Lakers Edge Mavs

New-look Lakers and Mavericks, same old Kobe.

Kobe Bryant took charge late in the game, scoring 22 points in the fourth quarter and eight in overtime to finish with 52 Sunday in Los Angeles' 108-104 victory over Dallas.

Mavericks coach Avery Johnson tried a variety of ways to stop him. Nothing worked.

``We gave him a single look, then we double-teamed him, then we gave him a triple-team and he split the triple-team and scored,'' Johnson said. ``We tried to zone him, we tried to funnel him in the trap for a zone and he went the other way. He didn't cooperate on any of our defenses.

``Obviously he milked the free throw line on us and he just had it all going. He's a great player. He has these (games). Lots of these.''

Bryant hit the 50-point mark for the 22nd time in his career and first time this season. He went 15-of-27 from the floor and, constantly driving and drawing fouls, was 20-of-27 from the line. He was perfect shooting free throws in the fourth quarter, making 13, and converted the two he took in overtime.

That after he missed five of eight from the line in the first half.

``I was really upset with myself at halftime,'' he said, adding that he told himself to ``just relax and go knock them down.''

Bryant also had 11 rebounds and four assists, and Pau Gasol had 17 points and 14 rebounds in his 14th game for Los Angeles.

``All in all, we didn't give them any good looks, and I think eventually that wears a team down,'' Bryant said. ``We really got it done on the defensive end.

``It was a physical game. It was back and forth. We didn't play extremely well, but it felt good to get this one done.''

Dirk Nowitzki had 30 points for Dallas, including a 3-pointer with 2 seconds remaining in regulation to tie it at 93. He had nine points in the extra period, but missed a 3 that would have tied it again with 7 seconds left.

Jason Kidd, playing his seventh game for Dallas, had 15 points, 11 assists and six rebounds. He drove for a layup to pull the Mavericks within 105-104 and was fouled on the play with 11 seconds left in overtime, but then missed his only free throw of the game.

``I felt confident at the free throw line, but I just left it short,'' Kidd said. ``To tie the game, I have to be able to step up and make that free throw.''

He still thought it was a good game.

``It was great for the players and the fans; both teams had leads, both teams fought to come back,'' Kidd said.

Johnson said Kidd is still working his way into the flow.

``We are six or seven games into this thing and we are finding out more and more about how he works well,'' Johnson said. ``He and (Erick) Dampier have played real well together. Damp had a double-double and they had some good reads together.

``So we are finding out more about our team as we go forward.''

The Mavericks are 4-3 since Kidd joined them.

Dampier had 16 points and 17 rebounds when he fouled out with 1:19 left in regulation. The Lakers' Luke Walton fouled out with 7:11 remaining in the fourth quarter, going to the bench with 11 points and six rebounds.

Bryant scored the Lakers' final 14 points in the fourth quarter, including a pair of free throws with 6 seconds left after getting the offensive rebound of Lamar Odom's second straight missed foul shot.

Jason Terry, who left the game briefly with 8:14 remaining in the fourth quarter after hurting his right shoulder in a collision, returned with 6:38 left and finished with 18 points.

The Lakers got back into the win column after their 10-game winning streak ended in Portland on Friday night.

Kidd hit a 19-footer, had a steal and made a 3-pointer to give the Mavericks a 59-58 lead with 6:39 left in the third quarter, their first time in front since midway through the opening period.

Dampier had nine points in the third and the Mavericks were up 68-65 heading into the final 12 minutes. The Lakers scored just 15 points and went 6-of-22 from the floor in the third, with Odom missing all five of his shots.

Notes: Bryant's 20,989 career points moved him past Walt Bellamy (20,941) and into 25th on the NBA's all-time list. ... The Mavericks beat the Lakers 112-105 in Dallas on Jan. 25, despite 40 points, 10 rebounds and five assists by Bryant. Gasol joined the Lakers about a week later.

by: Staff Writers - Email Us

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