Bryant scores 32 in Lakers' win over 76ers

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - December 3, 2008 Lakers coach Phil Jackson said before the game that the thrill of playing in his home city has worn off for Bryant. But the reigning MVP appeared to enjoy every big 3-pointer that pushed back the Sixers and gave Los Angeles a boost.

The Lakers improved to 15-2 one night after they lost in Indiana on a late tip.

Los Angeles never let the middling Sixers get too close in this one. Philadelphia was within six in the third quarter when Derek Fisher and Bryant nailed 3-pointers that ballooned the lead to double digits.

Andre Miller scored 26 points and Andre Iguodala had 19 for the Sixers, who played the entire fourth quarter and the last 4 minutes of the third without Elton Brand.

It was unclear whether Brand was injured or simply benched on an off night. He was limited to three points on 1-for-7 shooting in 25 ineffective minutes.

The wildly inconsistent Sixers hoped to get their groove back after a 103-95 overtime win at Chicago on Tuesday. Again, they couldn't get Iguodala, Miller and Brand going offensively at the same time. They lost for the fourth time in five games and haven't won consecutive games since Nov. 21-23.

Team president Ed Stefanski said before the game he wasn't shocked the Sixers are having trouble adjusting to new roles that came with Brand's free-agent arrival.

Brand, though, was signed to deliver big games against teams like the Lakers. No injury report was given, so perhaps he just had an off night. But the Sixers can't afford many games like this from Brand if they want to make a move in the East.

With Brand on the bench, guard Lou Williams tried to rally the Sixers in the fourth. He scored all 15 of his points in the quarter and made three 3s, including two straight that pulled Philadelphia to 101-91.

Hearing some faint chants of "MVP!" mixed in with the usual Philly boos, Bryant sank a pair of free throws at the 2-minute mark that gave the Lakers a 108-97 lead, then followed with a spinning, right-handed layup that put the game away. Just for fun, he drilled a 3 the next time down and appeared to stare at Philly's bench.

With less than a minute left, Iguodala decided to guard Bryant as though Game 7 of a playoff series was tied. Bryant was called for a push-off foul, and what was left of the crowd howled at the late-game theatrics.

Notes: Phillies SS Jimmy Rollins was at the game. ... The 76ers lost their third straight at home. They didn't lose more than two in a row at home all of last season. ... The 76ers are 2-4 in the second game of back-to-backs.

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