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Kobe scores 38, leads Lakers to gritty win over Mavericks

Feb 24, 2013, 3:58 PM EDT

O.J. Mayo, Shawn Marion, Kobe Bryant

Each game for the Lakers becomes more important as the season progresses, as the team tries to make up enough ground to claw its way into the postseason after getting off to such a dismal start.

Sunday afternoon in Dallas, L.A. played like its beginning to realize it.

Behind a spectacular 38-point performance from Kobe Bryant, and some above-average three-pont shooting as a team, the Lakers pulled out a tight 103-99 road victory over the Mavericks to pull within two-and-a-half games of the eighth and final playoff spot out West.

The game was close throughout, and featured 10 ties and 20 lead changes. But Bryant’s ability to consistently make tough shots was ultimately the difference.

Bryant finished 12 rebounds and seven assists to go along with his 38 points, and shot 13-21 from the field which included knocking down four of his five attempts from three-point distance. While Dallas pounded L.A. inside and outscored the Lakers by 20 in the points in the paint category, L.A. made up for it by hitting 13 of its 25 attempts from beyond the arc, good for a blistering 52 percent.

Steve Nash matched Bryant with 4-5 shooting from distance, and had his best scoring output as a Laker, finishing with 20 points. It was a rough game for Dwight Howard offensively, who finished with just nine points on 2-7 shooting, and he seemed unable to gain his rhythm after battling through foul trouble for the bulk of the contest.

Howard was active defensively, however, and the Mavericks were able to get what they wanted offensively when he was forced to head to the bench. Midway through the third quarter, for example, after the Lakers overcame a five-point deficit and built a six-point lead, Dallas responded by rattling off seven straight points the moment Howard was subbed out.

In the plus/minus category (if you’re into that particular metric), Howard was a game-high plus-15 in his 34 minutes of action, and managed 13 rebounds, two steals, and a blocked shot.

Dirk Nowitzki led the charge for the Mavericks, providing his best effort of the season in finishing with 30 points and 13 rebounds, while knocking down all four of his attempts from three-point distance. He even had one of the better defensive plays of the day, trapping Bryant in the corner on a double-team, then getting out and finishing on the fast break after Kobe turned it over with an errant crosscourt pass.

This game, however, was Bryant’s. He made several extremely difficult shots, without forcing too much and at the same time drawing multiple defenders and finding his teammates for open looks. He had 14 points in the final period, and secured the win at the free throw line, as well as by grabbing his team’s final two rebounds.

The Mavericks have been far from great this season, but with Dirk returning to form and the team coming into this one tied with the Lakers in the loss column, L.A. needed to make sure it came away with the victory. Bryant’s performance ensured it, and L.A. has a chance to get back to .500 for the first time since Dec. 28 when the team heads to Denver to face the Nuggets on Monday.

  1. azcards - Feb 24, 2013 at 4:13 PM

    NBA is rigged. No way league lets Lakers miss playoffs. Lakers will get 3 fts for every 1 opponent ft.

    • tsi431 - Feb 24, 2013 at 4:27 PM

      That is only because Lakers opponents think the only way to stop Dwight is to foul him, leading to a bunch more FT’s.

      • tsi431 - Feb 24, 2013 at 4:28 PM

        And getting their team to BONUS.

    • diehardcard - Feb 24, 2013 at 4:31 PM

      Refs did their best to give the game to LA. The foul on Dirk that wasn’t called which resulted in Dirk getting a technical. The non-foul by Mayo on Kobe that was called a foul and got Mayo a technical. Lakers got 12 FTs in the last 6 minutes. Mavs got 1.

      If they’re going to make it so obvious that they’re favoring the Lakers, they might as well not play the games.

      • mytthor - Feb 24, 2013 at 9:08 PM

        Please. Kobe got a technical in the first when he said nothing and he got fouled and they didn’t call it. Dwight got his 5th foul on a terrible moving screen call. I think it was Carter who got an and-1 on a jumper where he wasn’t touched.

    • Mr. Wright 212 - Feb 24, 2013 at 4:41 PM

      Typical nonsense.

