Los Angles – Kobe Bryant had nine points and eight rebounds in his season debut for the Los Angeles Lakers, but Amir Johnson scored a career-high 32 points in the trade-depleted Toronto Raptors’ 106-94 victory Sunday night.
Bryant began his 18th NBA season with 2-for-9 shooting with four assists and eight turnovers in 28 minutes. The fourth-leading scorer in NBA history hadn’t played since tearing his Achilles tendon in April, undergoing several months of rehabilitation to return for Los Angeles’ 20th game of the new season.
But the Lakers never led, and Toronto improbably snapped its five-game losing streak despite playing without forward Rudy Gay, who is likely to be traded to Sacramento on Monday.
Kyle Lowry had 23 points and eight assists, and DeMar DeRozan added 10 of his 26 points in the final 4:35 of the Raptors’ first road win over the Lakers in 11 tries since Dec. 28, 2001.
Nick Young scored 19 points for the Lakers, who went 10-9 without Bryant this season.
Adoring fans cheered Kobe’s every move and forgave every misstep, but Bryant couldn’t rally the Lakers late despite another huge game by Los Angeles’ reserves. Xavier Henry scored 17 points off the bench, and Jodie Meeks added 14.
The 35-year-old Bryant hadn’t played since getting hurt in a home game against Golden State on April 12.
Rudy Gay headed to Kings: Forward Rudy Gay will be traded from the Toronto Raptors to the Sacramento Kings in a seven-player deal, a person familiar with the deal said Sunday night.
Sacramento will receive Gay, forward Quincy Acy and center Aaron Gray in exchange for point guard Greivis Vasquez and forwards John Salmons, Patrick Patterson and Chuck Hayes. The deal is expected to be announced Monday.
Gay, 27, has a $17.9 million salary this season, plus a $19.3 million player option next season.
Knicks blown out: Fresh off wins by 30 and 38 points, the New York Knicks saw their fortunes turn in embarrassing fashion Sunday night.
New York fell to Boston 114-73, the largest margin of defeat in the NBA this season.
After winning those two games by a total of 68 points, it looked as if the Knicks were going to fall behind by that much Sunday. It was 12-0 and 18-1 before the Celtics took their biggest lead of the first quarter at 32-7, and the Knicks trailed by as many as 45.
Wade returns to bench: Miami guard Dwyane Wade missed Sunday night’s game at Detroit because of lingering knee issues.
He suffered a scare in the first quarter of the Heat’s game Saturday against Minnesota when he appeared to bang his right knee during a fall.