PHILADELPHIA (AP) Kobe Bryant won over the fans. He just couldn’t beat the previously winless Philadelphia 76ers.
With the spotlight on Bryant during the final game of his career in his hometown, the Sixers stole the show and defeated the Los Angeles Lakers 103-91 on Tuesday night for their first victory of the season.
The Sixers had lost their first 18 games, and 28 overall dating to last season – the longest skid in the history of major professional sports in the United States. But they remained tied for the worst start in NBA history with the 2009-10 New Jersey Nets, who also opened 0-18.
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It was the first win for the Sixers since March 25 at Denver.
Bryant, who will end his 20-year career this season, opened the first leg of his farewell tour in his hometown and was feted with the kind of reverence and gratitude normally reserved for a Sixers great.
He buried a 3-pointer off the opening tip and hit another 3 on the next possession. Bryant made it 3 for 3 and had the Philly crowd chanting ”M-V-P!” as he turned back the clock to his championship form. He scored 20 points on 7-of-26 shooting and made four 3s.
Robert Covington scored 23 points for the Sixers.
WIZARDS 97, CAVALIERS 85
CLEVELAND (AP) – John Wall scored a season-high 35 points and Washington handed Cleveland its first home loss of the season.
The Wizards, who never trailed, scored the first 10 points of the game and went on a 9-0 run to begin the second half in snapping a four-game losing streak.
LeBron James had 24 points, but the Cavaliers lost for the first time in 10 games this season at Quicken Loans Arena.
Wall was 14 of 24 from the field and had 10 assists. Bradley Beal scored 18 and Marcin Gortat added 15 points with 11 rebounds for the Wizards.
MAVERICKS 115, TRAIL BLAZERS 112, OT
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – Deron Williams had a season-high 30 points and the Mavericks defeated the Trail Blazers in overtime in Wesley Matthews’ first trip back to Portland since signing with Dallas as a free agent.
Dirk Nowitzki added 28 points and Matthews finished with 18 in his return as the Mavs snapped a four-game losing streak on the road.
Nowitzki’s 3-pointer narrowed it to 96-94 before his tip shot tied it, and Damian Lillard missed a 3 at the buzzer to send the game into overtime. The Mavs outscored the Blazers 9-3 to open the extra period.
Lillard finished with 25 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds. Meyers Leonard had 23 points and Portland’s bench outscored the Dallas reserves 73-16.
GRIZZLIES 113, PELICANS 104
NEW ORLEANS (AP) – Marc Gasol scored a career-high 38 points and grabbed 13 rebounds as Memphis defeated New Orleans.
The Pelicans lost despite the return of starting guard Tyreke Evans and top reserve Norris Cole. Evans had 20 points and 10 assists, but that wasn’t enough to overcome a Grizzlies squad that scored 52 points in the paint and missed only one of 26 free throws.
Gasol was 11 of 22 from the field and made all 16 of his foul shots. Zach Randolph added 14 points, while Courtney Lee and Matt Barnes scored 13 each.
Anthony Davis had 17 points, 14 rebounds and career high-tying nine blocked shots for the Pelicans. But he struggled with his shooting, going 4 of 15 from the field and 8 of 13 on free throws.
Ryan Anderson scored 16 for New Orleans, which has lost three straight.
MAGIC 96, TIMBERWOLVES 93
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Nikola Vucevic had 18 points and 12 rebounds, and Orlando topped Minnesota for its fourth straight victory.
Elfrid Payton had 14 points and eight rebounds, and Andrew Nicholson scored 15 for the Magic, who have won four straight for the first time since December 2012.
Andrew Wiggins scored 27 points for the Timberwolves, but missed a free throw with 5.6 seconds to play that would have tied the game. Minnesota shot just 37.7 percent and fell to 2-7 at home this season.
The Magic led by as many as 17 in the third quarter. Minnesota had it tied with 4:30 to play, but went 3:40 without a bucket late in the fourth.
NETS 94, SUNS 91
NEW YORK (AP) – Brook Lopez scored 23 points and Brooklyn beat Phoenix for its fourth consecutive win at home.
Brooklyn reserves Shane Larkin and Wayne Ellington each had 11 points and both made a basket in the brief flurry that helped the Nets win consecutive games for the first time this season. Jarrett Jack also scored 11 and added eight assists.
Brandon Knight scored 26 points and Eric Bledsoe had 17 for the Suns, who had a long dry spell from the field in the fourth quarter after leading by nine earlier in the period. They botched their final possession trailing by three with 4 seconds remaining.