    • joregon - Feb 25, 2013 at 9:30 AM

      I would say the officiating in this game was pretty bad.
      When the Blazers played the Lakers and it got down to the last few seconds the Blazers were robbed of a necessary 3, and got the bad end of a few calls.
      In the end though it shouldn’t get to the point where the officials decide it, because if you rely on the officials certain teams will always get the calls.

  2. Mr. Wright 212 - Feb 24, 2013 at 4:41 PM

    The Lakers win, it’s Stern rigging games. They lose, these same people come here to pile on. Girls, I swear, man…

    • dannymac17 - Feb 24, 2013 at 9:46 PM

      But when the Clippers beat the Lakers you were no where to be found.

      Stay humbled.

      • Mr. Wright 212 - Feb 24, 2013 at 10:10 PM

        The fact that you fail to realize that a) I’m a Knicks fan first and foremost, Lakers second and b) constantly take roll of who’s online immediately after a team’s win OR loss (as if we don’t have lives, unlike you?) is more hilarious than your pithy attempts at being sardonic.

      • dannymac17 - Feb 24, 2013 at 10:32 PM

        But you were ranting and raving in that entire thread along with others.

        Then you were extra silent when the Clippers beat the brakes off the Knicks.

        Then they beat the Lakers.

        You were silent.

        Its understandable.

      • Mr. Wright 212 - Feb 25, 2013 at 1:19 AM

        Beat the brakes off the Knicks? lmao they hit a few free throws late to push it to double digits. Get real. Your goofy franchise is still a distant second to the Lakers and still won’t get past the second round.

  3. Mr. Wright 212 - Feb 24, 2013 at 4:50 PM

    If the league is rigging games to ensure that the Lakers make the playoffs, why did Stern nix the Paul deal, HUH?

  4. psung26 - Feb 24, 2013 at 5:14 PM

    Lakers on course to be fully clicking by the start of the second season and the scariest 8 seed in NBA history. Let’s make some noise!!

    • davidly - Feb 24, 2013 at 5:37 PM

      (mimes growl that turns out to be a yawn)

    • Mr. Wright 212 - Feb 24, 2013 at 5:38 PM

      Alongside with the ’99 Knicks, I agree.

    • dko83 - Feb 25, 2013 at 3:31 AM

      I hope they do sneak into that 8 seed! Will be great to troll these boards when the Spurs/Clips/Thunder whip out the broom.

      • psung26 - Feb 25, 2013 at 12:23 PM

        The broom? Yeah sure buddy. The Spurs/Clips/Thunder would rather face the Jazz at 7 than the Lakers at 8 so go put your dumb broom back in the closet and you can go troll yourself.

      • dko83 - Feb 25, 2013 at 3:54 PM

        You sound mad? Unfortunately we won’t be able to see what will happen as they probably won’t even make it anyway…

  5. hojo20 - Feb 24, 2013 at 5:23 PM

    Dallas sucks, I don’t see what the big deal about this win is.

  6. kb2408 - Feb 24, 2013 at 5:27 PM

    Hey, Cuban, still think he should be amnestied? If he were, Dallas and every other team in the league would go after him. NO other guard has played this well in the history of the NBA in their 17th season in the league. As a matter of fact, most two guards don’t even make it to 17 years in the league.

  7. azcards - Feb 24, 2013 at 5:29 PM

    Mr. Wright,

    That’s easy. Stern knew that if cp3 goes to the lakers there is no way they get Dwight there. Also, it was already in the works to get Nash there. Stern had a plan to get cp3, Nash and Dwight to the LA market. Getting cp3 to the lakers only gets one of those names to LA, not all 3. Think about it, when the Lakers traded for Nash, they just so happened to have a trade exemption that allowed them to take on salary when they were already over the cap. Trading odom to Dallas got them that trade exemption and if the cp3 to the lakers happens, they don’t get the trade exemption. These moves are not coincidences. Also, the cp3 trade to the clippers included they’re draft pick which turned into a top 10 and helped the league sell the hornets. That sale had a guarantee the the hornets would get Anthony Davis and another top 10 pick. C’mon man. This is a business and the CEO of the league (stern) does not leave these things to chance.

