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GAMEDAY LINKS: Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Box Score Los Angeles Lakers 27 27 25 24 103
Play by Play Dallas Mavericks 30 24 21 24 99
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Lakers vs. Mavericks
Kobe's Big Day
Bryant Block
Lakers vs. Mavericks: First Half
Kobe Crossover

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Bryant outscores Nowitzki as Lakers top Mavs

By SCHUYLER DIXON


Posted Feb 24 2013 3:44PM

DALLAS (AP) Kobe Bryant had 38 points to win a scoring duel with Dirk Nowitzki, and the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Dallas Mavericks 103-99 Sunday in a matchup of teams fighting to get in the playoff race.

With chants of MVP from a strong contingent of Lakers fans, Bryant scored 14 in the fourth, including seven in the final 3 minutes to hold off a spirited Dallas effort.

Nowitzki finished with 30 points and 13 rebounds for the Mavericks, who had a chance to pull virtually even with the Lakers for ninth place in the Western Conference. Houston is in eighth, with a cushion of several games.

Bryant, who also had 12 rebounds and seven assists, was playing in Mark Cuban's building two days after the outspoken Dallas owner suggested in a radio interview that the Lakers might have to consider dumping the five-time NBA champion through the amnesty clause.

Steve Nash had 13 of his 20 in the second half against his former team in a game that neither team led by more than six.

The Lakers went up 94-90 with three free throws after O.J. Mayo was called for a foul and a technical on a drive by Bryant. It was Mayo's fifth foul, and he jumped around wildly after the call. Nash made the technical free throw before Bryant's pair.

Nowitzki was called for a technical earlier in the quarter after a similar display when he missed a shot during a physical sequence with Metta World Peace.

Bryant scored again from just inside the arc for a 94-92 lead, and Nash answered Mayo's first 3-pointer of the game with his third from long range in the second half for a 99-95 lead.

Bryant did it again in the final minute after Nowitzki missed a free throw on a potential three-point play, hitting a jumper for a 101-97 lead. Nowitzki scored to make it a two-point game, and World Peace missed a free throw to give Dallas a chance to tie. Mayo missed a 3-pointer with about 5 seconds left.

Dwight Howard had three big free throws in the fourth and finished with nine points and 13 rebounds.

Bryant had already put on a display of shooting, driving and shot-blocking when he took over early in the fourth, but Nowitzki and the Mavericks kept answering.

Bryant scored on three straight possessions with Jae Crowder guarding him and had the ball again the fourth time down when Nowitzki ran over to help. Bryant's pass was intercepted by Vince Carter, and Mike James fed Nowitzki for a dunk and a 90-87 Dallas lead.

Nowitzki and Bryant each scored 16 in the first half, which ended in a 54-all tie, and kept it up in third quarter, finishing that period with 24 apiece.

The Lakers had the biggest lead at six - several times - and the Mavericks erased each one through three quarters.

Nowitzki's 3-pointer from the top of the key late in the third made him 4 of 4 from long range and capped a 7-0 run for a 71-70 Dallas lead, but Bryant scored twice on drives after a timeout to put the Lakers in front again.

In the first half, Nowitzki was 5 of 8 from the floor, made both 3-pointers and all four free throws and led everyone with eight rebounds. Bryant, meanwhile, was 3 of 4 from long range, including a pair from well behind the arc, but just 1 of 6 inside the line. He had a game-high six assists before halftime.

NOTES: Bryant got a technical in the first quarter when he gestured at referee Ken Mauer after Darren Collison stole ball. It was his league-leading 13th technical - one ahead of DeMarcus Cousins of Sacramento. A one-game suspension is in order when a player reaches 16 technicals. ... Mavericks C Chris Kaman entered the game in the second quarter after missing 10 straight games with a concussion. ... The Mavericks scored at least 30 points in the first quarter for the fifth time in six games.

Copyright 2013 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited



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View More Photos
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Points Bryant, 38
Rebounds Howard and Nowitzki (DAL), 13
Assists Bryant, 7
Steals Collison/Nowitzki (DAL), 3
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POSTGAME QUOTES



Mike D'Antoni:

“I thought we put ourselves in trouble a little bit because of not getting back on defense, and rebounds. Then we had to make some big plays. Kobe made some unbelievable big plays coming down the stretch. Just different big plays we hit. They kind of responded play to play, but at the end we made more. They played well and I thought it was a great game.”

