Toronto: Kobe Bryant rescued the fading Los Angeles Lakers by dropping a baseline jump shot with four seconds to play to close out a six-game road trip with a 94-92 win over the Toronto Raptors on Sunday.
Bryant, who entered the contest as the NBA`s scoring leader, had just seven points in the opening half but took charge in the second, finishing with 27 points to send the Lakers home with a 3-3 split from their longest road trip of the season.
"The bottom line is it was Kobe`s two shots at the end of the game," Lakers coach Mike Brown told reporters. "That`s who he is."
Spain`s Pau Gasol contributed a sixth straight double-double to the Lakers, hitting for 16 points and pulling down 17 rebounds while Andrew Bynum bounced back from dismal three-point effort in a loss to the New York Knicks on Friday, with a 14 point performance.
But, as always, with the game on the line, the Lakers turned to Bryant.
Trailing 90-86 with less than a minute to play, Bryant nailed a three-point shot to slice the Raptors advantage to one then fed Metta World Peace for a go layup.
After Jose Calderon, who hit a career high 30 points, answered for Toronto to retake the lead 92-91, Bryant again stepped up, this time with a dazzling fade away jumper before closing out the scoring from the foul line.
"I just noticed a spot on the baseline, everything was set for me to try and catch it down there, I knew I could catch it and shoot," said Bryant.
"Once I noticed that space open, it was just a matter of me trying to shake the defenders and get to that spot.
"I`ll launch them from anywhere."