The Suns extended one of the best stretches in franchise history. The 76ers remained stuck in a dismal one, on the trade front and the basketball court. And by the end of the night, Kobe Bryant had yanked the headlines away from both of them with another sensational performance.
Bryant scored a season-high 53 points, and the Los Angeles Lakers rallied from a 21-point deficit to beat the Houston Rockets 112-101 in double overtime Friday night.
With his 13th career game of 50 or more points, Bryant topped Yao Ming, who led the Rockets with 35 points, 15 rebounds and a career-high eight blocked shots.
"It felt great for me," Bryant said. "It confirmed for me that my legs are back because that's in the second overtime. Playing long minutes, I'm still able to get to the basket and explode."
Before that, the big news in the NBA involved Phoenix and Philadelphia, a pair of teams who couldn't be farther apart right now.
The Suns won their 13th straight game, one shy of the franchise record, with a 105-101 victory over the Golden State Warriors. Things are going so well for Phoenix that it won without its best effort.
"We didn't play well tonight," Steve Nash said. "We didn't shoot the ball particularly well against the zone and we weren't really smooth."
The 76ers wish they had those problems. They played about as well as they could, but with Allen Iverson nowhere to be found and Chris Webber not available either, Philadelphia dropped its 10th straight, 93-79 in Dallas.
In other games, it was: Washington 106, Miami 95; Indiana 112, New York 96; Toronto 90, New Jersey 78; Boston 119, Denver 114; Cleveland 106, Seattle 84; Atlanta 97, Memphis 88; Chicago 117, Milwaukee 111; Sacramento 98, Utah 97; and Portland 109, the Los Angeles Clippers 99.
Friday night marked one week since the 76ers announced they would look to accommodate Iverson's desire for a trade. But they haven't received an acceptable offer yet, so they are paying their leading scorer to sit home while they lose games without him.
With Webber also out Friday because of a sprained ankle, the Sixers didn't have nearly enough to compete with a deep team like the Mavs. The Sixers have their longest losing streak since dropping 13 in a row from Dec. 28, 1996, through Jan. 20, 1997, Iverson's rookie season.
"I don't know how many games we've lost. ... I'm not even thinking about that," coach Maurice Cheeks insisted. "I like our effort. I thought our effort was great. If we keep getting that type of effort we've been getting, we'll be OK."
Philadelphia will try to end its skid Saturday night at San Antonio. Phoenix can match its franchise-record win streak when it visits Sacramento.
Bryant gets a well-deserved day off after playing 54 minutes Friday night and carrying the Lakers, just as he did so many times last season.
"We had a couple baskets here and there from other guys as we went along, but I had to go to Kobe to get accomplished what we had to do in a win," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said.
Wizards 106, Heat 95
At Washington, the Wizards took advantage of a depleted lineup to blow the game open in the first quarter and end 3 1/2 years of frustration against Miami.
Caron Butler scored a season-high 30 points and had nine rebounds as Washington ended a 16-game losing streak against its Southeast Division rival, which didn't have Dwyane Wade or Shaquille O'Neal.
Hawks 97, Grizzlies 88
Zaza Pachulia scored 22 points, Speedy Claxton added 19 points and 11 assists, and Atlanta ruined Pau Gasol's season debut by winning at Memphis.
Gasol missed the season's first 22 games with a broken left foot. He started and played 17 minutes, scoring four points and grabbing three rebounds, but the Grizzlies lost their fifth straight.
Bulls 117, Bucks 111
At Chicago, Ben Wallace grabbed a season-high 27 rebounds, one shy of his career high, and added 10 points to lead the Bulls to their 10th win in 11 games.
Kirk Hinrich scored 21 points and Chris Duhon had 19 for Chicago, which finished its longest homestand in team history with a 7-1 record.
Celtics 119, Nuggets 114
At Boston, Paul Pierce scored 38 points and Tony Allen added a career-high 30 to help the Celtics extend their winning streak to four.
Carmelo Anthony scored a season-high 42 points for the Nuggets, who lost their second straight and fell to 1-3 on their five-game trip.
Pacers 112, Knicks 96
Danny Granger scored a career-high 25 points and the Pacers hit a season-high 12 3-pointers in Knicks coach Isiah Thomas' first game back at Indiana since he was fired as Pacers coach.
Cavaliers 106, SuperSonics 84
At Cleveland, Larry Hughes scored 25 points and LeBron James flirted with his first triple-double this season for the Cavaliers, who now have the best winning percentage in the Eastern Conference.
Raptors 90, Nets 78
At Toronto, T.J. Ford had 17 points, nine rebounds and eight assists in the Raptors' second straight victory without Chris Bosh.
Former Raptor Vince Carter was booed every time he touched the ball. He went 4-for-17 from the field and 4-for-8 from the line for just 12 points.
Kings 98, Jazz 97
Shareef Abdur-Rahim scored 21 points, including a 3-pointer in the final minute, and Sacramento rallied from a 16-point deficit to hand Utah just its second home loss of the season.
Trail Blazers 109, Clippers 99
At Portland, Ore., Zach Randolph had 26 points and seven rebounds, and the Trail Blazers won their season-high fourth straight game.
Source: AP News