GAMEDAY LINKS: Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Box Score Los Angeles Lakers 22 28 23 23 96
Play by Play Dallas Mavericks 21 23 21 26 91


Bryant struggles and still leads Lakers over Mavs

By STEPHEN HAWKINS

DALLAS (AP) Kobe Bryant overcame a sore ankle to score 16 points, helping the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Dallas Mavericks 96-91 on Saturday night.

Bryant shot just 6 of 20, yet scored six points and assisted on the other basket in a 9-0 run late in the second quarter that snapped a tie and put the Lakers ahead to stay in the matchup of Western Conference powers - and a potential playoff preview.

After Bryant came down awkwardly on his left ankle late in the third quarter and left the game for a bit, the Lakers immediately scored eight consecutive points to stretch the lead to 10.

Phil Jackson got his 600th victory with the Lakers, becoming only the fifth coach in NBA history to reach that mark with one franchise.

The Mavericks (47-19) are only a half-game ahead of Los Angeles (47-20) for second place in the Western Conference. But if the Lakers win the Pacific Division, as expected, they would get the higher seed in the playoffs if the two teams finish the regular season with the same record. They have split their first two games, and play again one more time.

Andrew Bynum led the Lakers with 22 points and 15 rebounds, while Pau Gasol had 18 points and Ron Artest 12.

Dirk Nowitzki and Shawn Marion had 25 points apiece for Dallas while both posting double-doubles. Marion had 12 rebounds and Nowitzki 10 boards.

Dallas was within 91-89 after a miss by Bryant led to a fast-break slam by Marion with 25 seconds left. Gasol was immediately fouled after that and made the second free throw.

But Jason Kidd missed an inside shot with 11 seconds left, and Bynum made two free throws.

Los Angeles was coming off a loss Thursday night in Miami where Bryant made his first four shots, then was 4 for 17 the rest of the way. Bryant returned to the court after the game had ended, taking hundreds of shots over more than an hour and finishing after midnight.

Bryant made only one of his first five shots Saturday before his basket with 4:34 left in the first half that snapped a 37-all tie. Corey Brewer then missed a 3-pointer and fouled Bryant, who made two free throws and then had two steals during a stretch when the Mavs had turnovers on four consecutive possessions.

After making a tough turnaround jumper, Bryant went down the court smiling and holding his arms out wide in disbelief that a foul wasn't called on the play against Rodrigue Beaubois.

Bryant was then whistled for a foul, but stole the ball from Beaubois and had the assist on Artest's 3-pointer that made it 46-37.

Late in the third quarter, Bryant came down awkwardly on his left ankle after having a shot blocked by Marion. While Kidd converted the turnover into a layup that got Dallas within 65-63, Bryant remained on the floor.

When Bryant got up, he limped a few steps and called timeout. He came off the floor and went to the locker room for a few minutes before coming back to the bench and back in the game midway through the fourth quarter.

Steve Blake hit two 3-pointers right after Bryant left and the Lakers pushed the lead back to 73-63.

NOTES: Mavericks G Peja Stojakovic missed his third consecutive game with a stiff neck. ... A crowd of 20,619 made up the largest ever for a Mavericks regular-season game at the American Airlines Center. ... A fan wearing a Nowitzki jersey made a half-court shot to win an 82-inch HD television during a timeout in the third quarter. After a first attempt hit off the back rim, he was given one more chance and swished the shot. ..


Copyright 2011 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



22 Points for Andrew Bynum to lead the Lakers. The 23-year-old center was terrific throughout the contest, also leading all who played with 15 rebounds, his length a serious problem for the Mavs all evening. Bynum also made the game's two biggest free throws, sealing the win with 11 seconds left to make up for missing five initial free throws.

15 Offensive rebounds for the Mavs, though only two came in the fourth quarter when the Lakers were finally able to lock down the defensive glass.

