Kobe listless upon return as LA loses to Toronto 106-94
APLOS ANGELES -- Kobe Bryant had nine points and eight rebounds in his season debut for the Lakers, but Amir Johnson scored a career-high 32 points in the trade-depleted Toronto Raptors' 106-94 victory over Los Angeles on Sunday.
December 10, 2013, 12:25 am TWN
Bryant began his 18th NBA season by going 2 for 9 with four assists and eight turnovers in 28 minutes. The fourth-leading scorer in NBA history hadn't played since tearing his Achilles tendon in April, undergoing several months of rehabilitation to return for Los Angeles' 20th game of the new season.
But the Lakers never led, and Toronto improbably snapped its five-game losing streak despite playing without forward Rudy Gay, who is expected to be traded to Sacramento on Monday as the centerpiece of an apparent seven-player deal.
Kyle Lowry had 23 points and eight assists, and DeMar DeRozan added 10 of his 26 points in the final 4:35 of the Raptors' first road win over the Lakers in 11 tries since Dec. 28, 2001.
Nick Young scored 19 points for the Lakers, who went 10-9 without Bryant this season, forging a winning record without the five-time NBA champion and with little help from fellow injured MVP Steve Nash.
Boston's Jordan Crawford scored 23 points as the Celtics had the most-lopsided victory in the NBA this season, battering the New York Knicks 114-73.
Jared Sullinger added 21 points for the Celtics, who jumped to leads of 12-0, 18-1 and 25-3 and improved their Atlantic Division-leading record to 10-12.
The Celtics led 58-31 at halftime, then Crawford made four 3-pointers in a 34-point quarter that extended Boston's lead to 92-56. The Celtics then scored the first four points of the fourth for a 40-point bulge, triggering loud boos that would get louder at the final buzzer. Boston went on to surpass a 38-point victory by the Clippers over Chicago that had been the NBA's biggest victory this season.
Carmelo Anthony scored 19 points for the Knicks.
At Auburn Hills, Michigan, LeBron James had 24 points, nine assists and seven rebounds as the Miami Heat cruised past the Pistons 110-95, avenging a home loss to Detroit less than a week ago.
Ray Allen added 18 points for the Heat, who were without Dwyane Wade but still shot 56 percent from the field and 11 of 28 from 3-point range. Miami took a 16-5 lead, and although the Pistons fought back, the Heat went on a 13-2 run in the third quarter to make it 74-57.
Andre Drummond had 19 points and 14 rebounds for Detroit, which had its four-game winning streak ended.
The Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Indiana Pacers 118-94 after Kevin Durant had 36 points and 10 rebounds, while Dwight Howard celebrated his 28th birthday with 20 points and 22 rebounds in the Houston Rockets' 98-88 win over the Orlando Magic.
Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook #0 celebrates during the third quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Indiana Pacers in Oklahoma City, Sunday, Dec. 8. (AP)