CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Kobe Bryant scored 31 points, Pau Gasol added 26 and the new-look Los Angeles Lakers continued their impressive road trip with a 106-97 win over the reeling Charlotte Bobcats on Monday.

The Lakers improved to 4-1 since acquiring Gasol behind Bryant’s third straight game scoring 30 or more points.

In improving to 6-2 on their nine-game road trip, the Lakers never trailed but struggled to put away the Bobcats. Charlotte cut a 13-point deficit to 89-86 midway through the fourth quarter before wilting in their seventh straight loss.

Bryant’s jumper with 4:30 left made it 96-90. His no-look pass to Lamar Odom for a dunk made it 100-93, and Bryant put the Lakers ahead by 11 with two free throws with 1:07 left.

Gasol had his second-highest scoring game since joining Los Angeles, hitting 9 of 11 shots and 8 of 12 free throws. The Lakers shot 50 percent in their third straight win.

Raymond Felton scored 29 points and Nazr Mohammed added 22 points and 11 rebounds for the Bobcats, who matched their longest losing streak of the season.

Cavaliers 118, Magic 111

ORLANDO, Fla. – Larry Hughes scored a season-high 40 points and LeBron James added 29 as the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Orlando Magic 118-111.

Hedo Turkoglu had 25 points for Orlando, leading all five starters in double figures, while Dwight Howard had 16 points and nine rebounds.

76ers 84, Mavericks 76

PHILADELPHIA – Andre Miller scored 21 points to lead the Philadelphia 76ers to their fourth straight win, 84-76 over the Dallas Mavericks.

Miller, named the Eastern Conference player of the week, is a big reason why the Sixers are suddenly thinking about a playoff push. Philadelphia has won the first four games of a five-game homestand and moved a half-game behind idle New Jersey for the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference.

Andre Iguodala finished with 14 points, including a pair of jumpers during a late 12-1 run.

Clippers 96, Bucks 89

MILWAUKEE – Al Thornton scored 25 points and Sam Cassell added 21 points and eight assists as the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Milwaukee Bucks 96-89.

Los Angeles, which finished 3-4 on its road trip, also got 20 points from Corey Maggette.

Mo Williams, who missed Saturday’s game against New York because of a flu, led Milwaukee with 31 points.

Spurs 93, Raptors 88

TORONTO – Manu Ginobili scored a season-high 34 points and added a career-high 15 rebounds, leading the San Antonio Spurs to a 93-88 victory over the Toronto Raptors.

Tim Duncan added 22 points and 13 rebounds for the Spurs, who led from wire-to-wire and won for the fifth time in six games.

San Antonio’s only defeat in that time was a 98-90 loss at Boston on Sunday.

Ginobili had 21 points in 19 first-half minutes, scored three more in the third, then helped put the game away with 10 in the fourth.

Rockets 95, Portland 83

HOUSTON – Yao Ming had 25 points and seven rebounds as the Houston Rockets beat the Portland Trail Blazers 95-83 for their seventh straight win.

Rafer Alston scored 13 of his 17 points in the third quarter, when the Rockets began to stretch their lead over the team right behind them in the Western Conference standings. Tracy McGrady had 12 points and six assists for the Rockets.

ets , who’ve matched their longest winning streak since they won the last seven games of the 2004-05 season. Houston has won 11 of its last 12 games, and 16 of its last 20.


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