Dallas Mavericks' Lamar Odom, left, interacts with Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant, right, as they come back to the court after a time out in the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles on Monday, Jan. 16, 2012. (AP Photo/Danny Moloshok
If the Lakers' Kobe Bryant (right) covered the Mavs' Delonte West any closer, they'd be in the same uniform. Kobe & Co. prevailed 73-70 in LA on Monday night, with Derek Fisher nailing a trey with 3.1 seconds left before Dallas' Vince Carter missed a potential game-tyer at the buzzer. The game marked the first Lakers-Mavs matchup since Dallas' 36-point win in last year's Western second-round clincher.
Kobe Bryant dunks for two points against the Mavs in LA on Monday night. The Lakers won 73-70 — but Kobe's streak of four straight games with at least 40 points ended, as he netted a mere (by his standards) 14.
The other intriguing storyline Monday night was the return to LA of former Laker Lamar Odom (right) for the first time since his trade to Dallas. Odom got a standing ovation from the Staples Center crowd before the Lakers went out and won, 73-70.
After missing a potential game-tying 3-point shot at the buzzer, Dallas guard Vince Carter's night got even worse — he was injured on that last play, and had to be helped off the court at Staples Center following the Mavs' 73-70 loss to the Lakers. It appeared to be his knee, but there was no immediate word on the nature or severity of his injury.
Dallas' Dirk Nowitzki sticks out his tongue as he drives to the hoop against LA's Andrew Bynum on Monday night — but in the end, the visiting Mavs couldn't lick the Lakers, who won, 73-70.
On the rise
Mavs star Dirk Nowitzki elevates against Pau Gasol and the Lakers in LA on Monday night.
Celtics center Jermaine O'Neal grabs the jersey of the Thunder's Kendrick Perkins on Monday during some intense play in Boston. The Celts could not grab a victory, however, losing 97-88.
Looking for help
Boston's Kevin Garnett looks to pass around Oklahoma City's Kendrick Perkins on Monday at TD Garden. Garnett was held to a modest 12 points as OKC prevailed, 97-88.
Kings guard Jone Salmons goes up for a shot against the Timberwolves at Target Center in Minneapolis on Monday. The T-wolves came out on top, 99-86.
Feelin' the Love
Minnesota's Kevin Love shoots over Sacramento's Francisco Garcia in Minneapolis on Monday during his game-high 33-point effort in the Timberwolves' 99-86 victory.
In full flight
Kevin Durant soars through the air in Boston on Monday before delivering a Thunder-ous slam dunk in Oklahoma City's 97-88 victory over the Celtics.
The Clippers' Blake Griffin (left) and the Nets' Deron Williams — both named earlier Monday to the preliminary US Olympic team — don't look much like allies here as they tangle for a loose ball during LA's 101-91 home victory.
Raptors forward Gary Forbes pulls up for a shot over the Hawks' Vladimir Radmanovic on Monday in Atlanta. The Hawks won, 93-84.
Ryan Gomes of the Clippers drives against Jordan Farmar of the Nets at Staples Center on Monday during LA's 101-91 victory.
The right stuff
Hawks forward Marvin Williams slams home two points in Atlanta on Monday during his team's 93-84 win over the Toronto Raptors.
What the ...?
Toronto Raptors coach Dwane Casey shows his displeasure at a call Monday during his team's 93-84 loss in Atlanta.
Clippers star Blake Griffin shows frustration Monday after losing the ball on his way to the hoop against New Jersey. Griffin didn't have much to gripe about in the end, however, as he scored a game-high 23 points in the Clips' 101-91 victory over the wretched Nets.
Putting the 'power' in power forward
Trail Blazers power forward LaMarcus Aldridge is determined to get to the hoop — and he's not going to let the Hornets' Gustavo Ayon stop him. The Hornets couldn't stop the Blazers generally on Monday, as Portland prevailed, 84-77, in New Orleans.
Portland's LaMarcus Aldridge rejects a shot by New Orleans' Al-Farouq Aminu on Monday during the Trail Blazers' 84-77 road victory.
Around the way
Rockets point guard Goran Dragic (No. 3) works a pass around Wizards forward Andray Blatche on Monday in Washington, DC. The Rockets used a big third quarter to take down the Wizards, 114-106, dropping Washington to an NBA-worst 1-12.
Thinking of suiting up?
Charlotte Bobcats owner Michael Jordan (right) sits with his fiancee Yvette Prieto to watch yet another loss, this time on Monday as MJ's Bobcats dropped to 3-11 in a 102-94 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Bobcats guard Gerald Henderson (No. 15) slices through Cleveland's Kyrie Irving (No. 2) and Omri Casspi (No. 36) on Monday. Henderson scored 17 points in Charlotte's 102-94 loss to Cleveland.
Ouchie! That's hurts
Cavaliers forward Antawn Jamison (left) is fouled by Bobcats forward D.J. White. Jamison got the better of the two, scoring 20 points with 7 rebounds to White's 15 and 5.
Great day to dance
The Sixers Dancers perform during Monday's game between the Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
76ers point guard Jrue Holiday (No. 11) rises to dunk as Bucks center Andrew Bout trails the play. Holiday's game-high 24 points led the Sixers to a 94-82 win over the Bucks, giving the 76ers a four-game lead in the Atlantic Division.
Hold me back!
Only an obvious foul by Bucks center Andrew Bogut (right) could stop Philly's Jrue Holiday (No. 11) Monday in Philadelphia.
Time to stretch
Knicks center Tyson Chandler (No. 6) tries to block the shot of Magic point guard Jameer Nelson (No. 14) during the first half of the game Monday at Madison Square Garden. Nelson scored 8 points with 5 rebounds and 7 assists in Orlando's 102-93 win iover New York.
Grizzlies shooting guard O.J. Mayo (No. 32) goes in for a layup while being hounded by Bulls center Omer Asik (No. 3) on Monday at the Fed Ex Forum. With Chicago missing league MVP Derrick Rose (out with an injured toe), Memphis cruised to a 102-86 win.
Knicks superstar Carmelo Anthony (No. 7) of the New York Knicks eyes a jumper over Orlando's Hedo Turkoglu (No. 15) as Knicks center Tyson Chandler (left) sets the pick. Anthony scored 33 in his return to action, but nothing could save New York in Monday's loss.
Say, nice pit!
No, Carmelo Anthony is not admiring the underarms of Magic power forward Glen Davis (No. 11). 'Melo instead was late in defending a "Big Baby" jumper. Davis scored 12 points off the bench in Orlando's win.
Grizzlies forward Marreese Speights (No. 5) snatches the rebound against Bulls forward Taj Gibson on Monday at FedExForum in Memphis. Speights recorded 16 points and 12 rebounds in Memphis' 102-86 win vs. Chicago.
On my way
Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley (No. 11) drives past Bulls guard C.J. Watson in Memphis' win over Chicago. Conley scored 20 points with 7 rebounds and 8 assists, while Watson scored 17 points off the bench.