10 Missed free throws for the Lakers, though they were able to make the ones they needed late in the fourth quarter.

6.5 Minutes played by Kobe Bryant to close the game after he sprained his left ankle late in the third quarter. He'd seal the game with a rebound and two free throws, reaching 16 points with five boards and four assists.

5 Assists off the bench for Steve Blake, who also hit three triples, two of which came in an important stretch to close the third quarter after Bryant went down with the ankle sprain.




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Points Bynum 22, 9-12 FG
Rebounds Bynum 15, 3 OFF 12 DEF
Assists Blake 5
Steals Bryant 3
Blocks Gasol, Odom 1


POSTGAME QUOTES

(What allowed you to hold on in the 4th?) – "I thought we played relatively good defense. I wasn't really happy with our offense all the way. We played pretty good defense and we sustained it. And we had some free throws to go down for us after missing a bunch during the early part of the game."

(Anything as a coach you can do when your guys aren't making free throws?) – "We talked to Drew [Bynum] about his form and he was not getting his arm up on the thing and did the right thing in the 2nd half and made the adjustments. So some of it's just mechanics and if talk to guys sometimes it's mechanics. Other times it's just a matter of going in under pressure and making the shot."

(After his big effort tonight has Bynum arrived now?) – "We knew that Drew was going to be effective tonight. They have a big lineup but he has shown before that he's a very effective player against the combination of what they put out there on the floor. So we made a decided effort to go inside. We were able to get the ball in the right way and score. He replaced Pau [Gasol] as really our post scorer tonight."

(Is finishing 2nd place in the West a priority to you?) – "We'd like to. No doubt about it."


Lakers Guard Kobe Bryant
(On his ankle injury) "All jokes aside, I thought I was DONE. I was just praying that when I stood up, that my was foot lined straight. All jokes aside, that really scared me."

(Like done for the season?) "Yes. I thought I dislocated it."

(Did that change the way you played?) "Yeah, I wasn't really sure how it was going to respond, jogging around back here then going back out to the floor and playing was a little different. It felt okay."

(Almost eight players in double figures, is this how the Lakers should play) "No question. We all contribute any given night. This is how we should play, and our bench came in and played extremely well, Steve came in and made some huge plays, and Shannon came in and made some huge plays, and drew was sensational. We look good now."

"It was a big game. One of the things I reminded the team before we went out is that this is a team that could beat us in the postseason. And for whatever reason, whenever we play Dallas, it doesn't have that same energy that we have when we play against Oklahoma City or we play San Antonio. It's important to understand that this team is a serious contender, and that we approach this game like that."







Lakers Forward Andrew Bynum

(On his improved play)
"My focus really isn't offensively, right now I'm just kind of playing off my teammates defensively, I'm just trying to alter shots and rebound. It just kind of keeps you in the flow of the game, when you pursue the ball. It's a way to get more touches on the ball without having to dominate the ball offensively."








Mavs Guard Jason Terry

(On playing the Lakers)
– "We know that we've had success against this team, and they evened it up. We've got one more to go on the season series. We'll see what happens. Again, we definitely have to make the effort. We're disappointed with the outcome."

(On tonight's defensive play) – "Offensively and defensively tonight it was tough. We did a decent job on Kobe. Their bigs were long all night. They were coming over the back getting rebounds - that's their game. Knowing that, we've just got to be ready for it next time."

(On upcoming road trip) – "These are playoff games at this point in time. When you look at our schedule, our next three opponents are tough opponents; it's going to be a playoff-style environment, as it was tonight. All of this is preparation, preparing us for the road ahead. We're disappointed about the outcome, excited about the effort."












LAKERS VS. MAVERICKS GAME PREVIEW

By SANTOSH VENKATARAMAN, STATS Senior Writer

There's plenty on the line Saturday night when the Dallas Mavericks host the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Mavericks can build a bigger lead over the Lakers in the race for the Western Conference's No. 2 seed and clinch the tiebreaker between the teams.

Dallas (47-18) is 1 1/2 games ahead of Los Angeles (46-20) for the second-best record in the West behind San Antonio. The Mavericks won 109-100 in the first meeting at home Jan. 19, and the teams' final matchup after Saturday is at Staples Center on March 31.

