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GAMEDAY LINKS: Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Box Score Dallas Mavericks 21 19 21 20 81
Play by Play Los Angeles Lakers 24 31 17 29 101
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Kobe's triple-double pushes Lakers past Mavericks

By GREG BEACHAM


Posted Apr 03 2013 2:24AM

LOS ANGELES (AP) While the Los Angeles Lakers retired Shaquille O'Neal's jersey at halftime, Kobe Bryant stayed in the locker room.

Kobe meant no offense to his longtime teammate and former rival. He's just busy doing everything and playing nearly every minute to keep the Lakers in the playoff race.

Bryant had 23 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists in his 19th career triple-double, and the Lakers beat the Dallas Mavericks 101-81 Tuesday night in a key game for the two teams struggling to get into the Western Conference playoff picture.

With former coach Phil Jackson in attendance for O'Neal's jersey retirement, Bryant put on a virtuoso performance while playing more than 47 minutes. Bryant has rested for just 79 seconds in the past two games, but he's keeping the Lakers afloat during the latest round of injuries and setbacks in their roller-coaster season.

"I wish I could (have seen it), but this is a huge game for us," Bryant said of the ceremony for O'Neal, his teammate on three championship teams. "I had to stay back here and get ready for the second half. We talked when I came in at halftime. We stopped and chopped it up for a couple of minutes."

O'Neal liked what he saw from his courtside seat next to his mother. With the win, Los Angeles moved back into an eighth-place tie in the West with the Utah Jazz (39-36), who hold the tiebreaker edge on the Lakers.

Dwight Howard had 24 points and 12 rebounds while hitting seven fourth-quarter free throws for the Lakers (39-36), who had lost four of six before jumping to a big early lead on Dallas and hanging on to it throughout the second half.

Bryant did much of the heavy lifting, but the rest of the Lakers also played well without injured starters Steve Nash and Metta World Peace. Pau Gasol had 14 points and 10 rebounds while guarding Dirk Nowitzki, and Earl Clark contributed 17 points and 12 rebounds while playing a stellar defensive game off the bench.

"We're desperate, and the players know it," Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni said.

Dallas (36-38) still has a game in hand on the Lakers and Jazz, but the Mavs' task just got tougher. Chris Kaman scored 14 points and Nowitzki had just 11 points on 4-of-13 shooting for the Mavericks, who had won four of five.

After trailing for most of the night, Dallas was down by just seven points when the Mavs began intentionally fouling Howard. Hack-a-Dwight backfired miserably, with Howard going a respectable 7 for 12 while the Lakers made a decisive 16-1 run, holding the Mavericks to just one field goal in the final 4 1/2 minutes.

"It is a hit. It is a game we needed," Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. "I think everyone is frustrated. I mean, Dirk understands what this stage is about. We have some inexperienced guys that haven't been here, so this is a valuable learning experience for them, but it has a price."

Although the Lakers aren't at full strength, at least they can get some rest at home. After a road-heavy March schedule, the Lakers must leave Los Angeles just once more in the regular season during their sprint to the playoffs, making a single overnight trip to Portland while playing six of their last eight on their home court.

The Lakers retired O'Neal's No. 34 jersey at halftime, with Lakers luminaries including Jerry West, Elgin Baylor and Jamaal Wilkes assembling for the ceremony. The Staples Center crowd loved Shaq, but the fans adored former coach Phil Jackson, who attended what was likely his first game since walking away from the team in 2011.

Jackson was serenaded with multiple chants of "We want Phil!" during his brief remarks to the crowd, echoing the same chants that filled Staples Center late last year when the Lakers flirted with bringing back the 11-time NBA champion coach before unexpectedly hiring D'Antoni to replace Mike Brown.

Jackson watched the first three quarters from courtside next to his fiancee, Jeanie Buss, and the Lakers appeared to be putting on their best performance in front of him. Bryant was particularly brilliant, racking up 17 points, nine assists and six rebounds in the first three quarters.

The Lakers made an 18-6 run for a 16-point lead late in the first half, with Bryant playing an all-around game. After banking in a tremendously difficult 16-footer while getting fouled, he spun and appeared to look directly at Jackson, whose smile didn't change.

