capped a late New Orleans surge that put the game out of reach.

• Pistons 104, Magic 102: In Orlando, Fla., Brandon Knight had a career-high 31 points, including five 3-pointers, and Greg Monroe scored 17 points and the Pistons ended a two-game losing streak with the win over Orlando.

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