    • Mr. Wright 212 - Feb 24, 2013 at 5:39 PM

      All I see is text from Charlie Brown’s teacher talking…

      • Mr. Wright 212 - Feb 24, 2013 at 5:40 PM

        It was a rhetorical question. I study contracts and collective bargaining (employment law) for a living, I was not asking what the LITERAL rationale was. Don’t be a slomo. You understood my initial and VERY VALID point.

    • davidly - Feb 24, 2013 at 5:39 PM

      If you could tie the Balloonminati into this whole thing, I’d believe it.

    • cosanostra71 - Feb 24, 2013 at 6:03 PM

      You forgot the part where David Stern did 9/11 and deliberately introduced crack in the 1980s.

    • mytthor - Feb 24, 2013 at 9:10 PM

      Actually, the Lakers could have gotten CP and Dwight, none of the assets in the CP trade were used in the Dwight trade.

  8. joroberts10 - Feb 24, 2013 at 5:38 PM

    azcards don’t make me laugh. The only thing you helped prove there is that the lakers have the best front office in sports

    • eventhorizon04 - Feb 24, 2013 at 6:44 PM

      What’s funny is, he’s not just arguing that good moves by the Lakers, like creating a trade exception by trading away a declining Lamar Odom, are “evidence” of a conspiracy in favor of the Lakers.

      He’s also saying setbacks for the Lakers, like the NBA commissioner not allowing an All-Star point guard in his prime (Chris Paul) to be traded to the Lakers, counts as evidence of conspiracy in favor the Lakers.

      So if Dwight Howard decides not to re-sign with the Lakers after this season, I’m guessing he’ll argue it’s evidence of conspiracy in favor the Lakers.

      Pau Gasol’s and Steve Nash’s injury problems this season?
      Also probably evidence of conspiracy in favor the Lakers.

      If both Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard suffer tears in both of their ACLs tomorrow?
      Evidence of conspiracy in favor the Lakers.

      Etc.

  9. eventhorizon04 - Feb 24, 2013 at 6:20 PM

    Lol.

    Kobe tweeted, “Amesty THAT!”

    I’m guessing he heard what Mark Cuban said.

    • eventhorizon04 - Feb 24, 2013 at 6:20 PM

      *Amnesty (My typo)

      • spthegr8 - Feb 24, 2013 at 7:46 PM

        @event
        LMFAO!!! I just saw that too!! Hilarious!! Beat Cuban will Keep that BIG mouth SHUT next time they ask him about the Lakeshow!! You could see Kobe had that LOOK in his eye’s in the 4th!! Now you know why!!!

  10. censormynameandmycomments - Feb 24, 2013 at 6:21 PM

    It’s a funny thing that most people will agree in general that most of what you see on TV and in the media can’t be trusted. But when you point out one of the obvious conspiracies, no one believes you.

    You’re absolutely right, azcards. Don’t let those that enjoy living in the dark dissuade you.

    • eventhorizon04 - Feb 24, 2013 at 6:38 PM

      Internet conspiracy theorists are funny.

  11. eventhorizon04 - Feb 24, 2013 at 6:26 PM

    The Lakers’ next 10 games are Nuggets, Timberwolves, Hawks, Thunder, Hornets, Raptors, Bulls, Magic, Hawks, and Pacers.

    So that’s 6 against playoff teams, and it will be a good test to see if the Lakers have really found a stable rotation and playing style that works for them.

  12. gasan2013pananaw - Feb 24, 2013 at 6:36 PM

    WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND. DALLAS MAVERICKS LOST BECAUSE OF MARK CUBAN. KOBE BRYANT SHOVES 38 INTO HIS MOUTH. TAKE THAT!!! YOU SQUIRT….

  13. eflem80 - Feb 24, 2013 at 6:43 PM

    What’s the big deal here? Dallas sucks….

  14. money2long - Feb 24, 2013 at 6:45 PM

    vintage kobe..screw that..kobe is still as deadly as ever.