On Kobe:
“All he needs is the ball. Just throw it over to him and that’s how he likes to operate. We just need to make sure the spacing right so he can have some outlets if he does get stuck.”

Do you like what your team gave you on the defensive end?
“Yes, that’s how you win a game anyways. On the other end we’ll find a way to score when we have guys like Kobe, Dwight, and all those other guys we’ll find a way to score. Defensively we made some big plays. “

“Every game is critical on the road. We just have to keep it going. We’re playing better and we just have to keep on going.”

What did you like in the second half that this team did to get that win?
“Our defense is a little grittier. I think our bench is playing great for us. Jodi Meeks, Jamison, and Steve Blake come in and lengthen the lead a couple of times. They give a lot blows to Kobe and Steve Nash that allows us to keep them out a little longer. Our bench is crucial to what we’ve been doing that last couple of games.”




Kobe Bryant:

On the execution down the stretch:
“Well, I mean they knew I was going and they tried to sag in and crowd me a little bit, I saw [Steve] Nash out of the corner of my eye fading for a three and I just hit him.”

On having to carry the team the last few games:
“It’s just what I’m supposed to do. It’s about that time, I’m kind of going through a process of facilitating and things like that but now it’s time to put the whole thing together.”




Steve Nash:

On what the team needs to focus on to make the playoffs:
“We just have to be solid and continue to open up the offense and get movement. We have to allow our guys to get on track.”

On his mindset being on the floor late in games with Kobe Bryant:
“I’m always looking for the ball late in games and I try to step up and make shots for my team and have confidence. I think [Kobe Bryant] believes in me and he found me for an open shot, I got my feet set and knocked it down.”




Rick Carlisle:

On guarding Kobe:
“It’s difficult, it’s obviously difficult. He hit some very difficult shots. We ran at him a few times… one time we ran at him and (Steve) Nash hit a three. It’s tough when he has it going like that, but I think when we look at it on film, we had a lot of missed opportunities offensively.”

On last possession:
“We were trying to get a good quick two if we could and if the three presented itself, we wanted to step into it. I don’t even know if he (O.J. Mayo) got behind the line. There were too many other things that we hadn’t done well to put us in that position leading up to that point through three quarters.”

On Dirk Nowitzki:
“I mean, look at him the last seven games…he’s playing great at that high standard level. Today, I didn’t want to play him 38-and-a-half minutes, but with national TV and long timeouts, he looked like he was fresher and I think that’s also a good sign.”

On Chris Kaman:
“Kaman did well and I’m very pleased with how he did in the game. Earlier in the year when he missed some games in the preseason, he came back and did well too. He has been working hard…he’s a good player and him being healthy is certainly a plus.”




Shawn Marion:

What do you do when Kobe has it going like that offensively?
“There’s a few things you can do, a couple things you can do, you can double or you can just send him to another defender on your team just to make it easier or vice versa. He hit some tough shots and that’s what it boils down to. And don’t have anything else to say. It was a close game, we were right there and a couple calls here or there, a couple baskets here or miss there and we would have won the game. They (Lakers) came up with some big stops in the end when they needed them and hit some big shots.”

Seemed like a playoff game out there:
“It was a good game, it was exciting and it went down to the wire. What more can you asks of both teams and that’s what you’re looking for right now.”

How much was this an opportunity lost since both the Mavs and Lakers are both chasing down the last playoff spot?
“Yeah you can look at it that way, but we still have a ways to go and we’re right there. We’ve got to take the positive stuff from it and just try to get better and learn from it.”

Were you surprised that you weren’t guarding Kobe more?
“Oh no, not at all and it just depends on what lineup is out there. I got a couple minutes on him, but it didn’t matter. We have a variety of guys to throw at him and once he gets it going and gets that grove going its kind of hard to turn that fire off.”




Elton Brand:

“That was a big 2 game swing against us with the loss today and we needed this one with so much at stake.”

What did you guys need to do differently defensively on Kobe today?
“Maybe just trap a little more and get it out of his hands because he caught fire for four or five straight shots, tough shots thought, in the 4th. They were on him. Marion was on him, but he just hit some tough shots which he’s done his entire career.”

