Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki became the 34th player in league history to score 20,000 points
Kobe Bryant went from having a slow night because of a sore back to nailing the go-ahead 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. The Lakers Avoided losing two consecutive games in the trip to Texas.
While the Lakers became the first NBA team to reach 3,000 wins, Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki became the 34th player in league 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 that made 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.
Nowitzki came in needing 16 points for the milestone. He had 15 through three quarters, then finally got it 1:03 into the final period. Fans gave him a standing ovation right away, then again when it was announced, and once more following a video tribute during the next timeout. Nowitzki stood, waved his arms and clapped to acknowledge their cheers. But the celebration was muted because Dallas was losing.
Nowitzki then played as if a burden had been lifted. He was 6 of 10 in the fourth quarter after going 5 of 12 over the first three quarters.
Bryant missed the only shot he took in the first half, a 3-point attempt that came up well short. His first shot of the second half was from the top of the key, and it went way wide. But the next time down the court, he backed his way into the middle of the lane, spun out between three defenders and swished a turnaround fadeaway. He finished 5 of 11 for 10 points.
Bynum scored all of his points in the first three quarters. After making his first eight shots against Dallas last week, he made his first seven this time; his first miss hung on the rim, then fell out.
The Lakers won that game by 35 and made 63.4 shots. This time, they never led by more than eight and made only 48.8 percent, yet it was still enough.