Bryant scored 36 points and keyed a late rally to help the Los Angeles Lakers snap a two-game losing streak with a 105-96 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday night.
The Lakers trailed by 93-88 with 3:08 left, but closed the game on a 17-3 run, including 10 points from Bryant to overtake the Grizzlies down the stretch. His breakaway dunk as the horn sounded put an exclamation point on the Lakers' win.
"We know what we want to do," Bryant said of the Lakers' late play against the young Grizzlies. "For a young team, they are still kind of searching for what that identity is going to be.
"For us, we've been there, done that. So, it's just a matter of how well we executed."
Bryant was 14-of-23 from the field, part of Los Angeles shooting 54 percent on the night.
"Obviously, Kobe hit a big shot, and we never really responded to that," said Rudy Gay, who led Memphis with 23 points. "I think we took a stride, but then again, you can't be happy with a loss."
Pau Gasol had 15 points, seven rebounds and had six assists in his return to Memphis. Gasol played six-plus seasons with the Grizzlies before being traded to Los Angeles in February. Part of the trade included his brother, Marc, going to the Grizzlies.
"Somebody had to lose tonight, right?" Gasol said. "I'm happy we came out victorious because we needed this win extremely bad to continue to pursue our goals. But I'm sorry that on the losing end were the Grizzlies and my brother."
Gasol is the Grizzlies franchise leader in 12 statistical categories, including points, rebounds and blocks, and the only All-Star in Grizzlies history (2006).
He was met with a mixture of cheers and boos in the pregame introductions. Later, when the Grizzlies presented a video tribute during a timeout, the boos were louder.
O.J. Mayo scored 22 and had six assists for Memphis.
Andrew Bynum had 13 points and Lamar Odom finished with 12.
The game was close throughout without either team building a lead of more than eight through the first three quarters. The Lakers had lost their last two games on the road ‚Äî at Miami and Orlando -- by a total of five points.
"We battled for three and a half quarters," Memphis coach Marc Iavaroni. "Unfortunately, 3-quarters isn't enough to beat the Lakers. We didn't play very well down the stretch."
Memphis led 57-49 at the half and couldn't pull away in the third quarter. The two teams got testy as Marc Gasol and Bryant drew technicals. Odom would also draw one for arguing a no-call later in the half.
The two teams exchanged leads late in the third period before Memphis carried an 80-77 lead into the fourth quarter.