Notebook: Lakers 101, Mavericks 81



Posted Apr 3, 2013 2:32 AM

Dan Arritt, for NBA.com

THE FACTS: On a night when the Lakers honored Shaquille O'Neal by bringing in several other greats from the Lakers past, it was Kobe Bryant who once again stole the show Tuesday night. Bryant put up 23 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists for the 19th triple-double of his career. More importantly, the Lakers beat the visiting Mavericks 101-81 to keep them even with the Jazz for eighth place in the West and drop Dallas 2 1/2 games back of the final playoff spot.

THE STAT: In addition to Bryant's triple-double, three other Lakers produced double-doubles. Dwight Howard finished with 24 points and 12 rebounds, Earl Clark had 17 points and 12 rebounds off the bench and Pau Gasol contributed 14 points and 10 boards. All together, the Lakers out-rebounded the Mavericks 67-43.

QUOTABLE: "They were playing so hard defensively, we won it that way."

-- Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni

TURNING POINT: On a night when so much hoopla surrounded the retirement of O'Neal's No. 34 jersey, it was one of the most unsung players on the Lakers who came up with the biggest possession. After the Mavericks cut the deficit to five on a 3-pointer by O.J. Mayo with 3:04 left in the third quarter, Clark grabbed Bryant's missed 3-pointer and laid it in as he was fouled. He missed the free throw but Gasol got the loose ball and passed it to Clark, who drained a 3-pointer for a five-point possession and a 68-58 lead with 2:34 left in the third. Dallas never got closer than seven the rest of the way.

HOT: Bryant seems to move past an NBA legend on one list or another every game. Against the Mavericks, Bryant made eight field goals to tie Elvin Hayes for sixth on the all-time list at 10,976. He has already passed John Havlicek (10,513), Alex English (10,659) and Hakeem Olajuwon (10,749) on the same list this season.

NOT: Dallas forward Dirk Nowitzki was coming off the best month of the season, if not his career. Nowitzki averaged 20 points in March, shooting 54.8 percent from the floor, 46.8 from 3-point range and 94.1 from the line. He had not shot better than 50 percent from the field for a full month since March 2011, when Dallas went on to win the NBA title. But this is a new month and Nowitzki got off to a rocky start, shooting 4-for-13 from the floor, 1-for-3 from beyond the arc and, probably most surprising, 2-for-6 from the free throw line.

QUOTABLE II: "Dirk understands what this stage is about. We have some inexperienced guys who haven't been here, so this is a valuable learning experience for them, but it has a price."

-- Dallas coach Rick Carlisle

GOOD MOVE: Clark deserves much of the credit for Nowitzki's off night. Even though Clark didn't start, he checked in midway through the opening quarter and immediately bodied up on Nowitzki. Before the night was through, Clark had blocked a career-high five shots, with No. 5 coming against Nowitzki with 22 seconds left in the third quarter.

QUOTABLE III: "That's where he was two months ago and won us a lot of games, so it'll be great if he can continue."

-- D'Antoni on Clark

BAD MOVE: The Mavericks are on the verge of getting eliminated from the postseason for just the fourth time in Nowitzki's 15-year stay in Dallas, so they pulled out all the stops down the stretch, including intentionally fouling Howard beginning with about four minutes left. He missed four of his first six attempts but then collected himself and made five straight, throwing that strategy out the window.

NOTABLE: Among those in attendance for O'Neal's jersey retirement was former Lakers coach Phil Jackson, who watched the game two rows back of the floor with his fiancé and part Lakers owner Jeanie Buss. ... Bryant has sat out a total of 79 seconds in the last two games. ... The Lakers matched their season high with 19 offensive rebounds.

UP NEXT: For the Lakers, Friday vs. Memphis, Sunday @ L.A. Clippers, Tuesday vs. New Orleans. For the Mavericks, Thursday @ Denver, Friday @ Sacramento, Sunday @ Portland.