Kobe's long 3-pointer lifts Lakers over Mavs

DALLAS (AP) -- Lamar Odom has a pretty good theory on why Kobe Bryant shoots so much.

"It's hard not to shoot the ball when you can make shots from

everywhere," Odom said.

Bryant gave several more eye-popping examples Monday night,

making a spectacular layup in the third quarter, then swishing a

jumper from about 30 feet while falling away with a hand in his

face, the shot clock expiring and 34.9 seconds left to send the Los

Angeles Lakers past the Dallas Mavericks 109-106.

The Lakers went from leading by 11 before halftime to trailing

most of the second half until Bryant, who scored 43 points, tied it

at 97 with a 3-pointer. Los Angeles was down by two when Bryant

lost the ball at the top of the key, chased it down and heaved up

the go-ahead 3 with defender Adrian Griffin coming at him.

"That's backyard stuff," Bryant said.

Bryant, Luke Walton and Smush Parker all made key plays the rest

of the way, capping a 4-1 road trip for the Lakers and giving them

five wins in six games. It also ended Dallas' five-game winning


"It's a confidence builder for this team," Los Angeles coach

Phil Jackson said. "It shows we can overcome odds."

The Mavericks had their chances to pull out the win, but

couldn't get it done. Jason Terry missed a 3-pointer in the closing

seconds and Lamar Odom batted away the rebound, conking Dirk

Nowitzki in the face as he followed through. Nowitzki, who had 27

points and 15 rebounds, was sprawled on the court for several

minutes after time expired.

"My neck popped a little bit," he said. "I'll be stiff

tomorrow, but I'll be all right."

He was bothered more by Dallas' lousy defense, especially in the

first half, when Bryant made eight of his first 11 shots and scored

27 points. He was about to have more when seldom-used Mavs center

D.J. Mbenga made a phenomenal block on a dunk attempt in the final

minute of the second quarter.

Bryant struggled in the third quarter, missing three straight

shots and having a turnover during a 10-0 run that put Dallas in

control. Although he went 2-of-10 in the period, that included a

twisting, scooping, bank shot along the baseline that even Michael

Jordan and Julius Erving would be proud of.

The fourth quarter opened with Bryant on the bench for the first

time all game. The rest certainly helped when he put up the big

shot over Griffin.

"He said he wasn't ready to come out," Jackson said. "But

then he sat down for a while, came back, and made a shot like that.

We wanted him to rest his legs. Your legs can suffer when you take

as many shots as he does."

DeSagana Diop had a chance to tie it for Dallas after that, but

missed his second foul shot. Los Angeles stretched the lead to four

on a free throw by Bryant and a pair by Walton, who had rebounded

Bryant's missed second free throw.

After a 3-pointer by Devin Harris got the Mavericks back within

one with 8.5 seconds left, Parker made two free throws.

Kwame Brown was 6-of-6 for 12 points, half coming in the final

quarter, and Odom had 15 points and 11 rebounds. Chris Mihm scored


Marquis Daniels scored 23, Terry had 20 and Harris 19 for


Mavs forward Josh Howard returned to the lineup after missing

eight games with an ankle injury. He started and had four points

and three rebounds in 11 minutes, all in the first half. His return

might be good timing as forward Keith Van Horn bruised his right

hip in the second quarter and didn't return. He's scheduled to have

an MRI exam and an X-ray on Tuesday.

Diop had seven points and eight rebounds. Starting center Erick

Dampier had only two points and four rebounds. He went to the bench

after picking up his fifth foul midway through the third quarter

and didn't return.

"We were just battling uphill all night," Dallas coach Avery

Johnson said. "We couldn't get it in gear tonight."Game notes
The Mavericks took a season-high 44 free throws but missed

10, including four in the fourth quarter. ... The Lakers improved

to 3-4 against the Mavericks since ending a 46-5 run of dominance

against them. ... Bryant's 43 points matched his second-most this

season. It's the most by an opposing player against Dallas this

season. ... Lakers part-owner Magic Johnson, in town for his other

business ventures, visited the Los Angeles locker room prior to the