Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 3)

Series starts 12/12

Game 1: Monday, December 12th
Game 2: Tuesday, December 20th
Game 3: Tuesday, February 7th

Lakers 109

(11-10, 7-5 away)

Mavericks 106

(15-6, 7-3 home)

7:30 PM ET, December 12, 2005

American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX

1 2 3 4 T
LAL 28 30 24 27109
DAL 27 29 31 19106

Top Performers

LAL: K. Bryant 43 Pts, 5 Reb, 2 Ast, 4 Stl, 1 Blk

Dal: D. Nowitzki 27 Pts, 15 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Blk

Kobe's long 3-pointer lifts Lakers over Mavs

DALLAS (AP) -- Lamar Odom has a pretty good theory on why Kobe Bryant shoots so much.

"It's hard not to shoot the ball when you can make shots from everywhere," Odom said.

Bryant gave several more eye-popping examples Monday night, making a spectacular layup in the third quarter, then swishing a jumper from about 30 feet while falling away with a hand in his face, the shot clock expiring and 34.9 seconds left to send the Los Angeles Lakers past the Dallas Mavericks 109-106.

The Lakers went from leading by 11 before halftime to trailing most of the second half until Bryant, who scored 43 points, tied it at 97 with a 3-pointer. Los Angeles was down by two when Bryant lost the ball at the top of the key, chased it down and heaved up the go-ahead 3 with defender Adrian Griffin coming at him.

"That's backyard stuff," Bryant said.

Bryant, Luke Walton and Smush Parker all made key plays the rest of the way, capping a 4-1 road trip for the Lakers and giving them five wins in six games. It also ended Dallas' five-game winning streak.

"It's a confidence builder for this team," Los Angeles coach Phil Jackson said. "It shows we can overcome odds."

The Mavericks had their chances to pull out the win, but couldn't get it done. Jason Terry missed a 3-pointer in the closing seconds and Lamar Odom batted away the rebound, conking Dirk Nowitzki in the face as he followed through. Nowitzki, who had 27 points and 15 rebounds, was sprawled on the court for several minutes after time expired.

"My neck popped a little bit," he said. "I'll be stiff tomorrow, but I'll be all right."

He was bothered more by Dallas' lousy defense, especially in the first half, when Bryant made eight of his first 11 shots and scored 27 points. He was about to have more when seldom-used Mavs center D.J. Mbenga made a phenomenal block on a dunk attempt in the final minute of the second quarter.

Bryant struggled in the third quarter, missing three straight shots and having a turnover during a 10-0 run that put Dallas in control. Although he went 2-of-10 in the period, that included a twisting, scooping, bank shot along the baseline that even Michael Jordan and Julius Erving would be proud of.

The fourth quarter opened with Bryant on the bench for the first time all game. The rest certainly helped when he put up the big shot over Griffin.

"He said he wasn't ready to come out," Jackson said. "But then he sat down for a while, came back, and made a shot like that. We wanted him to rest his legs. Your legs can suffer when you take as many shots as he does."

DeSagana Diop had a chance to tie it for Dallas after that, but missed his second foul shot. Los Angeles stretched the lead to four on a free throw by Bryant and a pair by Walton, who had rebounded Bryant's missed second free throw.

After a 3-pointer by Devin Harris got the Mavericks back within one with 8.5 seconds left, Parker made two free throws.

Kwame Brown was 6-of-6 for 12 points, half coming in the final quarter, and Odom had 15 points and 11 rebounds. Chris Mihm scored 10.

Marquis Daniels scored 23, Terry had 20 and Harris 19 for Dallas.

Mavs forward Josh Howard returned to the lineup after missing eight games with an ankle injury. He started and had four points and three rebounds in 11 minutes, all in the first half. His return might be good timing as forward Keith Van Horn bruised his right hip in the second quarter and didn't return. He's scheduled to have an MRI exam and an X-ray on Tuesday.

Diop had seven points and eight rebounds. Starting center Erick Dampier had only two points and four rebounds. He went to the bench after picking up his fifth foul midway through the third quarter and didn't return.

"We were just battling uphill all night," Dallas coach Avery Johnson said. "We couldn't get it in gear tonight."

Game notes

The Mavericks took a season-high 44 free throws but missed 10, including four in the fourth quarter. ... The Lakers improved to 3-4 against the Mavericks since ending a 46-5 run of dominance against them. ... Bryant's 43 points matched his second-most this season. It's the most by an opposing player against Dallas this season. ... Lakers part-owner Magic Johnson, in town for his other business ventures, visited the Los Angeles locker room prior to the game.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 109 106
FGM-FGA 39-78 (.500) 34-73 (.466)
3PM-3PA 5-15 (.333) 4-13 (.308)
FTM-FTA 26-30 (.867) 34-44 (.773)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 10-35 17-47
Assists 17 13
Turnovers 8 11
Steals 7 4
Blocks 1 5
Fast Break Points 13 11
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 35 (0/0) 25 (0/0)
Largest Lead 11 6

Top Performers

Los Angeles
Kobe Bryant Bryant
Points: 43
Reb: 5
Ast: 2
Stl: 4
Blk: 1
Dirk Nowitzki Nowitzki
Points: 27
Reb: 15
Ast: 2
Stl: 0
Blk: 1