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Bryant scores 31 as Lakers trip Nuggets

DENVER — Kobe Bryant's turnaround was unstoppable, just like it was years ago. He played suffocating defense on the hot shooter, same as he did years ago.

For a night, Bryant was vintage Bryant. No second thoughts about retirement, though.

"Zero. Not even an inkling," he said.

Bryant tied a season high with 31 points after missing a game with a sore right shoulder, and the Los Angeles Lakers rallied from a 21-point, first-half deficit to beat the short-handed Denver Nuggets 111-107 on Tuesday.

Bryant also had five assists and played stellar defense to help bottle up the hot-shooting Will Barton, who had 23 points in the first half only to finish with 25.

"I can still play a little bit," said Bryant, who was on the court for 32 minutes in the first game of a back-to-back. "It was a great test for me tonight to see if I could still play both ends of the floor."

The 37-year-old Bryant announced last month he would retire after the season. He received plenty of cheers during his penultimate game in the Mile High City, including chants of "Kobe! Kobe!" in the waning seconds.

Up 103-100 with 1:23 remaining, Bryant hit two free throws and then a jumper to seal the Lakers' fifth win of the season.

"He's still a guy that sees the floor better than everybody," coach Byron Scott said. "He sees it in slow motion."

But that defensive performance. Now that impressed Scott.

"Barton was tearing us up in the first half," Scott said. "I asked Kobe if he wanted to guard him. He's like, 'Yeah, I got him.' Two points after that. He just did a fabulous job."

RAPTORS 103, MAVERICKS 99: At Toronto, DeMar DeRozan scored 28 points and Bismack Biyombo had a career-high 20 rebounds, leading the Raptors to the victory. Kyle Lowry added 17 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists for Toronto, which swept the two-game season series against Dallas. Terrence Ross scored 16 points. The Raptors appeared to be on their way to a comfortable victory with five minutes to go in the fourth. But the Mavericks battled back.

PISTONS 93, HEAT 92: At Miami, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope's jumper with 55.5 seconds left put Detroit ahead to stay, and the Pistons rallied from 18 points down for the road win. Reggie Jackson led the Pistons with 18 points, while Stanley Johnson and Caldwell-Pope each had 14. The Pistons were 15 for 29 from 3-point range, outscoring Miami 45-12 in that department. Chris Bosh scored 20 points for Miami.

GRIZZLIES 104, 76ERS 90: At Philadelphia, Marc Gasol scored 19 points for Memphis, and Mike Conley had 18 points and six assists. The Grizzlies had five players score in double figures. Courtney Lee had 15 points, reserve Zach Randolph added 14 points and eight rebounds, and Matt Barnes finished with 12 points and 10 boards. Jahlil Okafor scored 18 points and Hollis Thompson contributed 16 for Philadelphia, which dropped to 1-29 while losing its 11th straight game.