The Philadelphia 76ers historic losing streak finally came to an end on Tuesday as Kobe Bryant suffered more defeat with the Los Angeles Lakers in his first road match since announcing plans to retire.
One more defeat for the 76ers on Tuesday, 0-18 heading into the match, would have given them sole possession of the unwanted record for the worst start to a season in NBA history. They had already set a record for the longest losing streak in the history of the NBA, with 28 defeats stretching over last season and the current campaign.
But a 23-point haul from forward Robert Covington laid the foundation for a deserved 103-91 76ers victory as Bryant and the Lakers tumbled to 2-15, the worst record in the Western Conference. Jerami Grant and Nerlens Noel added 14 points apiece while rookie Jahlil Okafor was one of three 76ers players to finish with 12 points.
Bryant meanwhile was the top scorer for the Lakers, producing 20 points, two assists and five rebounds.
Bryant's haul also featured four three-pointers but the 37-year-old's effort was in vain. On Sunday, Bryant had triggered an outpouring of tributes after confirming that his glittering 20-year career in the NBA would end at the end of this season.
But it promises to be a long goodbye for Bryant in every sense, with the Lakers present inexperienced roster a pale imitation of the five NBA championship-winning teams he played on during the previous decade.
Elsewhere on Tuesday, the Washington Wizards stunned LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers with a 97-85 upset in Ohio.
John Wall led the way with 35 points, 10 assists and four rebounds as the Wizards improved to 7-8, easing pressure on beleaguered coach Randy Wittman. It was the Cavs’ first home defeat of the season following a 9-0 start to the campaign at the Quicken Loans Arena.
James scored 24 points and grabbed 13 rebounds for Cleveland but committed nine turnovers, part of an overally tally of 19, just short of their season-high 21 set in a double-overtime loss.
Wittman's position had been called into question after a dismal start to the campaign for the Wizards, who reached the second round of the playoffs last year. The hero for the coach was Wall, who became the first Wizards player to bag a 30-point game this season.
At one point the Wizards surged 22 points clear in the third quarter before the Cavaliers guard Matthew Dellavedova scored 10 points in the third to reduce the deficit.