L.A. Lakers 108, Dallas 103
LOS ANGELES, March 4 (Ticker) -- Kobe Bryant
never had experienced a
five-game losing streak. He made sure it stayed that way.
Bryant scored 40 points as the Los Angeles Lakers snapped a
four-game slide with a 108-103 victory over the Dallas
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The Lakers have not lost five straight games since dropping 10
in a row at the end of the 1993-94 campaign -- three seasons
before Bryant's NBA debut.
"I don't like talking about it," Bryant said when asked about
his last five-game skid. "We were 9-24 in my freshman year in
high school. That was disgusting. I don't like losing two in a
row or three in a row, much less five."
Bryant put an end to the current skid by making 13-of-27 shots
and 14-of-16 free throws to record his seventh 40-point game of
"It doesn't matter where he's at -- he's going to score," Lakers
forward Lamar Odom
said of Bryant. "He's what you call a
dynamic player. He can take anyone to the basket. I think it
was great that he had a good scoring game, but most of all, that
we beat a good team."
The Lakers took control of a seesaw contest midway through the
fourth quarter. After Dallas' Jerry Stackhouse
made a pair of
free throws to forge a 91-91 tie with 5:31 left, Odom and
hit consecutive baskets to put the Lakers up by
four points two minutes later.
made 1-of-2 free throws before Bryant converted a
finger roll in the lane to push the lead to 97-92 with 2:15 to
go. The Mavericks got no closer than three thereafter as Bryant
added eight points down the stretch.
"We came out and executed our offense and I think we did a good
job of attacking those guys," Odom said. "We played good team
defense down the stretch and that is what won us the game."
"We stayed close enough to be in the game," Dallas coach Don Nelson
said. "And if we made some shots at the right time we
could have won the game. Whether we had the lead or not, I
thought the opportunity was there."
With the win, the Lakers (29-28) pulled one-half game ahead of
the Denver Nuggets for the eighth and final playoff spot in the
"I know a lot of people think we aren't going to make the
playoffs," Bryant said. "But we are going to try and move up.
That's our mentality. There's no reason we can't slide up."
Nowitzki had 23 points and 13 rebounds and Stackhouse
contributed 19 points for Dallas, which has dropped two straight
road games -- both in Los Angeles -- after winning six in a row
away from home.
The Mavericks, who dropped a 101-92 decision here to the
Clippers on Wednesday, will close their three-game road trip
Sunday at Houston.
"We played two desperate teams and they were hungrier than we
were," Stackhouse said. "We've just got to find a way to get
our edge back. Two tough losses and we have another tough road
game in Houston. I hope we can salvage something from this road
trip and get a win in Houston."
Stackhouse was forced into the starting lineup in place of
, who was unavailable due to a bruised left thigh.
Dallas guard Marquis Daniels
scored 11 of his 18 points in the
first half and Nowitzki made a pair of free throws with three
seconds on the clock to tie the score, 52-52, at the break.
"We had guys staying with their picks a little longer and it
opened up the lanes for me," Daniels said. "We needed to finish
some of those shots around the basket to win this game. We
missed a lot around the basket, and if we finish those, it is a