NBA

Sun, Feb 24, 2013 - 1:00 PM ET
Game Recap
 

Kobe carries Lakers to win in Dallas

Image: Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers (© Matthew Emmons/USA TODAY Sports)
Kobe Bryant was magnificent once again on Sunday in Dallas, scoring a game-high 38 points.
Share This Story

   
 

DALLAS (AP)

Kobe Bryant was just a little better than Dirk Nowitzki in a spirited game befitting Western Conference leaders, not teams battling for ninth place.

Bryant had 38 points to win a scoring duel with Nowitzki, and Steve Nash helped beat his former team by getting 20 points for the first time with the Los Angeles Lakers in a 103-99 victory against the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday.

Nowitzki finished with a season-high 30 in a game that had a playoff feel from the start, even though both teams still have plenty of ground to make up to even qualify for the postseason. They trail eighth-place Houston by several games, but they are the franchises that have the last three NBA titles won by teams from the West.

Bryant and Nowitzki had 16 points apiece in the first half and were still even at 24 after the third quarter before Bryant scored 14 in the fourth, including seven in the last 3 minutes. They were a combined 8 of 9 from 3-point range and hit 24 shots and 12 free throws between them.

''It's fun,'' said Bryant, who also had 12 rebounds and seven assists. ''He's one of my all-time favorites. He's a throwback type of player. He doesn't mind the physicality. He made some incredible plays down the stretch.''

Bryant, who went past the 31,000-point mark, 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.

The Lakers responded by calling the comment inappropriate, and Cuban defended himself before the game.

''Amnesty THAT,'' Bryant tweeted after the game.

celebrities at nba games

FAN-TASTIC

Celebrities at playoff games like to see and be seen.

''I'm sure if he wants to amnesty Dirk, that's something we'll be willing to entertain,'' Bryant told reporters.

The Mavericks were so frustrated trying to guard Bryant, O.J. Mayo got called for a foul and a technical when he jumped around wildly after the whistle blew on a drive to the basket by Bryant. Nash made the technical shot, and Bryant hit his pair of free throws for a 94-90 lead.

''He's been the best player in my decade,'' said Nowitzki, who also had his season high with 13 rebounds after missing the first 27 games following knee surgery. ''I've been in the NBA a long time and he's the one player I love to watch. It was a big game on the national TV stage. It was a fun one. We just came up a little bit short.''

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

''It was very intense,'' said Mavericks rookie Jae Crowder, who spent his share of time trying to guard Bryant. ''From the crowd standpoint, from the player standpoint, from the officiating. You could tell.''

Three times in the final 3 minutes, Bryant put the Lakers up four after the Mavericks had pulled within two. The last gave Los Angeles a 101-97 lead with 46.9 seconds left.

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, and Bryant clinched it with a free throw that made it a two-possession game.

nba photos of the week

DOWN AND DIRTY

See who's fighting hard for playoff position. Photos of the week.

''That's why he's Kobe Bryant,'' Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni said. ''He's not John Smith. No disrespect to John Smith, whoever he is. That's what he does. That's what he loves. That's what he trains for.''

Nash had 13 of his 20 points and three of his four 3-pointers in the second half, including one that answered Mayo's only bucket from long range and put the Lakers up 99-95.

''He came on in the second half and really gave us a big boost,'' Bryant said. ''He was very aggressive and it forced them to make changes defensively. He's extremely clutch.''

Dwight Howard had three big free throws in the fourth, including one that put Los Angeles ahead for good at 91-90, and finished with nine points and 13 rebounds.

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.

Tagged: Mavericks, Lakers, Metta World Peace, Steve Nash, Dirk Nowitzki, Kobe Bryant, O.J. Mayo

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by


NBA Videos

NBA considering mid-season Vegas tournament? Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Adam Silver confirms the NBA has engaged in early conversations about the possib...

LeBron and Blatt 'will work together beautifully' Posted: Jul 14, 2014
Cavaliers head coach David Blatt on LeBron James' decision to return to Clevelan...

LeBron's back and so are the Cavs Posted: Jul 11, 2014
FOX Sports 1's Gary Payton weighs-in on LeBron's decision to return to Cleveland...

More Than Sports on MSN

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    adidas Blake Griffin Los Angeles Clippers Revolution 30 Performance Jersey - Red http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Los_Angeles_Clippers/browse/featuredproduct/491845/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_491000/ff_491845_xl.jpg&w=100 59.95 adidas Blake Griffin Los Angeles Clippers Revolution 30 Performance Jersey - Red
    adidas LeBron James Miami Heat Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey-Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Miami_Heat/browse/featuredproduct/498609/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_498000/ff_498609_xl.jpg&w=100 89.95 adidas LeBron James Miami Heat Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey-Black
    adidas Carmelo Anthony New York Knicks Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey - Royal Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_York_Knicks/browse/featuredproduct/620470/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_620000/ff_620470_xl.jpg&w=100 49.99 adidas Carmelo Anthony New York Knicks Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey..
    Mitchell & Ness San Antonio Spurs Black Solid Script Snapback Adjustable Hat http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Antonio_Spurs/browse/featuredproduct/692239/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_692000/ff_692239_xl.jpg&w=100 25.95 Mitchell & Ness San Antonio Spurs Black Solid Script Snapback Adjustable Hat
    Majestic Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers Logo Man T-Shirt - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Los_Angeles_Lakers/browse/featuredproduct/851828/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_851000/ff_851828_xl.jpg&w=100 23.95 Majestic Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers Logo Man T-Shirt - Black
    Majestic Kevin Durant Oklahoma City Thunder Logo Man T-Shirt - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oklahoma_City_Thunder/browse/featuredproduct/851842/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_851000/ff_851842_xl.jpg&w=100 23.95 Majestic Kevin Durant Oklahoma City Thunder Logo Man T-Shirt - White
    adidas Miami Heat 2012 NBA Eastern Conference Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Miami_Heat/browse/featuredproduct/890174/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_890000/ff_890174_xl.jpg&w=100 21.95 adidas Miami Heat 2012 NBA Eastern Conference Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Wh..
    adidas Oklahoma City Thunder 2012 NBA Western Conference Champions Locker Room Flex Hat - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oklahoma_City_Thunder/browse/featuredproduct/890384/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_890000/ff_890384_xl.jpg&w=100 19.99 adidas Oklahoma City Thunder 2012 NBA Western Conference Champions Locker Room F..