Bryant beats buzzer
LOS ANGELES — With apologies to Jerry West, the Lakers' modern-day "Mr. Clutch" did it again.
Kobe Bryant hit yet another buzzer-beating 3-pointer and finished with 39 points as the defending NBA champions overcame a 20-point deficit to beat the Sacramento Kings, 109-108, last night. The last time the Lakers won a game in which they trailed by 20 or more points was Dec. 12, 2006, when they erased a 21-point deficit in a 112-101 double-overtime win against Houston at Los Angeles.
"It looked like they went into a zone coverage on the inbounds pass, and that side was wide open," said Bryant, averaging 35.7 points in his last 10 games.
"It was just a matter of me getting to that spot with enough time to get a shot off. Phil (Jackson) drew up a play for a 3. He wanted me to get a good look and knock it down. I think he wanted to get out of here."
Lamar Odom had a season-high 20 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for the NBA-leading Lakers (26-6). Pau Gasol had 17 points, 16 rebounds and four assists — one of which set up Bryant's clutch basket from in front of the Sacramento bench.
"Kobe's shooting the ball at a high percentage," Gasol said. "But he's not always going to shoot like that. We understand that, and I think he understands that, too. But when he's feeling it and the shots are going down, he's going to keep shooting."
This miracle shot came exactly four weeks after Bryant's off-balance 3-point buzzer-beating bank shot that pulled out a win over the Miami Heat at Staples Center. On Dec. 16 at Milwaukee, Bryant hit a 15-footer as time expired in overtime to give the Lakers a 107-106 win.
Spencer Hawes had a career-high 30 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for the Kings.
Knicks 112, Hawks 108: Nate Robinson scored 11 of his 41 points in overtime in a dramatic return to New York's lineup, and the visiting Knicks beat Atlanta.
Playing for the first time since Dec. 1, Robinson entered the game with 3:01 remaining in the opening period. He made 18 of 24 shots from the field, came within four points of his career high and had eight assists.
Robinson had 30 points in regulation and then dominated the overtime by scoring 11 of the Knicks' 13 points.
Robinson returned after missing 14 straight games. He played about 10 minutes against Phoenix on Dec. 1 and didn't play again the rest of the month.
Robinson was averaging 11 points in only 12 games.
Magic 106, Timberwolves 94: Rashard Lewis scored 21 points, and Matt Barnes added 17 to help Orlando snap a three-game road losing streak.
The Magic, who have won five of six overall, won despite below-average scoring nights from Vince Carter and Dwight Howard. The two entered the game averaging a combined 36.5 points, but Carter was held to 12 points and Howard had nine.