Kobe Bryant got the jeers, but Philadelphia got the monkey off its back.
The 76ers ended a 28-game losing streak that dated back to last season, dispensing with the visiting Los Angeles Lakers by a 103-91 score in future Hall of Famer Bryant's last appearance in Philly. It was the first win for the Sixers since March 25 at Denver.
"Finally," forward Nerlens Noel said.
Coach Brett Brown's team has long languished at the bottom of the NBA standings and has reeled off two losing streaks of at least 26 games in his three seasons. For one night, in front of a sellout crowd of 20,510 that came to cheer Bryant, the streaks hardly mattered.
"I'm pleased for the city," Brown said. "We don't want this streak continuing."
Hours earlier, Bryant felt the love in Philadelphia as soon as he entered the arena.
He took selfies with fans who might never see him play again, and his presence injected a playoff atmosphere into a city that has lost much of its passion for NBA basketball.
With a packed crowd standing and roaring in appreciation, Bryant was lauded like a hometown hero, not the "Hometown Zero" he once was labeled in Philadelphia tabloids.
Bryant, who will end his 20-year career this season, opened the first leg of his farewell tour in his hometown and was feted with the kind of reverence and gratitude normally reserved for a Sixers great.
"I wasn't expecting that type of reaction -- ovation," he said. "Deeply appreciative beyond belief. It was really, really special."
Playing with the shot selection of a pickup artist, Bryant tried to deliver a special performance in his finale. He buried a step-back 3-pointer off the opening tip. He hit another 3 on the next possession.
Bryant made it 3-for-3 and had the Philly crowd chanting "M-V-P!" as he turned back the clock to his championship form.
"It was a little spurt of old-school Kobe," Noel said.
Bryant said he could tell the start made the Sixers a little starstruck -- most were babies when he started his career.
"I could sense they were like, 'I really don't want to touch him.' ... 'Is this going to be an 81 type of situation?'" Bryant said. "I'm just playing possum because I know my legs ain't going to carry this energy for 48 minutes."
Bryant scored 20 points on 7-of-26 shooting and made four three-pointers.
The Associated Press contributed to this report