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NBA: Bryant scores 31 to lead Lakers past Wizards 108-104

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kobe_bryant.jpgTwo games into a farewell tour that's already included an emotional night in his home city, a visit to the White House and a vintage performance, Kobe Bryant is still getting used to all the love.

He got plenty of it from another sellout crowd Wednesday night and scored 12 of his season-high 31 points in the fourth quarter to help the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Washington Wizards 108-104.

Bryant finished 10 of 24 from the floor and appeared to turn back time in the last of his team's four games in five days, shaking off a cold stretch to hit a string of critical shots in the waning minutes.

With each one, the ovations from a crowd of 20,356 mixed with Lakers and Wizards fans grew louder. By the time Bryant's pull-up jumper sent Bradley Beal backpedaling and gave the Lakers a 103-101 lead with 30.8 seconds remaining, the Verizon Center sounded more like Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Bryant received a similar reception Tuesday night during a loss to the previously winless 76ers in his hometown of Philadelphia, his first game after announcing his plans to retire after the season. He shot 7 of 26 in that one and scored 20 points.

Said Wizards guard John Wall, who had 34 points and 11 assists: "We knew it was going to be that type of atmosphere. That's what it's going to be like wherever he goes."

Julius Randle had 15 points and a career-best 19 rebounds for the Lakers (3-15), who hit five of their last six free throws to snap a seven-game losing streak.

Wall scored 15 in the fourth quarter. But after Bryant's last basket, Wall's errant pass was stolen by Lou Williams, one of 23 Washington turnovers.

Marcin Gortat added 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Wizards, who have dropped five of six despite erasing an early 19-point deficit.