Kobe's '40' streak ends; Lakers top Mavs
Derek Fisher hit a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 3.1 seconds to play and the Los Angeles Lakers survived a dismal offensive game by both teams Monday night for a 73-70 victory over the Mavericks — snapping both Dallas' five-game winning streak and Kobe Bryant's four-game streak of at least 40 points.
Bryant ended with 14 points for the Lakers.
Vince Carter missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer for the defending champion Mavericks, who swept Los Angeles out of the second round of the postseason last spring, ending the Lakers' bid for a three-peat.
Neither team looked much like a championship contender in their first meeting since, with 3 1/2 miserable offensive quarters before the exciting finish.
Fisher scored 13 points and led a 10-0 run midway through the fourth quarter, but the Mavericks rallied to tie it on Jason Terry's running jumper at the top of the key with 9.9 seconds left.
Bryant drew the Dallas defense before passing to Fisher. The veteran point guard calmly drilled a long 3-pointer from the wing.
Carter's desperation try was far off, and the Lakers celebrated their ninth consecutive home victory since Christmas.
Andrew Bynum had 17 points and 15 rebounds for the Lakers, who have won six of seven overall despite barely scoring 70 points — the franchise low in the shot-clock era, set in November 2002.
Dirk Nowitzki scored 21 points for the Mavericks, but committed a crucial traveling violation with 38 seconds left in their first loss since Jan. 5. Lamar Odom scored 10 points in his return to Staples Center, where he won two championships before the Lakers abruptly traded him to Dallas last month.
Two elite NBA franchises might have showed the strain of the NBA's compacted schedule, or the excitement of the playoff rematch — or maybe they both just stunk.
Airballs, turnovers and missed assignments dominated play, which included a seven-point third quarter by the Lakers and 35 percent shooting by the Mavericks, who extended their string of exceptional defensive performances.
Pau Gasol, whose struggles in last year's playoff series played a huge role in the Lakers' losses, had just eight points on 3-of-11 shooting, while Dallas' Jason Kidd went 0-for-8 on 3-pointers and Terry was 2-for-9 from the field until his tying basket.
Bryant had scored at least 40 points in each of his past four games, but the NBA's leading scorer even didn't score until midway through the second quarter.
At least the Lakers have their first chance to recover from the lockout-compacted NBA schedule: After matching the league high with 15 games in 23 days, Los Angeles has consecutive days off for the first time this season before Thursday's game at Miami.
Odom demanded the trade when his feelings were hurt after a deal fell apart to send him to New Orleans for Chris Paul, but the reigning Sixth Man of the Year is still struggling to fit in Dallas.
Odom's return added another layer of intrigue to the Lakers' first matchup with the Mavericks since Dallas' 36-point win in the playoff clincher. That game ended with thuggish behavior by Bynum, who earned a four-game suspension for his harsh fouls in coach Phil Jackson's final game with Los Angeles.
Odom said it was ''surreal'' to be in the visitors' locker room at Staples Center, his home for the past seven seasons. The Staples Center crowd greeted Odom with a lengthy standing ovation when he entered the game midway through the first quarter, and the Lakers played a video tribute on the scoreboard at the ensuing timeout.
Odom's wife, reality TV star Khloe Kardashian, watched the game from Lakers executive Jeanie Buss' second-row seats, cheering loudly for the Mavericks.