Bryant Scores 43 as Lakers Top Mavericks
L.A. Lakers 109, Dallas 106
DALLAS, Dec. 12 (Ticker) -- Kobe Bryant carried most of the load and got some help from an unlikely source.
Bryant scored 43 points and Kwame Brown came off the bench to add a season-high 12 to lead the Los Angeles Lakers to a 109-106 triumph over the Dallas Mavericks, who had their six-game winning streak ended.
The Lakers went on a 9-2 run to turn a six-point deficit into a 99-98 lead with 2:42 to go. Bryant made a layup and a 3-pointer and Brown and Luke Walton each hit layups in the spurt. "We're getting much better at being poised and executing our system," Bryant said. "Even though we might be down five points in the fourth quarter, we just stick to what we want to do. Just being patient, trying to get good looks, relying on our defense to make stops."
In his second game after missing three weeks with a hamstring injury, Brown made all six shots and grabbed four rebounds in 27 minutes.
"I'm very happy for Kwame, the way he played tonight in the fourth quarter," Bryant said. "He was posting hard. I'm happy for him."
"Kwame Brown was huge down the stretch," Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki said. "You expect Kobe to make some plays, but not Kwame Brown. I think we did a poor job on him. Kwame Brown can't have five or six layups down the stretch."
After Marquis Daniels and Nowitzki combined to go 4-of-4 from the foul line for Dallas, Brown hit another layup and Bryant beat the shot clock with a desperation 3-pointer near the sideline to give the Lakers a 104-101 advantage with 34 seconds left.
"It was just a broken play," Bryant said. "I was going to pick it up and launch it earlier than that, but the ball kind of got away from me and I had to chase it down, take a look at the clock and saw I had time to get squared up to get a good look. It was a good look for me. If I square my shoulders and get a good look, that's backyard to me."
"We know he's one of the best scorers in the league," Nowitzki said. "Obviously, that shot he made was unbelievable. He was well beyond the 3-point line and that's why he's the man that he is. We expected him to have a big game"
DeSagana Diop sank a foul shot for the Mavericks and Bryant and Walton combined to make 3-of-4 free throws to give Los Angeles a 107-103 lead with 16 seconds remaining. Devin Harris made Dallas' first basket in 5 1/2 minutes by burying a 3-pointer with eight seconds left, pulling the Mavs within 107-106.
After Smush Parker sank two free throws for the Lakers, Jason Terry missed a final shot from the arc. "That's what you're trying to do, go to the 3-point line," Nowitzki said. "I missed a couple of free throws. On one play, I saw Diop under the basket. He got fouled and made his first one. Unfortunately, his missed the second one. We had enough chances to win the game. We didn't lose it on offense. We lost it on defense."
Lamar Odom scored 15 points and grabbed 11 rebounds and Chris Mihm added 10 points for the Lakers, who shot 50 percent (39-of-78) from the floor and committed just eight turnovers. "I told our guys to play smart and stay within the context of what we're trying to accomplish out there," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "We were able to come back from that little (six) point deficit late in the game and get that win. It was a substantial win."
Nowitzki scored 27 points and grabbed 15 rebounds, Daniels added 23 points and Terry finished with 20 for the Mavericks, who had a 47-35 rebounding edge and fell to 7-3 at home.
"We were just battling up hill all night," Mavericks coach Avery Johnson said. "We couldn't get anything going. We started off the game probably the worst we've started in the last 10 games. We were lethargic."