Los Angeles' 15-point halftime lead dwindled to five before Clark led another rally, and Bryant kept the Lakers ahead in the fourth quarter before Dallas resorted to purposely fouling Howard.

NOTES: Even during his special night, O'Neal didn't let up on his season-long motivational criticism of Howard. "He has the potential to be one of the greatest big men ever, but he has to want it," O'Neal said of Howard, who has reacted coolly to Shaq's prodding on television. ... Nash is hopeful he'll return Friday after a bit more rest for his injured hip, while World Peace won't be back any time soon from surgery on a torn meniscus in his left knee. ... Nowitzki got a technical foul for arguing with 4:04 to play while Dallas trailed by seven points.

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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Points Howard, 24
Rebounds Howard/Clark, 12
Assists Bryant, 11
Steals Bryant, 4
Blocks Clark, 5
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POSTGAME QUOTES



Mike D'Antoni:

On Kobe Bryant’s minutes:
“Well we talked about it. You know the timeouts are so long because of TNT and the 20 minute halftime so he just felt great, and he goes, ‘why, why come out?” He wanted to play the whole game. We have to watch it because we got to play Friday and Sunday so we got to be careful, Sunday at one o’clock. So going forward we’re going to try and get him some more time, get Steve [Nash] back and get him some more time [to rest].”

On what the team did well tonight:
“I just thought our defense the first half was great, everybody, and I can single out Steve Blake, he was terrific on the ball and Jodie [Meeks] was doing a great job out front and then the three guys behind them were super. We just played very well defensively. I didn’t think we had a great game offensively. We missed a lot of easy shots I thought, didn’t get hot, but they were playing so hard defensively we won it that way.

On Earl Clark:
“Well he might have shown a little sign last game. He made a few shots and I think he’s feeling better about it and maybe he got his energy back. I don’t know, you never know, but he played great and if we can keep that right there that’s where he was two months ago and won us a lot of games so it’ll be great if he can continue on.”

On Pau Gasol:
“Well I think he was about four or five assists away from a triple-double. Kobe has one, he almost had one, he’s playing very well. He’s just smart. He did a great job on Dirk [Nowitzki], a really good job. His passing and his ability to be able to find Dwight [Howard] and feed different guys, we go through him a lot. He’s a finesse player and one of the best at it.”




Dwight Howard:

On tonight’s game:
“Our defense was great and our offensive game. We shared the ball. For a moment, we stopped doing what we did to get the lead, we went back to it and got the win”

On Earl Clark:
“He did a great job tonight, I didn’t know he had 5 blocks but I’m happy that he got the opportunity to play and he played big for us. We need that going down the stretch, everybody has to contribute, and it was a good win.”

On Kobe Bryant and the game:
“I told you guys, he has that vino. I’m just happy that we played the right way tonight, especially on the defensive end, that’s a big thing.”

On Shaquille O’Neal’s jersey retirement:
“I’m just happy that he got his number retired. He did a great job for the Lakers and the NBA, and he deserved it.”




Earl Clark:

On tonight’s game:
“This is a must win and I just wanted to come out and give it my all. My team needed me tonight and I just tried to step up. I hit some shots, I started feeling good and everything else falls into play.”

On adjusting to coming off the bench again:
“I’m starting to get used to it again. With playing so many games starting, I kind of fell into a routine so I just adjusted, you know just be patient and not get to down on the games I was having. I just wanted to continue to play hard and I knew things were going to come back around for me.”




Kobe Bryant:

On playing almost whole game:
“I feel sore right now. My back is a little sore and my hamstrings are a little sore. I just have to get ready for next week.”

“I just have to push through it a little bit right now. Hopefully we can get a game and get a little breathing room.”

On Earl Clark’s spark tonight:
“It’s been there. He’s played great for us 85% of the time he’s been in there. He had a little bit of a tough stretch there but we believe that he is a fantastic player and he has nights like this more often than not.”

On Lakers needing to win 7 games left:
“Yeah, that’s the mentality. That’s what we’re going for. We have a tougher schedule but I wouldn’t have it any other way. If you want to get to the playoffs and expect to make some noise you have to beat playoff teams and that includes Memphis and the Clippers and those types of guys.”




