Kobe Bryant went from having a slow night because of a sore back to nailing the game-winning jumper with 28 seconds left, lifting the Los Angeles Lakers to a 100-95 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday night in a matchup of the top two teams in the Western Conference.
Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki became the 34th player in NBA history to score 20,000 points when he hit a 14-foot jumper early in the fourth quarter. He scored 15 of his 30 points in the quarter, including a tough 3-pointer that tied it at 95 with 42.5 seconds left. He also grabbed a season-high 16 rebounds.
Bryant played only nine minutes in the first half and was hardly part of the action while in the game. He scored eight points in the third quarter, but made only 1 of 4 shots in the final period – the one that counted the most, a 20-footer over Josh Howard with 28 seconds left to make it 97-95.
Dallas’ Erick Dampier missed a pair of free throws that could’ve tied it. After Los Angeles’ Andrew Bynum made 1 of 2 foul shots, the Lakers double-teamed Nowitzki in the corner, forcing him to pass. Howard ended up taking a wild shot.
Bynum had 22 points and 11 rebounds, Lamar Odom had 18 points and 14 rebounds, and Ron Artest had 16 points and 11 rebounds to help the Lakers end a three-game road losing streak. While they won for only the second time in five games, it was their second victory over the Mavericks in 10 days.
Dallas lost its second straight, both at home despite getting 18 points from Howard in his first start since Nov. 11. Jason Kidd added 11 points and 11 assists