Bryant-led Lakers beat 76ers, 99-91
By Dan Gelston
PHILADELPHIA — A.I. vs. Kobe delivered the throwback duel fans paid to see. Just like in the 2001 NBA finals, Bryant's Lakers beat Allen Iverson's 76ers.
Bryant roused the 20,000 fans who came to jeer him as much as they did to root on the 76ers, scoring 24 points to lead Los Angeles to a 99-91 win over Philadelphia last night.
"It was like a trip down memory lane for me," Bryant said. "It was exciting."
Bryant always packs the Wachovia Center when he makes his yearly visit to his old stomping grounds. He rarely disappoints in putting on a show for the fans who boo his every touch, yet line the court to snap countless photos.
While Bryant is still in his prime, Iverson is in a steady decline. Lakers coach Phil Jackson said the All-Star showdown misses some of the buzz of years past when both could make the argument they were tops at their position.
Don't tell Iverson. He crossed-over and crashed his way toward a season-high 23 points.
Iverson and Bryant are responsible for Philadelphia's only two sellouts this season. Iverson's first game back in Philadelphia drew 20,664, and Bryant helped draw 20,809 last night.
Bryant led Lower Merion High School to a state championship in 1996 and visited his old school Thursday.
"I think because when you get older, you get more and more nostalgic," the 31-year-old Bryant said. "You start reminiscing on where everything started. It kind of creeps in on you."