Basketball: Bryant steals the show again in Lakers' win over the Pelicans

 Los Angeles Lakers forward Kobe Bryant gestures after scoring against the New Orleans Pelicans on Feb 4, 2016.
Los Angeles Lakers forward Kobe Bryant gestures after scoring against the New Orleans Pelicans on Feb 4, 2016.PHOTO: USA TODAY SPORTS

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - With a lead slipping away again, Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant showed his younger team-mates how to put away a National Basketball Association game.

Bryant, 37 and heading into retirement after this season, drained three three-pointers in the final six minutes and seven seconds, scoring 27 points and grabbing 12 rebounds to lead the Lakers to a 99-96 victory over the Pelicans in New Orleans.

Although the shots sounded the death-knell for the Pelicans, they were greeted by cheers from fans, who like their counterparts around the country have greeted Bryant like one of their own during a season that has turned into a farewell tour.

Bryant, who scored a season-high 38 in a win at Minnesota on Tuesday, has lately given those adoring fans a glimpse of past glories.

"He's on a nice little roll," said Lakers coach Byron Scott. "Our young guys are still so young they don't understand when you've got a double-digit lead you can't relax. Not in this league."

The Lakers led 85-73 with 8min and 32sec to play, but the Pelicans scored six straight points to trim the deficit.

Bryant's three-pointer with 5min and 40sec to play rebuilt the Lakers' lead to 88-79 and they were up 95-86 with 2min and 50sec remaining - helped by Pelicans forward Anthony Davis' miss of a wide-open dunk.

New Orleans had pulled within 95-92 when Bryant nailed a three-pointer with just under a minute left to make it 98-92.

Once more the Pelicans cut the deficit to two points, but Bryant made a last free-throw to complete the scoring.

"Obviously, Kobe's leading by example - how to step on people's necks when you have a chance to," Scott said.