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Originally published Sunday, November 18, 2012 at 9:58 PM

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Los Angeles Lakers improve to 4-1 since the firing of coach Mike Brown | NBA

Kobe Bryant had a triple-double as the host Los Angeles Lakers beat Houston. The Lakers are 4-1 since firing coach Mike Brown.

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LOS ANGELES — Kobe Bryant collected 22 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists for his 18th career triple-double, and the revitalized Los Angeles Lakers ran past the Houston Rockets 119-108 Sunday night for their fourth victory in five games since firing coach Mike Brown.

Dwight Howard had 28 points and 13 rebounds, and Pau Gasol scored his 15,000th career point among his 17 as the Lakers returned to .500 by running away from their second consecutive opponent since coach Mike D'Antoni took over their practices.

D'Antoni watched his second consecutive game from the Lakers' locker room while interim coach Bernie Bickerstaff — a former Sonics coach — ran the bench. D'Antoni decided earlier Sunday to delay his debut, giving him a few more days to recover from recent knee-replacement surgery.

Chandler Parsons scored 24 points and James Harden had 20 for the Rockets, who have lost six of eight.

Bickerstaff improved to 4-1 while filling in for Brown and D'Antoni, who announced the longtime coach and executive will remain on his staff — as long as the Lakers beat Houston, D'Antoni joked.

Bickerstaff's job is secure, and the Lakers finally are starting to play with a flair worthy of their loaded roster, even while point guard Steve Nash missed his eighth straight game with a small fracture in his leg.

The Lakers already are running a significant portion of D'Antoni's playbook, and it showed in a free-flowing victory for a team that followed an 0-8 exhibition season with a 1-4 start, leading to Brown's dismissal.

With an offensive rebound with 5 ½ minutes to play, Bryant recorded his first triple-double since Nov. 3, 2010, at Sacramento.

Portland wins

its 3rd in a row

PORTLAND — Wesley Matthews and Nicolas Batum scored 21 points apiece and the Portland Trail Blazers beat the Chicago Bulls 102-94 for their first three-game winning streak since opening last season with a trio of victories.

LaMarcus Aldridge added 18 points and 13 rebounds as all starters were in double figures for Portland (5-5), which finished last season at 28-38 by losing its last seven games.

"Last season was such a debacle," Matthews said. "I don't want to talk about it for the rest of my life."

Nate Robinson, a former Washington Huskies and Rainier Beach High School standout, led Chicago with 18 points. Joakim Noah had 16 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists for the Bulls.

The Blazers have won their last five games against the Bulls at the Rose Garden.

Durant excels

OKLAHOMA CITY — Ex-Sonic Kevin Durant posted his first career triple-double, with 25 points, 13 rebounds and a career-high 10 assists to lead Oklahoma City past Golden State 119-109.

Oklahoma City guard Russell Westbrook had 30 points.

Knicks go to 7-1

NEW YORK — Carmelo Anthony had 26 points and nine rebounds to help the New York Knicks bounce back from their first loss of the season with an 88-76 victory over Indiana.


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