The Los Angeles Lakers responded to coach Mike Brown's firing earlier Friday with a 101-77 victory over the Golden State Warriors.
The Lakers had just a few hours to absorb Brown's dismissal after just 18 months on the job. Following a bumpy first half under interim coach Bernie Bickerstaff, they pulled away in the third quarter with a 25-9 run led by Bryant, who also had nine rebounds and seven assists.
Kobe Bryant scored 27 points and Pau Gasol added 14 points and 16 rebounds for the Lakers.
Stephen Curry scored 18 points for the Warriors, who have lost five straight to the Lakers overall.
The comfortable victory doubled the Lakers' victory total for the season and capped one of the most tumultuous days in recent history for a franchise that's never short on drama. General manager Mitch Kupchak and owner Jim Buss abruptly dismissed Brown, informing the players during their morning shoot around.
Bickerstaff ran the Lakers as the interim coach, but the veteran NBA bench boss isn't likely to be a candidate for the full-time job. The crowd quickly made its choice known: A chant of “We want Phil!” rose out of the stands while Bryant shot a free throw in the third quarter.
Phil Jackson, the 11-time NBA champion coach who won five rings in two previous stints running the Lakers, is near the top of Kupchak's list again, the GM acknowledged.