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NBA roundup: Kobe Bryant tragedy overshadows day's play

NBA roundup: Kobe Bryant tragedy overshadows day's play
© Reuters
Players and fans paid their respects in various ways after the former Los Angeles Lakers star's death in a helicopter crash.

Tributes to Kobe Bryant were paid across the NBA as eight games were played amid sombre atmospheres on the day of the former Los Angeles Lakers great's death.

Chants of 'Kobe, Kobe' resounded in most stadiums as players honoured the five-time championship winner and dealt with their own grief in various ways.

Bryant died in a helicopter crash alongside his 13-year-old daughter Gianna in California on Sunday morning.

Kyrie Irving opted to stand down from the Brooklyn Nets' match against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden, which like all other venues observed a minute's silence before the match.

The Knicks won 110-107, with Julius Randle leading the way with 22 points and 15 rebounds, while Spencer Dinwiddie made 23 for the Nets.

Pictures of Bryant were displayed on the large screens outside Madison Square Garden, the location of some of his finest moments.

The ceiling of Madison Square Garden is lit in the colours of the Los Angeles Lakers as Kobe Bryant's picture is displayed on a video screen
The ceiling of Madison Square Garden is lit in the colours of the Los Angeles Lakers as Kobe Bryant's picture is displayed on a video screen (Kathy Willens/AP).

The Toronto Raptors and San Antonio Spurs each dribbled out the 24-second shot clock in their match, in honour of Bryant's second jersey number of 24, a gesture repeated in several other matches.

Pascal Siakam scored 35 points to lead Toronto to a narrow 110-106 away victory and a seventh straight win.

DeMar DeRozan and Derrick White had 14 each for the Spurs.

In Memphis, the Grizzlies won the opening tip-off and immediately took a 24-second shot clock violation.

The Phoenix Suns responded with their first possession by staying in the backcourt to incur an eight-second violation, a nod to the fact Bryant started his career wearing eight.

The Grizzlies won 114-109, with Ja Morant scoring 14 of his 23 points in the last quarter to hold off the fast finishing Suns.

In Atlanta, the Hawks produced a rare win with a 152-133 defeat of the Washington Wizards, led by an inspired Trae Young's 45 points and 14 assists.

Young wore a number eight jersey for the first few seconds of the match, put a tribute to Bryant on his shoes, and looked up to the heavens several times to honour Bryant, his mentor and favourite player.

In other games, the Portland Trail Blazers won 139-129 at home to the Indiana Pacers, the New Orleans Pelicans beat the visiting Boston Celtics 123-108, the Los Angeles Clippers won 112-97 at the Orlando Magic and the Denver Nuggets won 117-110 at home to the Houston Rockets.

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RJ Barrett in action for the Knicks on January 12, 2020
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