"It's the defending champs coming in your building, so it's a big deal," coach Rick Carlisle told the Mavericks' official website. "To try and downplay it wouldn't be being honest. It's an important game."

The Lakers are finishing a difficult four-game trip after their eight-game win streak since the All-Star break ended with Thursday's 94-88 loss at Miami. Los Angeles had beaten the Spurs and Atlanta in the first two games before getting outrebounded 46-37 by the Heat.

"They had 12 offensive rebounds in the first half; we don't do that," guardKobe Bryant said. "That is uncharacteristic of us. I turned the ball over late in the game when it was tied; just stupid stuff like that. Those are easily correctable."

The Mavericks are expecting the Lakers to be angry after their win streak was snapped.

"This week has been full of tough challenges, and it doesn't get any easier now," forward Dirk Nowitzki said. "The Lakers just came off a loss in Miami, so you know they're gonna be ready to play. Yeah, it should be another fun test."

Carlisle challenged his team by calling the Mavs "soft" after recent one-point losses to Memphis and New Orleans. Dallas responded with a dominant effort Thursday with a 47-37 edge on the glass in a 127-109 win over New York.

"A win is a great response, to anything," forward Shawn Marion said. "What more can you ask? No reason to dwell on it. … We all get caught up in the heat of the moment at times. That's what he felt at the time. You've just got to learn from it and do it."

Nowitzki had 23 points, Marion 22 and Jason Terry 21 as Dallas posted season highs for points in a game, quarter (41 in the second) and half (72 in the first).

"We had some tough losses here in the last week," Nowitzki said. "You can't win them all so you have to come back the next day and compete and that's what we did today."

The Lakers have struggled to shoot 42.4 percent in five games this month. They shot 40.0 percent Thursday, and 29 percent in the second half

"We just didn't capitalize on opportunities," center Andrew Bynum said. "We turned the ball over twice at critical times."

Dallas has won two straight over Los Angeles after losing eight of the previous nine meetings. The Mavs made 12 of 26 3-pointers and had three players score at least 21 points in the first meeting on a night when Nowitzki was limited to 14.

Bryant had 21 points and 10 assists and Lamar Odom added 20 points and 10 boards for the Lakers. The Mavs' 55.0 percent shooting is the second-highest allowed by Los Angeles this season.



Copyright 2011 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




Lakers Matt Barnes (right knee surgery) is probable
Devin Ebanks (stress fracture, left tibia) is out.
Derek Fisher
(sprained left elbow) is probable.
Theo Ratliff
(left knee surgery) is out.

Caron Butler (ruptured right patellar tendon) is out.
Dominique Jones
(right foot stress fracture) is out.
Peja Stojakovic
(neck stifness) is out.



01/19 - LAL @ DAL L 100-109
03/12 - LAL @ DAL
03/31 - DAL @ LAL


Dallas brings a 47-18 record into tonight's game and if we want a chance at home court vs. this possible second round opponent we must win tonight. A loss by us tonight gives them the tiebreaker if we end up with the same record at the end of the season. Dallas has won 20 of their last 23 games and those three losses were by one point each. Our only meeting with them so far this season was in January in Dallas. We played a good first quarter in that game but could not extend our lead.

