Final - OT
  for this game

Bryant pours in 52 as Lakers scrape past Mavericks

Mar 3, 2008 - 1:53 AM By Jonathan Raber PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

LOS ANGELES (Ticker) - Kobe Bryant was simply brilliant late, and the Los Angeles Lakers needed every bit of it.

Bryant scored 30 of his season-high 52 points during the fourth quarter and overtime to lead the Lakers to a 108-104 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday.

Bryant poured in Los Angeles' final 14 points of regulation over a stretch of 5:25 and added eight more in the extra session. The All-Star guard hit 15-of-27 shots and went 20-of-27 from the free-throw line.

"We want to send a message that we are for real, that we're going to compete and hopefully we'll need to be dealt with," Bryant said.

It was the 22nd time in his career that Bryant has had 50-plus points.

"He has these nights, lots of these," Mavericks coach Avery Johnson said.

Pau Gasol added 17 points and 14 rebounds for the Lakers, who have won 11 of their last 12 games and 12 of 14 since trading for Gasol.

"To say one single thing did it, Kobe Bryant is probably the reason we didn't lose (tonight)," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said.

Jason Kidd recorded 15 points, 11 assists and six rebounds for the Mavericks but missed a potential game-tying free throw which could have sent the game to double-overtime.

Kidd was fouled while making a layup by Gasol with 10 seconds left in the extra period, but his ensuing free throw bounced off the rim.

"I felt confident at the free-throw line, but I just left it short," Kidd said. "You can never leave it short if you want it to go in, so that falls on my shoulders. To tie the game, I have to be able to step up and make that free throw."

Following two free throws by Bryant, Dirk Nowitzki, who finished with 30 points, had a shot to tie but came up empty with two seconds left in overtime to seal the Lakers' win.

"All in all, we didn't give them many good looks and I think eventually that wears a team down," Bryant said. "I think we really got it done defensively."

Los Angeles had its 10-game win streak snapped on Friday in Portland but started another streak against Dallas thanks to a late-game surge.

"It was a great win, probably one of the best wins we've had so far, as far as playing a tough team and being in a game so tight and so close," Gasol said. "It definitely felt great to pull it off, now we have to go to Sacramento and get another one."

After Lamar Odom came up empty on two free-throw attempts with six seconds remaining in regulation, Bryant got the rebound and was fouled immediately, hitting both shots from the stripe to put the Lakers up 93-90.

Dallas called a timeout to advance the ball, and Nowitzki inbounded and got the ball back before hitting a straightaway 3-pointer with two seconds remaining in the fourth to even the score at 93-93.

Los Angeles had one last chance, but Dallas stole the inbounds pass to send it to overtime.

"You're playing the best in the West, so you want to be considered a team that can compete with those guys, so on the road you have to find a way to win," Kidd said. "We put ourselves in that position twice in San Antonio and here in L.A. and now the next step is to find a way to win those games."

The Mavericks received a scare early in the fourth when Jason Terry, who was leading them in scoring at the time, went to the floor grabbing his right shoulder after a collision with Lakers guard Jordan Farmar in front of the Dallas bench. Terry left the court and went to the locker room under his own power before returning minutes later.

Like the Lakers with Gasol, the Mavericks made their big splash when they acquired Kidd from the New Jersey Nets for a host of players on February 19. Dallas is 4-3 since the trade.