Pau Gasol:

On desperation for win tonight:
“It was a good game. We needed to win, it was obvious. We came out the right way. In the second half we came out a little flat after the long break but then we got right back into it and started making plays defensively and offensively. We had a really good win tonight.”

On flow with Dwight Howard down low:
“I try to look for him as much as I can. Sometimes I overdo it because I have an open look and I still try to force the pass. I have to be careful with it. We’re doing a good job with pick and rolls and were getting more to the post. I’m operating more from that position and being effective so things are working out well.”

On desperation for rest of season:
“There’s a sense of urgency. We understand that there are seven games left. Right now we are out of the playoffs and we need to win one more than Utah. We have a tough one coming up against Memphis, that’s what we know. If I’m here to fight for a third spot then that is going to be a tougher game.”




Rick Carlisle:

On the game:
“That is really the game. You allow 19 offensive rebounds and I don’t know what the second change points were, but whatever it was, it was too many. That was a huge problem. And when we got close it became a problem again because we got it to five, they went to the free throw line and made one, missed the second one, then got it back and hit the three. So the rebounding has got to be better. I know that they are big, but our persistence has to make up for all of that size.”

“I think everyone is frustrated. I mean Dirk understands what this stage is about. We have some inexperienced guys that haven’t been here so, this is valuable learning experience for them but, it has a price. We have eight more big games. Tonight has got to be something we learn from because the things we didn’t do well tonight: share the ball early and often, be persistent with our rebounding and defense early, are things we are going to have to turn around come Thursday night in Denver.

On what this loss means for their playoff run:
“It is a hit. It is a game we needed. We have eight more and we are going to have to get ready for the next one and shake this off. Right now, that is where we are at.”

On Dirk Nowitzki’s performance tonight:
“They had long bodies on him. They were physical with him. When we got him touches a lot of times he was forced to pace. Unfortunately, we were unable to hit a lot of the shots where he kicked out. Getting him quality shots is always going to be tougher against better teams and experienced teams. So, I thought he touched it a fair amount and I thought he moved it well, but when he moved it and we had open shots, we weren’t able to knock down nothing. And that is where a lot of this was at.




Dirk Nowitzki:

On losing to the one team they had a chance to catch:
“It was a tough loss. Obviously it was a big game and we need to catch up. We’re a game and a half behind Utah and L.A., so it was a tough one. I just thought overall we didn’t play well enough. They used their length on our scores. I thought they had too many offensive rebounds all game and [Earl] Clark hurt us some when we doubled Dwight [Howard], Pau [Gasol], or Kobe [Bryant], obviously. But, coming into this building I think the only way we beat them is if we shoot well from the floor. I think coming in that’s’ the one thing we have to do is spread the floor and get some good shots and get some good looks and knock them down. I didn’t think we were shooting the ball well enough to steal one here.”

On how the Lakers made it tough on him tonight:
“Well they didn’t leave me on screen and rolls, and they used their length. They stayed down and contested every shot. I didn’t have a lot of easy ones tonight; I had to work for it. The ones I did have, I just have to knock down.”




Vince Carter:

On getting out-rebounded tonight:
“We had our moments where we let them take advantage of us. The second chance points, I think that’s what really hurt us. We got ourselves back in the game when we decided to move the ball, and share the ball. When you play against them you have to share the ball and get them moving. When we did that we got ourselves back in the game, but it just wasn’t enough.”

On Earl Clark’s performance tonight:
“You saw the game. He did everything. He was as big as their stars. He hit shots, offensive rebounds, and second chance points; take your pick. I think he was the key for them more than anything. He did a lot for them tonight that really hurt us.”




Shawn Marion:

On tonight’s loss:
“It was a great game for the most part, and then it got away from us a little bit in the beginning. We were able to get back into it, and then it seemed like we could get back over that hump. They’re size and extra passes killed us. Our reactions were real slow tonight, and we couldn’t get a beat on it. At one point we were ok, and then the next point it seemed like we were right there and then we turn around and we’d be down ten again. It’s frustrating. They wanted it more than us, and it showed.”