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GAME NOTES

SEASON& SERIES NOTES; CONNECTIONS
The Lakers trail their 3-game season series with the Mavericks 0-1 after splitting last season's series 2-2 and sweeping the '08-09 season series with Dallas 3-0. The Lakers last lost a season series to Dallas in 2006-07 (1-3), their first series loss to the Mavericks since the 1986-87 season and only the third ever (1983-84). This will be the 127th overall meeting between the two franchises. In their first meeting last season (10/30/09), the Lakers lost for just the 11th time at home against the Mavericks, ending a 6-game win streak against Dallas as well as a 4-game home win streak against the Mavs. In their most recent home meeting (1/3/10) at STAPLES Center, the Lakers established a new series record for margin of victory over Dallas, defeating the Mavericks by 35 (131-96), surpassing the old 33-point margin of victory established 12/1/93 (124-91). Overall, the Lakers are 7-3 against the Mavericks in their last 10 games. In Dallas, the Lakers have gone 4-6 in their last 10 games at American Airlines Center and have lost two straight. The Lakers are 17-4 all-time against the Mavericks at STAPLES Center and 7-3 in their last 10 home games overall. Under head coach Phil Jackson, the Lakers are 26-13 against the Mavericks. In their first meeting of the 2008-09 season, Jason Kidd posted his 101st career triple-double and his fourth ever against the Lakers. In December of 2005, Kobe Bryant established a new series record with 62 points against the Mavericks in a 112-90 victory at STAPLES Center. In that contest, Bryant single-handedly outscored the Mavericks 62-61 through three quarters. In 2007-08, Bryant again went over the 50-point mark against the Mavericks, scoring 52 points in the Lakers 108-104 overtime victory March 2 at STAPLES Center. In 48 games (42 starts), Bryant is averaging 24.7 points for his career against Dallas. Mavericks forward Caron Butler played the 2004-05 season with the Lakers, averaging 15.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.44 steals in 35.7 minutes over 77 games. Mavericks center Tyson Chandler played locally at Dominguez High School in Compton, CA where he helped the Dons to three straight CIF Div. II state championships.

JACKSON ONE WIN SHY OF 600 WITH LAKERS
With the Lakers win at Atlanta on March 8th, Phil Jackson earned his 599th career regular season victory in Los Angeles. With one more win, Jackson would become the fifth coach in NBA history to win at least 600 games with one franchise, joining Jerry Sloan (1,127 with Utah), Red Auerbach (795 with Boston), Gregg Popovich (787 with San Antonio) and Red Holzman (613 with New York). Including Jackson, only 22 coaches in NBA history have won 600 career regular season games, let alone with one franchise. Jackson, who established the Lakers franchise record for regular season coaching wins in February of 2010 (534th victory 2/3/10 vs. Charlotte), is the only coach in league history to win better than 70 percent of his games (1,144-480, .704). He currently ranks 5th all-time in regular season victories, 11th in regular season games coached, 1st in playoff games coached (323), 1st in playoff games won (225) and 1st in playoff win percentage (.697). The fastest coach to 1,100 victories, Jackson earned induction in his first year of consideration for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and was enshrined on September 7, 2007.

NO CHARITY FOR BYNUM
In the Lakers March 8th victory at Atlanta, Andrew Bynum posted 16 points, 16 rebounds and three blocked shots but despite that physical performance, did not attempt a free throw. In doing so, Bynum was the first Lakers' player in more than 25 years to register at least 15 points, 15 rebounds and three blocks in a regular-season or playoff game in which he did not go to the charity stripe. The last Laker to post a similar performance without going to the foul line was Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in Game Two of the 1985 NBA Finals at Boston (30 points, 17 rebounds and three blocks in a 109-102 win).*

BRYANT PASSES MOSES MALONE FOR 6th ON NBA'S ALL-TIME SCORING LIST
Just over a week removed from passing Elvin Hayes (27,313) for 7th on the NBA's all-time scoring list 2/27 at Oklahoma City, Kobe Bryant passed Moses Malone (27,409) for 6th on the all-time list with a free throw in the second quarter of the Lakers 3/8 victory at Atlanta. Earlier this season, Bryant moved past Hall-of-Famers Hakeem Olajuwon (26,946) 1/28 vs. Sacramento, Oscar Robertson (26,710) 1/7 vs. New Orleans, Dominique Wilkins (26,668) 1/4 vs. Detroit and John Havlicek (26,395) 12/10 at Chicago on the all-time list. Next on the all-time list ahead of Bryant (27,447) are Shaquille O'Neal (5th/28,590), Wilt Chamberlain (4th/31,419), Michael Jordan (3rd/32,292), Karl Malone (2nd/36,928) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1st/38,387). Among the top six scorers in NBA history, five have worn the Lakers uniform.

