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NBA Game Summary - LA Lakers at Dallas

(Tuesday, March 18th)

Final Score: LA Lakers 102, Dallas 100

Dallas, TX (Sports Network) - Kobe Bryant poured in 29 points and dished out seven assists, and the Los Angeles Lakers barely escaped with a win, edging the Dallas Mavericks, 102-100, after a buzzer-beater fell off-target.

Trailing 98-91 with 1:12 to go, Dirk Nowitzki drained back-to-back three- pointers to pull the Mavericks within a point, 98-97, with 41 seconds left. After the Lakers missed a jumper but grabbed the offensive rebound for a fresh 24 seconds on the shot clock, Dallas was forced to foul, sending Lamar Odom to the stripe. Odom connected on both attempts to push the Los Angeles lead to 100-97 with 29 seconds remaining.

Jason Kidd had an opportunity to even the score for the Mavericks, but his three-pointer from the left wing fell short. Kidd was hoping to draw a foul, but Bryant was able to maintain control of his body while defending the shot and there was only minimal contact.

Sasha Vujacic was sent to the line and he converted 1-of-2 foul shots to give the Lakers a 101-97 edge with 14 seconds to play. On the other end, Jason Terry dropped in a three-pointer, and the Mavs were right on LA's heels, 101-100, with four seconds showing on the clock.

After Derek Fisher, a career 81 percent free-throw shooter, only hit 1-of-2 at the stripe, Dallas was left with a chance to tie or win the game.

The Mavericks took a timeout, and, with the clock still at four seconds, Josh Howard in-bounded the ball to Nowitzki, who was immediately harassed by Odom. Nowitzki lost control of the ball, but regained possession with less than a second remaining. He somehow managed to huck up a desperation three-pointer, even going so far as to avoid contact from Odom to get off a clean shot. But while taking the bump from Odom may have put him on the line with a chance to win the game, Nowitzki's prayer from beyond the arc was well off the mark, and the Lakers escaped with the win.

"The win was big," remarked Odom. "It was a tribute to our defense. We got stops when we needed to, even though Dirk (Nowitzki) and Jason Terry hit some big time shots."

Vladimir Radmanovic tied a season-high with 21 points for Los Angeles, which sits tied atop the Western Conference with Houston after the Rockets had their amazing 22-game win streak halted by Boston on Tuesday. Odom added 17 points while reeling in 17 rebounds, and Ronny Turiaf chipped in with 11 points for the Lakers, who snapped a two-game losing streak overall and a four-game skid visiting Dallas.

Nowitzki exploded for 35 points, 11 boards and a season-high five blocks for the Mavericks, who fell a half-game out of the sixth spot, behind idle San Antonio, to settle into the seventh playoff spot in the West. Howard and Terry each tallied 19 points for Dallas, which had a five-game overall win streak and four-game home win streak stopped. The Mavs had won three of four and five of the last seven matchups with the Lakers, before coming up just short on Tuesday.

This was the third of four meetings this season between the clubs. LA holds a 2-1 advantage, and is slated to host Dallas at the Staples Center on April 4.

"I don't think there are any foregone conclusions in terms of two teams in the Western Conference when they match up," commented Fisher. "You just don't always have a clue of what the outcome is going to be. The top eight or 11 teams are that good this season."

At the midway mark of the first frame, the Lakers were behind by three points before ripping off a 13-3 run. Odom sunk a layup with just under three minutes to play, and Los Angeles opened a 24-17 lead.

Heading into the second stanza, the Lakers were ahead 28-21.

Los Angeles made its move in the second, closing out the half on a 22-9 surge. By the time Bryant buried a bucket from beyond the arc with 31 seconds on the clock, the Lakers had built a comfortable 59-38 cushion, and the score stood as the squads headed into the locker rooms.

After the intermission, the LA lead was stretched to 25 points before Dallas began to chip away. The Mavs used a 14-1 flurry to end the third period, cutting the deficit to a dozen.

Terry and Nowitzki highlighted the burst, as Terry's eight points and Nowitzki's six accounted for all 14 Dallas points. Terry nailed a three- pointer as time expired to make it 77-65 moving into the final 12 minutes.

In the fourth quarter, the Mavericks picked up right where they left off, scoring nine of the period's initial 11 points to close the gap to just five points. When Terry knocked down a pair at the charity stripe at the 9:36 mark, Dallas was down 79-74.

"It was a tale of two halves in a sense," explained Mavericks head coach Avery Johnson. "We did a little bit more there in the third (quarter) and made (Bryant) work a little bit more on defense. ... I thought the guys really battled."

Game Notes

Dallas slipped to 44-24 overall, while Los Angeles climbed to 46-21...Pau Gasol missed a second straight outing for the Lakers due to a sprained left ankle. It is unknown when he will return...Erick Dampier had six points, nine boards and two blocks for the Mavericks...The Mavs opened a four-game homestand on Tuesday, and will also host Boston, San Antonio and the LA Clippers. Dallas is 29-5 at home this season...The Lakers played the third of a four-game road trip and improved to 1-2 on the trek. Los Angeles closes out the swing on Thursday when it visits Utah and looks to improve its 23-13 mark as the visitor.

03/19 01:49:04 ET

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