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(Sunday, December 16th)
Final Score: LA Lakers 111, Philadelphia 98
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Kobe Bryant returned to his hometown and dropped a game-high 34 points while handing out six assists as the Los Angeles Lakers cruised to a 111-98 win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday at Wells Fargo Center.
Dwight Howard netted 17 points on 7-of-13 shooting and pulled down 11 rebounds, while Darius Morris scored 15 points on 5-of-8 from the floor for Los Angeles, which has won back-to-back games since losing four in a row.
"I think the biggest difference that I'm happy about is the energy that we're playing with," Bryant said. "We're playing with a better spirit and playing with more energy. That's what I like."
Metta World Peace donated 19 points and a career-high 16 rebounds, while former Sixer Jodie Meeks added 12 points in the victory.
Nick Young scored a season-high 30 points, while Evan Turner contributed 16 points and six assists for Philadelphia, which played without point guard Jrue Holiday for the second consecutive game due to a foot injury.
Spencer Hawes and Thaddeus Young gave 16 and 14 points, respectively, in the setback, the Sixers' third in a row.
"We just have to keep playing, keep fighting and keep focusing in to try and punch out wins and finish games," said Young.
After a back-and-forth first quarter which featured six lead changes and five ties, Los Angeles scored the final five points of the frame to snag a 28-24 lead.
Despite being down by four after one, Philadelphia shot 55 percent from the floor. The Sixers were done in by the long ball, though, as Los Angeles shot 6-of-10 from beyond the arc in the session.
The Lakers continued their outrageously hot shooting in the second quarter, hitting 12-of-18 from the floor and making 4-of-5 shots from 3-point range in the period.
A driving slam by Dorell Wright cut Philadelphia's deficit to five with 8:37 to play in the half, but Meeks later buried a deep trey with 6:01 on the clock, lifting the Lakers to a 46-35 advantage.
Philadelphia cut it to single digits on three occasions, but LA was firmly in control at the break, holding a 60-50 margin.
Los Angeles continued to play the front-runners for the duration of the third stanza, and a 21-footer by Meeks with 2:27 to play in the frame gave the visitors an 83-66 advantage.
Young came up with a steal and a run-out layup at the tail end of the quarter to slice the deficit to 12, but the Lakers regrouped and led 87-73 heading into the final stanza.
Hawes buried his second 3-ball of the night early in the fourth to pull the Sixers within 91-82, but the home side could not get any closer and Los Angeles led by as many as 18 down the stretch.
Los Angeles completed a four-game road trip at 2-2 ... The Lakers improved to 8-2 in their last 10 matchups against Philadelphia ... Lakers forward Pau Gasol missed his eighth straight game with knee tendinitis ... The Lakers finished 14-of-34 from beyond the arc, including 10-of-15 in the first half ... Philadelphia shot 49.4 percent from the floor, but turned the ball over 18 times which led to 16 Lakers points.
12/16 22:52:45 ET
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