LOS ANGELES -- Kobe Bryant had a drive-and-dunk into a wide-open Toronto defense with just less than 11 seconds left to carry the Los Angeles Lakers to a 118-116 overtime win over the Raptors on Friday night at Staples Center.
With Western Conference No. 8 seed Utah losing earlier in the evening, Friday amounted to a must-win for the Lakers.
No one told Toronto.
The Raptors shot 74 percent in the first quarter, including 8-for-9 inside the paint, as they built a 37-25 lead after a 22-10 run. Los Angeles clawed back to take a small third-quarter lead, but Toronto seized control once more and built the lead into double-digits.
Bryant hoisted the Lakers onto his shoulders, however, taking over late to lead Los Angeles above .500 for the first time since November.
Bryant had 30 points in the second half and overtime, draining three 3-pointers down the stretch to keep Los Angeles in contention.
Bryant had 41 points just two days after lighting up New Orleans for 42 in a huge comeback win, hitting 11-of-22 shots, 5-of-10 3-pointers and 14-of-16 from the free-throw line. Bryant also added 12 assists and six rebounds, but had nine turnovers.
Dwight Howard had 24 points and 13 rebounds for Los Angeles and Steve Nash added 22 points. Antawn Jamison had nine points and eight rebounds to lead the Lakers bench, which was outscored by the Raptors, 42-20.
DeMar DeRozan had 28 points, five assists and five rebounds to lead six Raptors in double-figures. Rudy Gay had 17 points -- albeit on 7-for-26 shooting -- and seven rebounds and Alan Anderson added 17 points off the bench for the Raptors, who lost their 10th straight in Los Angeles.
NOTES: Bryant was bothered by an ulnar nerve contusion in his right arm but played through it. Howard (shoulder) and Metta World Peace (sprained right ankle) also played through injuries. Pau Gasol (torn plantar fascia) and Jordan Hill (hip) remain out. ... Toronto won the first matchup this year between the two teams, 108-103, on Jan. 20 at the Air Canada Centre. ... The Lakers entered the game with a nine-game home winning streak over Toronto. ... Los Angeles' 25-point comeback against the New Orleans Hornets on March 6 was the biggest for the Lakers in more than 10 years. ... Nash, who eclipsed Magic Johnson for fourth on the all-time assist list earlier in the season, trails Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson by less than 150 assists and has a chance to pass him by the end of the season. ... The Raptors have just one remaining game against a Western Conference opponent.