5 Jan 2012

Kobe finds touch to down Rockets

6:55 am on 5 January 2012

Kobe Bryant rediscovered his scoring touch to tally 37 points and lead the Los Angeles Lakers to top spot in the NBA's Pacific division with a 108-99 win over the visiting Houston Rockets.

Bryant, who had connected on just 26 percent of his shots over his previous two games, finally caught fire against the Rockets while team mate Andrew Bynum had 21 points and 22 rebounds as the Lakers got their fourth win in five games.

Meanwhile Derrick Rose lived up to his MVP status as he led a furious fourth-quarter rally, but it was Luol Deng who delivered the game-winner for Chicago in a 76-74 victory over Atlanta.

With the Hawks focused on Rose on Chicago's inbounds play, Deng cut inside and collected a pass from Joakim Noah for a layup with 3.7 seconds remaining.

The Hawks, who led by as many as 19 in the third quarter, could not respond, with Joe Johnson's jump shot at the buzzer failing to reach the rim.

In Oklahoma City, LaMarcus Aldridge scored 30 points as the visiting Portland Trail Blazers (4-1) silencing the Thunder 103-93.

James Harden tallied 23 points, while Kevin Durant finished with 19 on a miserable 8-of-26 shooting for the Thunder, losers of two straight after starting the season 5-0.

In Memphis Rudy Gay scored 23 and reserve Sam Young had 20 as the Grizzlies rebounded from a 40-point drubbing by the Bulls on Saturday, to crush the visiting Sacramento Kings, 113-96.

Elsewhere the Cleveland Cavaliers bounced the visiting Charlotte Bobcats, 115-101, and the Utah Jazz drummed the Milwaukee Bucks, 85-73 at home.