LeBron James scored 24 points while sharing a court with Kobe Bryant for the final time, leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 120-108 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night (Friday AEDT).
Bryant had 26 points on 11-of-16 shooting in an entertaining farewell duel between two of the greatest players in NBA history.
Bryant, who will retire after the season, ignored his constantly sore right shoulder to make sure he didn’t miss his 22nd meeting with James on an NBA court, albeit never in the playoffs.
After starting the night with a pre-game chat and hug with the crowd on its collective feet just to watch pre-game warmups, Bryant and James both had vintage individual moments in the final edition of this friendly rivalry.
Kyrie Irving scored 26 points and Channing Frye had 21 for the Cavaliers, who have won on the first two stops of their four-game West Coast road trip.
In San Antonio, Kawhi Leonard had 29 points, LaMarcus Aldridge added 26 points and 10 rebounds and the Spurs won their 31st straight game at home to open the season, upending a short-handed Chicago 109-101.
Tony Parker added 20 points and had 12 assists for San Antonio, who have won 40 straight at home going back to last season. The Spurs have their best NBA start after 65 games at 55-10.
Derrick Rose and Pau Gasol had 21 points each for the Bulls. E’Twaun Moore had 20 points, going four-for-five on 3-pointers.
Chicago was without Jimmy Butler, Joakim Noah and Australian big-man Cameron Bairstow, who were not with the team because of injuries.
In Toronto, DeMar DeRozan had 30 points and five rebounds to help Toronto beat Atlanta 104-96.
Toronto turned the ball over nine times before the game was 13 minutes old, but did a much better job of holding onto it the rest of the way in winning their second straight and 14th of 15 games at home.
Kyle Lowry had 19 points and seven assists for the Raptors and Luis Scola had 10 points and 12 rebounds. Al Horford led Atlanta with 20 points.
In Denver, Emmanuel Mudiay scored a career-high 30 points in a matchup of rookie guards and Denver beat Phoenix 116-98 for their third straight victory.
Nikola Jokic added 18 points and 10 rebounds and Will Barton had 17 points and eight rebounds.
Phoenix rookie Devin Booker had a career-high 35 points in the loss. Booker scored 25 points in the second half when the Suns made a run to briefly lead.