The superstars keep rolling into South Philly and Los list when he leads his team against the 76ers tonight from Wells Fargo Center.
Dwight Howard, Derrick Rose, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade have all brought inspiring crowds out to the Sixers' home games recently and now it's Bryant's turn to try and stun the friendly faithful. Bryant, a product of Lower Merion in nearby Philadelphia, is averaging 22.6 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.6 assists in 28 career games against the Sixers.
Bryant registered 21.0 ppg in two wins against Philadelphia last season and Los Angeles has won four straight and nine of the past 11 contests in this series. The Lakers are unbeaten in their last four trips to the City of Brotherly Love after losing the previous seven meetings there. Monday's showdown is the lone matchup of the season between the two clubs.
The Lakers will continue a six-game road trip this evening and had won three straight and four of five games until dropping a 96-87 decision in Utah on Saturday. Bryant had 26 points and Pau Gasol contributed 24 points and 16 rebounds for the Lakers, who got 21 points and 12 boards from Andrew Bynum. Lakers first-year head coach Mike Brown wasn't around to see the end of the contest after he was ejected with 8:35 left in the fourth quarter.
"I was trying to give our guys some juice," Brown said. "I got techs, I shouldn't have gotten two techs. I put our guys in a deeper hole than we were already in, and that probably cost the game."
LA is scheduled to visit the Celtics, Knicks and Raptors on the trek and is just 3-8 as the guest this season. It is 11-2 at home and 1 1/2 games behind the upstart Clippers for bragging rights in the Pacific Division. Bryant (28,573 points) is now 23 points shy of tying Shaquille O'Neal (28,596 points) for fifth on the NBA's all-time scoring list.
Philadelphia is back home after a quick visit to Atlanta on Saturday, when it recorded a 98-87 victory thanks to rookie Nikola Vucevic's team-high 15 points. Vucevic led six players in double-figure scoring, as Lou Williams, Thaddeus Young and Spencer Hawes posted 14 points apiece. Evan Turner and Jodie Meeks finished with 11 and 10 points, respectively in the win.
The Sixers rebounded from Friday night's loss to the Miami Heat and were able to post their sixth win in eight tries.
"Four games in six nights, the emotional game [Friday] night against Miami ... I can't tell you how proud I am of the guys=," Sixers coach Doug Collins said.
Hawes made a surprise return to the lineup after missing the previous 10 games due to injury. Collins' team, which went 5-2 on a recent homestand before heading south to Atlanta, will also welcome the Spurs and Clippers to town on this upcoming residency. The 76ers are 12-3 at home this season and own a 3 1/2-game advantage over Boston for the lead in the Atlantic Division.
In team news, Meeks has been playing well lately, posting 10 or more points in four of the past six games. The Sixers are 9-1 when he scores 10-plus points.
The 76ers have yet to lose consecutive games this season. They are 17-7 overall, the best start since going 18-6 in 2000-01, when the team last advanced to the NBA Finals against tonight's opponent. Of the Sixers' 17 wins, 15 have been by double-digits.