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Kobe Bryant Returns to Basketball Court - 2003-11-02

Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant has returned to the basketball court, playing in his first game of the National Basketball League season since being charged with the sexual assault of a woman in July.

Bryant scored 15 points in 37 minutes - including three key free-throws in the game's final 66 seconds - to help the visiting Lakers beat the Phoenix Suns 103-99. The sell-out crowd in Phoenix gave the Lakers' guard a mixed reception of boos and cheers.

Meanwhile, Indiana's Anthony Johnson hit a three-point shot with 23 seconds left in overtime to give the Pacers a 103-99 win over the Atlanta Hawks. Ron Artest led Indiana with 22 points.

Baron Davis of New Orleans hit six three-pointers and scored 37 points in the Hornets' 97-90 win over the Boston Celtics. The victory in New Orleans gave the Hornets their first 3-0 start in franchise history.

New Jersey star Jason Kidd scored 30 points and made nine assists, as the Nets enjoyed a 98-85 win over the Washington Wizards and former assistant coach Eddie Johnson.

Cleveland star rookie LeBron James suffered his worst performance of his professional career, making just three of 12 shots and scoring only eight points, as his Cavaliers were trounced 104-85 by host Portland Trail Blazers. The Cavaliers are winless so far this season with three losses.

In other NBA action Saturday, The Minnesota Timberwolves held Toronto to a franchise-low point total in a 73-56 rout of the Raptors. The Detroit Pistons defeated the Orlando Magic 96-85 in a rematch of last season's first round playoff series. The defending champion San Antonio Spurs knocked off the New York Knicks 86-74. The Dallas Mavericks came alive in the third quarter on their way to a 127-102 win over the Utah Jazz.

The Milwaukee Bucks won their home debut for new head coach Terry Porter, beating the Chicago Bulls 98-68. Lorenzen Wright of Memphis scored 10 points in the fourth quarter to lift the Grizzlies 79-71 over the Houston Rockets. The Denver Nuggets pulled off a 109-88 win over the Sacramento Kings, led by rookie star Carmelo Anthony who had 23 points. Golden State's Mike Dunleavy scored a career-high 32 points in the Warriors' 104-90 thumping of the Philadelphia 76ers.