Tue, Mar 17, 2009 - Page 19 News List

NBA: Bryant, Ariza lead Lakers comeback against Dallas

AGENCIES , LOS ANGELES

The Milwaukee Bucks’ Keith Bogans, right, is called for a charge as he runs into the Boston Celtics’ Mikki Moore, left, and Paul Pierce during the second half of their game in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on Sunday.

PHOTO: AP

Kobe Bryant scored 28 points as the Los Angeles Lakers rallied after squandering a third quarter lead to beat the Dallas Mavericks 107-100 on Sunday.

Bryant added eight rebounds and five assists while Trevor Ariza contributed a career-high 26 points to help the Lakers improve their Western Conference leading record to 53-13.

Los Angeles coach Phil Jackson lauded Ariza’s play.

“Yes it’s important to score points and Trevor had a good night tonight in the first half particularly, but his defense and his ability to change things up made the difference,” he said. “That’s what he did late in the ball game that gave us a chance to get the lead back and continue. That was really important.”

The Lakers held a 15-point lead midway through the third quarter, but the Mavericks went on a 31-14 run that gave Dallas a 95-89 lead. Los Angeles answered with a 12-0 run after that to reclaim the lead.

Bryant also praised Ariza for his part in the win.

“He just knocked down the shots that we see him knock down in practice all the time,” he said. “He works extremely hard on his game, he’s extremely patient and very efficient.”

Pau Gasol added 25 points for the Lakers, who have clinched the Pacific Division title and are battling the Cleveland Cavaliers for the best record in the NBA.

Jason Terry scored 29 points, while Dirk Nowitzki added 20 for Dallas (40-27), who are the eighth seed in the Western Conference.

“We got in a hole and we dug ourselves out of it,” Terry said. “We definitely thought we had a chance to pull it out. This will help our confidence as we get closer to the end of the season. They are one of the better teams in the NBA and we stayed right with them.”

BUCKS 86, CELTICS 77

At Milwaukee, Charlie Villanueva scored 11 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter to help the Bucks hold off Boston.

Kendrick Perkins scored a career-high 26 points with 12 rebounds, but had little help from anybody else.

In other games it was:

• Suns 154, Warriors 130

• Clippers 107, Nets 105

• Cavaliers 98, Knicks 93

• Magic 105, Jazz 87

• 76ers 85, Heat 77

• Hawks 98, Trail Blazers 80

• Grizzlies 89, Pistons 84

• Raptors 110, Pacers 87

• Wizards 106, Kings 104

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