for this game

Mavericks, Lakers both back to full strength

Apr 4, 2008 - 1:37 PM Dallas (47-28) at La Lakers (51-24) 10:30 pm EDT

LOS ANGELES (Ticker) - With their respective superstars back from injury, the Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers will both be at full strength on Friday when the teams meet in a crucial Western Conference matchup.

Pau Gasol, who missed nine games with a sprained left ankle which he suffered against the New Orleans Hornets on March 14, had 10 points, six rebounds and seven assists in his return for the Lakers, who forged a 104-91 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday.

While Gasol admitted his ankle is still not 100 percent healthy, the 7-footer's presence was valuable as he helped create offense for other players, including Kobe Bryant, who flirted with a triple-double, finishing with 36 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists.

The win also helped Los Angeles (51-24) to keep its hold on third place in the West, one-half game behind the second place San Antonio Spurs (52-23). The Lakers are one game ahead of Phoenix (50-25) for first place in the Pacific Division.

Dirk Nowitzki, the reigning NBA MVP, helped the Mavericks claim a 111-86 victory over the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday is his first game back after missing the previous four due to a high ankle sprain.

In 27 minutes, Nowitzki scored 18 points and added five rebounds.

The win kept Dallas (47-28) in possesion of seventh place in the West, one game ahead of the eighth-place Denver Nuggets (46-29).