LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Lakers made it interesting, leading a playoff-bound Western Conference contender for most of Sunday night. (An accomplishment in and of itself.)
But when the Dallas Mavericks decided they were tired of letting a bottom-feeder hang around, they put the Lakers out of their misery -- and in a hurry.
The Mavericks (41-24) used a late 16-1 run to pull off a 100-93 win, snapping a two-game skid. The Lakers (16-46) have lost five straight games.
Turning point: Lakers forward Carlos Boozer scored inside with 6:35 left in the fourth, giving the Lakers a 90-84 lead. The Lakers didn't make another field goal until Wayne Ellington made a meaningless, unguarded layup at the buzzer. Between those buckets, the Mavericks used a 16-1 run to take control.
Player of the game: Mavericks guard Monta Ellis scored a game-high 31 points, including 26 in the second half and 18 in the third quarter when his team cut a nine-point lead to two ending the fourth quarter. He finished 12-of-22 from the field, hitting 5-of-7 from 3-point range. He also hit a dagger 3-pointer with 2:04 left that put the Mavericks ahead 98-91.
Recruiting visit? Kobe Bryant sat on the Lakers' bench for the first time since suffering a season-ending shoulder injury Jan. 21. Why is that interesting? Oh, just because his return to the sidelines occurred on a night when Dallas Mavericks point guard Rajon Rondo was in the building.
Rondo is an unrestricted free agent and Bryant has said he plans to recruit the four-time All-Star to the Lakers this summer, telling the Boston Herald in January that he won't be deterred even though Rondo is now with a contending team in Dallas.
"No way," Bryant told the Herald in January. "I'm not done. I'm not stopping until he signs an extension."
Rondo didn't play his best game, with eight points, nine assists, four rebounds and three turnovers. He shot 4-of-10 from the field.
Stat of the game: The Lakers out-rebounded the Mavs 47-33 and also outscored them in the paint, 46-30. The difference? The Mavericks outscored the Lakers from beyond the arc, hitting 9 3-pointers while the Lakers hit just two.
Top Lakesr: Boozer scored 17 off the bench to go along with 8 rebounds, and Jordan Clarkson added 15 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists.