Kobe Bryant sat back and enjoyed the final minutes of the Los Angeles Lakers' latest laugher from the bench.
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 San Antonio Spurs 99-85 in a meeting of the Western Conference's best teams that turned out to be a mismatch.
``We had a couple of lapses that turned right into points and gave them a lead that we couldn't get back from,'' Spurs forward Tim Duncan said.
The Lakers expect a lot more lopsided victories with backup point guard Jordan Farmar - yes, really - back in the mix.
Farmar returned after missing 18 games because of an injured left knee and scored 14 points as the Lakers won their fourth straight and 14th in 17 games.
tions and we are back clicking on all cylinders.''
In other NBA games Sunday, it was: Boston 124, Dallas 100; Phoenix 104, Atlanta 99; Toronto 113, Sacramento 97; Houston 108, Detroit 105; Minnesota 109, Chicago 108 in overtime; Indiana 98, Charlotte 93; Denver 117, Utah 97; and Golden State 107, the Los Angeles Clippers 92.
In Los Angeles, the Lakers improved to 35-8. The defending champion Boston Celtics (37-9) lead them by a half-game in the overall standings.
Farmar wasn't expected to play until Tuesday night against Charlotte or during the Lakers' upcoming five-game road trip that begins Friday night in Minnesota.
``I've been feeling better for about a week now,'' he said. ``I still had to go through a process to make sure I was OK. No pain, no swelling - it felt normal.
Trevor Ariza scored 17 points to match his season high and Andrew Bynum had 15 points and 11 rebounds for the Lakers. Gasol was the only Los Angeles starter to play in the final period.
Tony Parker had 19 points and six assists and Duncan added 15 points and eight rebounds for the Spurs (29-14), who lost for just the fourth time in 18 games. Neither played in the fourth quarter.
Celtics 124, Mavericks 100
se added seven 3-pointers to help Boston win its eighth straight.
House scored 23 points - making 7-of-11 from 3-point range - Kevin Garnett had 23, and Rajon Rondo had 13 points and 14 assists for Boston. After a 2-7 slump, the Celtics have won eight in a row by an average of 16 points.
Jason Terry scored 27 for the Mavericks, who have lost six of their last nine.
Suns 104, Hawks 99
At Atlanta, Amare Stoudemire scored 23 points and Shaquille O'Neal had 19 points and 11 rebounds to help Phoenix snap a three-game losing streak.
The Hawks had won three straight, but made just one field goal after Solomon Jones gave Atlanta its last lead, 95-94, at the 6:06 mark.
Raptors 113, Kings 97
At Toronto, Chris Bosh scored 31 points, Andrea Bargnani added 24 and the Raptors handed the Kings their fifth straight loss.
Jose Calderon had 16 points and eight assists as Toronto won its second straight following a season-high seven-game losing streak.
John Salmons scored 21 points for the Kings, who are 0-18 against the Eastern Conference.
Rockets 108, Pistons 105
At Auburn Hills, Mich., Ron Artest scored three of his 24 points at the line in the final 14 seconds, helping Houston hold on.
ause of a knee injury.
Richard Hamilton scored 27 points for Detroit.
Timberwolves 109, Bulls 108, OT
At Minneapolis, Al Jefferson scored a season-high 39 points to lead the Wolves to their ninth win in 11 games.
Ben Gordon scored 23 points for Chicago, which lost its fifth straight.
Pacers 98, Bobcats 93
At Indianapolis, Danny Granger had 27 points to lead the Pacers to their season-high fifth straight win at home.
Raja Bell and Boris Diaw had 18 points apiece for Charlotte, which had won five of six.
Nuggets 117, Jazz 97
At Denver, Nene made all 12 of his shots and tied his career high with 28 points, and J.R. Smith scored 13 of his 22 points in the first quarter for the Nuggets.
Ronnie Brewer scored 16 points for the Jazz.
Warriors 107, Clippers 92
At Oakland, Calif., Corey Maggette scored 20 points against his former team as the Warriors ended a two-game slide.
Eric Gordon scored 21 points for the Clippers, who lost their seventh straight on the road and 15th in 17 overall.

NBA Team Pages

Recent NBA Discussions