Kobe Bryant prevailed in a marquee matchup and veteran reserve Robert Horry earned top billing for the Los Angeles Lakers.
Bryant topped Toronto's Vince Carter in a battle of two of the league's top scorers, but it was the contribution of Horry that sealed a valuable victory for the Lakers on Sunday.
Bryant outscored Carter 40-31, and Horry scored all six of his points in overtime as the Lakers beat the Raptors 104-101 for their third victory in seven games.
Bryant discounted the hype swirling around the showdown with Carter.
"I wasn't concerned about that," Bryant said. "People like individual matchups, but when all is said and done and our careers are over with, people are going to judge us by how many championships we win, so I want to win."
The Lakers trail Pacific Division-leading Sacramento by a game and are a half-game behind second-place Portland.
Carter, who missed 22 of his 32 shots from the field, guarded Bryant through most of Sunday's game and enjoyed the challenge.
"I love playing great players," Carter said. "I just tried to approach it as a normal game. Sometimes you can get overexcited, and not play your best basketball and you go out there looking crazy."
Horry capitalized on Toronto's predictable approach of guarding the Lakers' most dangerous scoring threats and accounted for six of the Lakers' 13 overtime points.
"They were worried about the big guns in Shaq and Kobe, so it was an opportunity for me to sneak in," Horry said.
"That's what Horry does," Toronto's Mark Jackson said. "He sneaks up and bites you. He's been doing it a long time.
"We had an opportunity to win this game. They made plays and that's why they are the world champions."
The victory did not mask Los Angeles' continuing difficulty to hold a lead as Toronto rallied from a 15-point deficit in the last five minutes of regulation.
"We should have won that game by double digits. We messed around in the fourth quarter like we always do," said Shaquille O'Neal, who scored 28 points. "We were lackadaisical. We got cute. We started shooting jumpers and missing shots, but in overtime we did what we had to do."
Kings 95, Nets 79
Chris Webber had 33 points and 12 rebounds as visiting Sacramento won for the ninth time in 12 games and continued its best start.
Doug Christie added 18 points and Vlade Divac 12 for the Kings.
Stephon Marbury, limited to six points in the first half, finished with 17 points for the Nets, who had their two-game winning streak snapped.
Knicks 100, Bucks 97, OT
Glen Rice had a season-high 32 points and 14 rebounds and host New York overcame a 10-point deficit in the final 2 1/2 minutes of the fourth quarter to beat Milwaukee for the seventh straight time.
Allan Houston finished with 29 points on 11-for-16 shooting. Marcus Camby added 11 points and 13 rebounds for the Knicks.
Glenn Robinson led Milwaukee with 23 points and 11 rebounds. Ray Allen had 18 and Tim Thomas added 17.
Mavericks 99, Pistons 90
Dirk Nowitzki scored 25 points and Christian Laettner had 16 against his old team as Dallas handed Detroit its second straight home loss.
Jerry Stackhouse scored 24 points, Joe Smith added 20 points and a season-best 13 rebounds for Detroit, which has dropped four of its last five games.
Magic 101 Grizzlies 91
Tracy McGrady scored 15 of his 27 points in the third quarter and had eight rebounds and eight assists as Orlando dealt Vancouver its sixth straight loss and fourth in a row at home.
Wizards 103, Clippers 94
Juwan Howard scored a season-high 31 points and Richard Hamilton tied a career high with 30 in a reserve role as Washington snapped a nine-game losing streak in Los Angeles.
Washington's losing streak, which included four games decided by six points or less and two by 20 or more, was its longest since a 13-game skid during the 1994-95 season.
Rod Strickland had 12 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds for the Wizards, who committed a season-low eight turnovers.
Lamar Odom had 20 points for the Clippers, who have lost nine of 12 to the Wizards.
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