Do you guys feel like you played Dwight Howard pretty well?
“Yeah he was 2 of 7.”

How do you guys regroup now?
“We’ve got to regroup and we’ve got to keep fighting. We still have time so it was just a disheartening loss. Another close, tough loss and we feel we let one slip away again.”

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LAKERS-MAVERICKS PREVIEW

By ALAN FERGUSON

Posted Feb 23 2013 5:47PM

Kobe Bryant is pushing Los Angeles to strive for a lofty goal, but the Lakers also have a more modest one of getting to the .500 mark.

They can move a step closer Sunday by continuing their recent success over the surging Dallas Mavericks, whose owner Mark

Cuban might have added a little spice to the rivalry. While giving a eulogy for late owner Jerry Buss on Thursday, Bryant challenged his teammates to honor his memory by continuing to improve, saying the Lakers were "playing for something bigger than ourselves, bigger than a single season."

Los Angeles (27-29) is below .500 this late in the season for the first time since 1993-94, one of five times the franchise didn't reach the playoffs since its founding in Minneapolis in 1948-49. The Lakers are just outside of position for another postseason berth in the Western Conference but have helped their chances by winning 10 of 14.

Bryant, who recently guaranteed that his team would make the playoffs, scored 11 of his 40 points in the final 5 1/2 minutes Friday to help the Lakers pull away in a 111-107 victory over visiting Portland.

"Kobe said what he had to say. But as a team, we understand how important the second half of the season is for us and what we want to accomplish," said center Dwight Howard, who had 19 points and 16 rebounds. "We've had a lot of ups and downs this year, and we want to do whatever we can to get this right.

"Kobe and myself understand that. It starts with me and him, as far as being on the same page. And on defense, it starts with me."

The Lakers will try to keep rolling by earning their eighth win in the last nine regular-season matchups with the Mavericks (25-29). Los Angeles cruised to its fourth straight win in Dallas on Nov. 24, as Antawn Jamison had 19 points and a season-high 15 rebounds in a 115-89 rout.

Dallas, one spot behind Los Angeles in the West, defeated New Orleans 104-100 on Friday for its fifth win in six games. Vince Carter made a go-ahead 3-pointer with 6.5 seconds left and finished with 22 points while Dirk Nowitzki had a team-best 25, one shy of matching his best performance since returning from knee surgery.

"We're playing for a lot of marbles, of course, just trying to get ourselves back into the (playoff) race," Carter said. "It was a must-win game just like every game we're going to play from here on out. We're trying to approach every game with a playoff mentality."

Having a playoff mentality might not be difficult with the Lakers visiting, and Cuban could have helped stoke the intensity by suggesting recently on a Dallas radio show that Los Angeles should use the amnesty clause on Bryant's contract, which has one year and $30.5 million remaining.

"We're aware of Mark Cuban's comments and fell they are inappropriate," team spokesman John Black said in a statement.

Having Nowitzki available might help the Mavericks beat the Lakers for only the second time since sweeping them out of the 2011 playoffs en route to their only NBA title. He's averaging 24.9 points in his last 10 games against Los Angeles, including the postseason.

Bryant is shooting 65.1 percent (28 of 43) in his last three games against the Mavericks, and Pau Gasol is averaging 21.3 points while shooting 68.3 percent (28 of 41) in his past three visits to Dallas.

Howard had his streak of eight consecutive double-doubles against the Mavericks snapped in November and will next try to prevent Dallas from matching its season-high four-game win streak from Jan. 10-16.


Copyright 2012 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
Probable Starters .
  Lakers    
  #15 World Peace SF #0 Marion  
  #6 ClarkPF #41 Nowitzki  
  #12 Howard C #5 James  
  #24 Bryant SG #32 Mayo  
  #1 Morris PG #4 Collison  


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Lakers Pau Gasol
(strained plantar fascia, right foot) is out
Jordan Hill
(torn labrum, left hip/herniated disc) is out.
Dwight Howard
(torn labrum, right shoulder) is probable.
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Mavericks Chris Kaman
(concussion) is day-to-day.
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10/30 - DAL 99 @ LAL 91
11/24 - LAL 115 @ DAL 89
02/24 - LAL @ DAL
04/02 - DAL @ LAL
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