Bryant has been steadily moving up the list over the past few years. Earlier this season, with 23 points at Chicago (12/10/10), he passed John Havlicek (26,395) for 11th. Last season, he passed Alex English (25,613), Reggie Miller (25,279), Jerry West (25,192), Patrick Ewing (24,815) and Allen Iverson (24,368). In passing West with a slam dunk at the 4:14 mark of the third quarter February 1, 2010 at Memphis, finishing the game with 44 points (West's retired number), Bryant became the leading scorer in Lakers franchise history. In 2008-09, Bryant passed Gary Payton (21,813) and Hall-of-Famers Charles Barkley (23,757), Robert Parish (23,334), Adrian Dantley (23,177), Elgin Baylor (23,149), Clyde Drexler (22,195) and Larry Bird (21,791).

RARE ONE-SIDED GAME IN SAN ANTONIO
In their victory over the Spurs on March 6th at AT&T Center, the Lakers closed out the first quarter with a 26-5 run to take a 34-13 lead en route to a 99-83 victory against San Antonio. This marked only the second time in the Spurs' 36 seasons in the NBA that they were outscored by more than 20 points in the first quarter of a home game. The first was a 122-117 overtime loss to the Rockets in January 1989. Additionally, the Lakers increased their lead to 28 at the half, the first time in which the Spurs have ever trailed by at least 28 points at the half at home in franchise history. The last time the Spurs were down by 28+ points at the half in any game was January 20, 1990 at Denver (Nuggets 69, Spurs 40).*

The Lakers also outscored the Spurs by 29 points with Tim Duncan on the floor, his worst plus/minus since posting a -29 against the Lakers on November 28, 2003. Duncan finished 1-for-7 from the field for the second time this season, the other coming 12/28 against the Lakers as well. Prior to this season, Duncan had only two home games in his entire career in which he had one field goal or less. (ESPN Stats & Information).

SCORING CONSISTENCY
Kobe Bryant's 24 points in the Lakers victory over the Clippers (2/25) took him over the 1,500-point mark for the 11th consecutive season, marking the longest such streak by an NBA player since Karl Malone reached that milestone in 12 straight seasons (1986-87 to 1997-98).*

BRYANT EARNS RECORD 4TH ALL-STAR GAME MVP
On February 21st, Kobe Bryant was named MVP of the 60th NBA All-Star Game at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, CA. With a game-high 37 points, game-high 14 rebounds, three assists and three steals, Bryant's MVP performance tied him with Bob Pettit (4) for the most NBA All-Star Game MVP awards in league history, surpassing Michael Jordan, Shaquille O'Neal and Oscar Robertson (3). In earning the honor, Bryant became the 7th player in the last 44 years to be named MVP of an All-Star game that was played in his own home arena, joining Jerry West (1972, Great Western Forum), Michael Jordan (1988, Chicago Stadium), Karl Malone & John Stockton (co-MVPs in 1993, Delta Center) and Shaquille O'Neal, who did it twice (2004, STAPLES Center & 2009, US Airways Center). Bryant's 37 points were tied for the 4th most points scored in All-Star Game history with Kevin Garnett (2003), trailing only Wilt Chamberlain (42 points, 1962), Jordan (40 points, 1988) and Rick Barry (38 points, 1967).

Additionally, Bryant's 37-point night and Kevin Durant's 34-point effort marked just the second time that two All-Stars on the same team scored 30-or-more points in the same game. The only other time that happened was in the 1977 game when Julius Erving and Bob McAdoo each scored 30 points for the Eastern Conference. Also, Bryant and Tim Duncan appeared on the same side in an All-Star game for the 12th time on Sunday night, marking the most appearances in an All-Star game as teammates for any two players in NBA history, surpassing Dolph Schayes and Bob Cousy (11 All-Star appearances as teammates).*






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