Kobe Bryant had 41 points to extend his remarkable streak of scoring at least 40 to nine straight games as the Lakers beat the Seattle SuperSonics, 106-101, last night in Los Angeles.
Bryant equaled the best such streak of Michael Jordan, who did so early in the 1986-87 season.
The only player with longer streaks of 40 or more points is Wilt Chamberlain. The NBA's second-leading career scorer, Chamberlain accomplished the feat in 14 straight games twice in the 1961-62 season and in 10 straight the following season.
Bryant shot 13 of 34 and made 14 of 16 free throws. He missed his last six shots, but made two free throws with 23 seconds remaining to push him over 40.
Bryant has scored at least 35 points in 13 consecutive games. Again, Chamberlain is the only player ahead of him in that department, having accomplished that feat in 33, 23 and 20 straight games.
Shaquille O'Neal had 27 points and 17 rebounds for the Lakers, who have won four straight games and 11 of 13. Their latest victory moved them past Phoenix into seventh place in the Western Conference.
Ray Allen was terrific in his first game for the Sonics, just missing his second career triple double with 26 points, 13 rebounds and 9 assists.
* KINGS 99, KNICKS 92: Chris Webber, out for 10 games because of a badly sprained left ankle, made a successful return with 20 points, 11 rebounds and 9 assists as host Sacramento beat New York.
Sidelined since Jan. 28, Webber barely missed his 18th career triple-double. Mike Bibby added 15 points for Sacramento, which had seven players score in double figures. The Kings have won three in a row.
* MAGIC 113, NETS 105: In East Rutherford, N.J., Tracy McGrady had 46 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds in his second monster game since Orlando traded Mike Miller and the Magic won its third straight.
What McGrady did against the defending Eastern Conference champions just two days after he tallied 52 points against Chicago was impressive, too.
"I have been feeling it the last two games," McGrady said. "My confidence is just so high. The baskets seems so big, man. I'm in a zone, and hopefully I can stay in that zone from now until the end of the season."
* TIMBERWOLVES 99, SUNS 97: In Minneapolis, Wally Szczerbiak scored a season-high 30 points and Kevin Garnett added 24 points, 15 rebounds and 6 assists as the Timberwolves defeated Phoenix.
* WARRIORS 115, HAWKS 93: Jason Richardson scored 20 points, and Gilbert Arenas had 18 points and six assists as Golden State stayed strong at home, beating Atlanta.
* 76ERS 116, CAVALIERS 103: Allen Iverson scored 23 points and Derrick Coleman added 20 points and 13 rebounds as Philadelphia, at home, won its sixth straight game.