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Bryant Leads Lakers With Offense and Defense

Associated Press
Friday, March 11, 2005; Page D06

Kobe Bryant scored 36 points and made two huge plays on each end of the court in the last 1 minute 20 seconds, giving the Los Angeles Lakers a nice start to a long road trip with a 100-95 victory over the Mavericks last night in Dallas.

Bryant, who also had nine rebounds, grabbed one of them after Dallas missed two potential go-ahead shots with just over a minute left. He took it all the way for a layup that put the Lakers up by three points, then came back and swatted the ball from Dirk Nowitzki from behind on a jump shot.

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Bryant scooped up the loose ball and fed Jumaine Jones for a layup, but he missed and Bryant wound up putting it back in for a 98-93 lead with 58 seconds left.

Nowitzki, who scored 25 points but shot just 6 of 19, missed a three-pointer with 11 seconds left that would have tied it at 98.

Los Angeles had lost three straight games on the road. The Lakers play 15 of their final 23 away from home.

The Mavericks lost for the fifth time in seven games, even with Nowitzki and Michael Finley -- their top two scorers -- returning from injuries. Dallas was still short-handed as Coach Don Nelson started a three-game layoff to care for his wife, recovering from surgery. Erick Dampier (foot) and Jerry Stackhouse (groin) also were out.

• HEAT 107, TIMBERWOLVES 90: Shaquille O'Neal had 33 points and 13 rebounds and host Miami rode an 18-2 second-half surge to its seventh straight victory. Dwyane Wade added 20 points for the Heat, which won its 11th straight at home and expanded its lead in the Eastern Conference to eight games over idle Detroit.

Miami (47-16) has 19 regular season games remaining.


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