Lakers win best-of-West showdown

The Baltimore Sun

After a month of playing short-handed, the Los Angeles Lakers are back to full strength. If yesterday is an accurate indication, that means trouble for every other NBA team.

Kobe Bryant scored 22 points before sitting out the fourth quarter, Pau Gasol added 16 points, five rebounds and four assists, and the Lakers beat the visiting San Antonio Spurs, 99-85, in a matchup of the Western Conference's best teams that turned out to be a mismatch.

The win was the fourth straight and 14th in 17 games for the Lakers (35-8), whose .814 winning percentage is the best in the NBA.

Guard Jordan Farmar returned after missing 18 games because of an injured left knee and had 14 points. Forward Luke Walton played in his third game after missing nine with a foot injury.

Tony Parker had 19 points for the Spurs (29-14).

Celtics 124, Mavericks 100: : Ray Allen scored 20 of his 23 points in the first half to help host Boston (37-9) beat Dallas (25-19) for its eighth straight victory.

Rockets 108, Pistons 105: : Ron Artest scored three of his 24 points at the free-throw line in the final 14 seconds, helping visiting Houston (28-17) hold off Detroit (24-19).

The Rockets were without Yao Ming (knee).

Timberwolves 109, Bulls 108, OT: : Al Jefferson had a season-high 39 points to lift Minnesota (15-27) to an overtime victory over visiting Chicago (18-27) for the Wolves' ninth win in 11 games.

Suns 104, Hawks 99: : Amare Stoudemire had 23 points to help Phoenix (24-18) end a three-game losing streak with a win at Atlanta (26-17).

Pacers 98, Bobcats 93: : Danny Granger scored 27 points to lift host Indiana (17-27) over Charlotte (18-26), which had won five of six.

Raptors 113, Kings 97: : Chris Bosh scored 31 points, and host Toronto (18-28) handed Sacramento (10-35) its fifth straight loss.

Nuggets 117, Jazz 97: : Nene made all 12 of his shots and tied his career high with 28 points as host Denver (29-15) beat Utah (25-20).

Warriors 107, Clippers 92: : Corey Maggette scored 20 points against his former team as host Golden State (14-31) defeated Los Angeles (10-33).

Off the court

Bucks: : Guard Michael Redd, Milwaukee's leading score at 21.2 points per game, will miss the remainder of the season with torn ligaments in his left knee he suffered in the team's 106-104 victory over Sacramento on Saturday night.

Redd, who helped the U.S. reclaim the gold medal at the Beijing Olympics last summer, was averaging 25 points in January and shooting better than 51 percent from the field.

Knicks: : A woman found shot to death in a Chicago apartment was an ex-girlfriend of New York center Eddy Curry and the mother of his 3-year-old son, Curry's attorney, Kelly Saindon, said.

A relative found the bodies of Nova Henry, 24, and her 9-month-old daughter, Ava, in their apartment near the South Side on Saturday evening, Chicago police spokeswoman Monique Bond said.

Curry's 3-year-old son was found unharmed at the scene. Curry is a former player for the Bulls.

Grizzlies: : Lionel Hollins, who had been serving as an assistant on the Bucks' staff, was introduced as the new head coach of the Grizzlies, who fired Marc Iavaroni on Thursday.

Hollins, a former assistant with the Grizzlies, had two previous stints as the team's coach, both on an interim basis.

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