  15. fruitcovejag - Feb 24, 2013 at 7:54 PM

    Those knees are going to get tired carrying Dwight to the playoffs!

  16. halohonk - Feb 24, 2013 at 7:57 PM

    When Kobe shoots like that and D12 can stay out of foul trouble. With Nash starting to play well. The Lakers can beat anyone. Can they do it in a 7 game series and win on the road ? That is the question. A win in Denver would be a huge step in the right direction.

  17. jerdogthompson - Feb 24, 2013 at 8:34 PM

    Let me state this once and for all…….

    For all those uneducated Laker fans still whining about the CP3 trade. Do yourselves a favor and read up a pinch before revealing your ignorance on NBC sports.

    The fact that remains is Jason Smith, the pasty white guy on the NOH or NOP (your choice ) wanted a Multi year deal from the Lakers on the trade. Kupcake refused therefore the deal was not made and CP3 went to the Clippers period.

    Stop your whining, complaining and endless conspiracy theories because it disgusts those of us that truly understand why the deal fell through.

    • mytthor - Feb 24, 2013 at 9:12 PM

      Are you suggesting Jason Smith vetoed the trade? Or is he close personal friends with Stern? This doesn’t even make any sense.

    • Mr. Wright 212 - Feb 24, 2013 at 10:15 PM

      How about you shut your mouth and stop thinking you know something that no one else does? Everyone else is mentioning it rhetorically, not in “whining” fashion. People like me who actually deal in contract and employment law know far better than schmucks like you what the rationale was and who Stern was speaking on behalf of when he made his comments.

      And it was brought up to nullify the foolish assertion of the rampant Laker haters who invariably always come here to post conspiracy theories whenever they win.

  18. losanginsight - Feb 24, 2013 at 8:43 PM

    Cuban should complain and try to amnesty his entire POS team. If his team was in a Basketball City like LA his team would get attention for winning a chip in 2011 and becoming a lottery team. Everyone except for haters and people that don’t watch Laler games knew this team would be peaking at pla off time. I would say you shouldn’t be waking a sleeping giant but LA don’t sleep.

    • dannymac17 - Feb 24, 2013 at 10:08 PM

      Lottery team?

      You guys barely passed them in the standings a couple weeks ago.

      Sit down and be quiet. Lakers aint beating any of the top 4 in the west.

  19. exhelo1 - Feb 24, 2013 at 9:31 PM

    What’s really smart is the way that the refs got Dwight in foul trouble early, just to make it look like there was no conspiracy.

  20. loungefly74 - Feb 25, 2013 at 8:49 AM

    only got to see the highlights but it was great to see Kobe nailing some extremely tough jumpers. the Mamba had the look in his eyes! love it.

    @eventhorizon04, thanks for the schedule post. you are correct, sir. those games will dictate the rest of the season.

    can’t believe there is still discussion about the CP3-nixed trade? look…it is what it is. everybody has moved on. do Laker fans have a right to be shaking their heads? oh yeah…but ya just move on.

  21. omniusprime - Feb 25, 2013 at 9:21 AM

    Kobe proves that he is still the greatest player in the NBA, a true champion. Howard’s struggles just prove how crucial it is for the Lakers to keep Pau Gasol, they need two great big men against teams with multiple good big men and when Howard gets in foul trouble. If Howard can get himself healed up more so he can play with lots of energy every game and he plays smart so he doesn’t get in foul trouble then Dwight will make a major contribution to the Lakers getting into the playoffs and doing some damage.

    It was a good win as the Laker players overcame another stinker game of coaching by Dumbtoni. I liked seeing the Lakers beat dallas but I keep hoping they’ll lose every game until Dumbtoni is fired. The Lakers will not win a championship with Dumbtoni as coach even if they got every great player in the NBA on their team. Nor will they win a championship with Ancient Trash Nash and Steve Flake as point guards, both are too old and slow and neither plays defense worth a squat. Just imagine how great the Lakers could be with a great young point guard like Kyrie Irving.

    Thanks Dr. Buss, Rest in Peace!!! Fire Dumbtoni!!! Trade Trash Nash and Steve Flake!!!

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