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         === Bryant eclipses 31,000-point plateau, Lakers down Mavs ===
 
 Dallas,  TX  (Sports Network) -  Kobe Bryant poured  in a game-high 38 points,
 including 14 in the fourth quarter, to lift the Los Angeles Lakers to a 103-99
 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday at American Airlines Center.
 
 Bryant  added 12  rebounds and  seven assists  in the  Lakers' third  straight
 victory  and became  the youngest player in NBA history to eclipse the 31,000-
 point  plateau at 34 years, 185 days, surpassing Wilt Chamberlain's mark of 36
 years, 164 days.
 
 Steve  Nash  followed with a season-high  20 points and Dwight Howard finished
 with nine points and 13 boards for Los Angeles.
 
 Dirk  Nowitzki  led Dallas with 30  points and 13 rebounds, while Vince Carter
 and  Elton Brand  added 15 and 14 points, respectively, for the Mavericks, who
 saw their three-game win streak come to an end.
 
 "It's  tough when he  has it going like that," Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said
 of  Bryant. "I  think when  we look  at it  on film,  we had  a lot  of missed
 opportunities offensively."
 
 Los  Angeles led, 79-75, heading into the fourth, but with Bryant on the bench
 to  start the final  frame, Dallas was able to open the quarter on a 7-1 spurt
 to take an 82-80 lead on Jae Crowder's 3-pointer.
 
 Bryant  then checked  in following  a timeout  and immediately  went to  work,
 knocking  down  three straight jumpers  to put his  team in front, 87-86, with
 7:20 left.
 
 Dallas answered with four straight points thanks to a Bryant turnover, but the
 Mavericks  went the next three-plus minutes without a field goal, allowing the
 Lakers to build a 94-90 cushion on seven straight free throws.
 
 Carter finally quelled the Dallas drought with a floater, but Bryant responded
 with a jumper at the other end to restore the visitor's four-point edge.
 
 After  Nash  answered an  O.J. Mayo  triple with  a trey  of his own, Nowitzki
 finished a tough layup inside, but was unable to hit the subsequent free throw
 to leave Dallas trailing by two, 99-97, with 1:04 to play.
 
 Bryant  and  Nowitzki then  exchanged midrange jumpers,  and after Metta World
 Peace split two free throws, Dallas had possession trailing by three with 16.8
 ticks remaining.
 
 On the ensuing Dallas possession, Mayo got an open look at a corner three, but
 his  shot  was off the  mark and Bryant  corralled the rebound before knocking
 down 1-of-2 at the line to seal the outcome.
 
 "Kobe  made some unbelievable big plays coming down the stretch," Lakers coach
 Mike D'Antoni said of Bryant. "All he needs is the ball. Just throw it over to
 him and that's how he likes to operate."
 
 Dallas  shot a  scorching 51.3 percent (20-for-39) from the field in the first
 half,  but saw  the Lakers knock down  half of their 16 three-point tries over
 the opening 24 minutes to send the teams into the locker locked at 54-54.
 
 Nash  and  Bryant each  netted eight points  in the third  quarter to help the
 Lakers take a 79-75 lead into the final frame.
 
 
                                   Game Notes
 
 Bryant  now  has 31,027 career  points ... Los  Angeles shot 47.2 percent (34-
 for-72)  from the field, including a 13-for-25 mark from long range ... Dallas
 shot  44.8 percent (39-for-87) from the floor ... Dallas fell to 16-11 at home
 this season ... LA has taken two-of-three from Dallas in the season series ...
 Dallas  forward  Chris Kaman (concussion)  returned from a 10-game absence and
 finished with four points and four rebounds.
 
 02/25 01:18:50 ET

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