(The Sports Xchange) – Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant heard the cheers on Tuesday in Philadelphia but it was the 76ers who gave the home fans a real reason to roar.
Robert Covington scored 23 points as the Sixers beat the Lakers 103-91 to win for the first time in 19 games this season, and the first time in 29 games dating back to last season.
The victory came on the same night Bryant began his farewell tour in his hometown. The 37-year-old announced on Sunday that this season, his 20th, would be his last.
Sixers coach Brett Brown said it was “a true privilege” to be on hand for such an occasion, but he was focused more on his team and its victory.
Another loss would have meant that the Sixers had the worst start in NBA history. As it is, they share that record with the 2009-10 New Jersey Nets.
Philadelphia also ended a 28-game losing streak, the longest in the history of the four major North American team sports.
“I’m pleased for the city,” Brown said. “We don’t want the streak continuing. …. Obviously, this is a relief on many levels.”
Covington, who made half his 16 shots and went 5-for-11 from three-point range, echoed Brown in saying it was a relief.
“This feels good,” he said, “to finally put it together — come out, play a full 48 (minutes).”
Jerami Grant contributed 14 points, seven rebounds, four assists and four blocked shots for Philadelphia, whose previous win came on March 25 at Denver. Nerlens Noel also scored 14 and added nine rebounds.
The Sixers went on a 20-5 run late in the third quarter to erase a 75-74 deficit and go in front for good, 94-80, with 7:20 left in the game. Noel keyed the run with six points, and Grant had four.
Bryant scored 20 to lead the Lakers, who at 2-15 are the NBA’s second-worst team. They have dropped seven in a row and 11 of 12. Jordan Clarkson added 19 points.