Notes on Wednesday's games in the National Basketball Association ...

Two For Texas. Are the Lakers back to full form? We'll know tonight after they take on the Mavericks during their two-stop Texas tour (and if not, Kobe Bryant can always change his number again). The first stop was Wednesday, and the Italian-speaking Stallion scored 34 points to pace a 100-96 win over the Spurs. "I had to set the tempo for the ballclub," Bryant said. "If I started griping with the officials right off the bat, it could create a domino effect for everyone else. ... I had to relax, let it go down, sit on the bench, sit on my hands and wait until the second quarter." Bryant had three points in the first quarter, 17 in the second. And there you have it kids, the secret to NBA success somehow involves sitting on your hands. Let's all try it together.

Homecoming Game. Chris Webber's debut in Detroit was met with cheers and a standing ovation, and the former 76er responded by poring in two points in a 100-99 loss to the visiting Jazz. We're not being critical; he last played on Dec. 27, after all. Deron Williams scored a career-high 31 points, had 10 assists and made a 3-pointer with 44 seconds left to lead the Jazz. Webber entered the game with 10:07 left in the first half. The five-time All-Star made his first shot before missing his next four and finished with two points, five rebounds and three assists over 17 minutes.

Phoenix Rising. Even with Tracy McGrady (stiffness in lower back) and Yao Ming out of the Rockets' lineup, the Suns struggled to beat Houston 100-91 on Wednesday for their 11th straight win. Amare Stoudemire had 22 points and 11 rebounds for the winners.


Nelson Expecting Troop Surge. The guy with the label maker is working Toots Sweet over in the Warriors' locker room affixing new names to cubicle stalls, as Golden State obtained four players in a big trade with the Pacers on Wednesday. Al Harrington, Stephen Jackson, Sarunas Jasikevicius and Josh Powell come to Oakland, and the Pacers get Troy Murphy, Mike Dunleavy Jr., Ike Diogu and Keith McLeod, the former two whom coach Don Nelson was ready to strangle anyway. None of the new Warriors have reported yet, and it showed in a 115-109 loss to the Clippers, as Golden State dressed only six regular players (four more are out with injuries).