On getting out-rebounded tonight:
“If you really want it, then you go make the effort to go get it done. All of the loose balls went to them, and all of the 50-50 balls went to them. It’s frustrating to be right at that .500 mark and then to let this one slip out of our hands.”

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MAVERICKS-LAKERS PREVIEW

By TAYLOR BECHTOLD

Posted Apr 01 2013 3:51PM

Fighting to extend their 12-year postseason streak, the Dallas Mavericks could take a big step toward that goal with a rare second road win over the Los Angeles Lakers.

Trying to further their momentum from a huge come-from-behind victory, the Mavericks open a crucial four-game road trip Tuesday night when they visit the injury-ravaged Lakers.

Dirk Nowitzki supplied the latest heroics for the Mavericks on Saturday when he sank the go-ahead 3-pointer with 2.9 seconds left in a 100-98 come-from-behind victory over visiting Chicago, capping a 15-1 run over the final 3:33.

"This game was kind of like the story of our season," said Nowitzki, who finished with a season-high 35 points. "Every time someone writes us off, we find a way to come back."

The Mavericks (36-37) appear to be peaking at the right time, winning 10 of 14 to get back into the playoff picture. Now they have a chance to get their record to .500 and pull closer to both Utah and the Lakers (38-36) for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West.

Dallas beat the Lakers 99-91 at the Staples Center in the season opener, but the only time in franchise history it recorded two wins in Los Angeles came in the 1983-84 season.

But the Mavericks, who have lost 55 of 67 all-time regular-season meetings in Los Angeles, could be catching the Lakers at the right time.

Los Angeles has dropped four of six and can't afford to fall very far behind the Jazz with just eight games remaining.

The Lakers, however, play six of their final eight at the Staples Center - where they've won 11 of 13.

Kobe Bryant continues to be bothered by a nagging left foot injury, but still finished with 19 points, tied a season high with 14 assists and added nine rebounds in a 103-98 win at Sacramento on Saturday.

"My foot's (messed) up, but other than that, I feel great," said Bryant, who has shot 11 for 35 in his last two games.

Steve Nash exited the contest early in the first quarter with a recurring right hamstring injury and will be a game-time decision against the Mavericks. Metta World Peace, meanwhile, will miss the rest of the regular season after undergoing knee surgery.

Los Angeles will try to play through the injuries and take three of four from the Mavericks in the season series after winning twice in Dallas. Bryant had 38 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists in a 103-99 victory on Feb. 24.

Dwight Howard is playing well heading into this meeting, averaging 21.3 points on 71.4 percent shooting and 15.3 rebounds in his last three games. Pau Gasol has scored 10.4 points per game since returning from a right foot injury, but he's averaged 21.4 points and 10.0 rebounds in his last five against the Mavericks.

Nowitzki has averaged 29.7 points on 62.1 percent shooting (36 for 58) in his last three games. He missed the first two meetings this season while recovering from preseason knee surgery, but had team highs of 30 points and 13 rebounds in the February home loss.

O.J. Mayo has missed 19 of 23 shots over his last two as he plays through a sprained left shoulder.

The Mavericks have averaged just 91.3 points on 41.4 percent shooting in losing eight of their last nine regular-season meetings to the Lakers.


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    
  #24 Bryant SF #0 Marion  
  #16 GasolPF #41 Nowitzki  
  #12 Howard C #42 Brand  
  #20 Meeks SG #32 Mayo  
  #5 Blake PG #13 James  


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Lakers Kobe Bryant
(bone spur, left foot) is probable.
Pau Gasol
(strained plantar fascia, right foot) is probable.
Jordan Hill
(torn labrum, left hip/herniated disc) is out.
Dwight Howard
(torn labrum, right shoulder) is probable.
Antawn Jamison
(sprained right wrist) is probable.
Steve Nash
(strained right hamstring) is doubtful.
Metta World Peace
(lateral meniscus tear, left knee) is out.
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Mavericks Rodrigue Beaubois
(left second metacarpal fracture) is out.
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10/30 - DAL 99 @ LAL 91
11/24 - LAL 115 @ DAL 89
02/24 - LAL 103 @ DAL 99
04/02 - DAL @ LAL
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