Mon, Mar 14, 2011 - Page 18 News List

NBA: Kobe hurt as Lakers top Mavericks in key clash

WITH A TWIST:Kobe Bryant injured his left ankle in the third quarter after being rejected, but the Lakers stayed focused without their star, scoring eight straight points

AFP and AP, DALLAS

An injury scare for Lakers star Kobe Bryant didn’t slow the two-time defending NBA champions on Saturday as they defeated Dallas 96-91 in a key Western Conference matchup.

Bryant shot just six of 20 from the floor, but his 16 points included six in the 9-0 scoring run that the Lakers used to take the lead for good in the second quarter.

Late in the third quarter, Bryant came down awkwardly on his left ankle after having a shot blocked by Shawn Marion.

He lay on the court as Jason Kidd parlayed the turnover into a basket and then Bryant rose, hobbled a few steps and called a timeout.

He went to the locker room, but returned in the fourth period. It wasn’t immediately clear how serious his ankle injury was.

However, in the wake of the injury to Bryant, the Lakers didn’t waver. They scored eight straight points to extend their lead to 10.

With the victory, the Lakers improved to 47-20 and moved within a half game of the 47-19 Mavericks for second place in the Western Conference.

The two-time defending champions avenged a loss to the Mavs earlier this season and finished a tough four-game road trip 3-1.

The only defeat in the swing was a narrow loss at Miami. The Lakers had beaten the Western Conference-leading Spurs and Atlanta before they were out-hustled by the Heat.

“You’ve got to take it,” Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. “We wish we would have won the Miami game, but that’s past and we move forward. We have Orlando when we get home, so we’re just not even taking a breath.”

Jackson notched his 600th victory with the Lakers, becoming only the fifth coach in NBA history to reach that mark with one club.

Andrew Bynum led the Lakers with 22 points and 15 rebounds, while Pau Gasol had 18 points and Ron Artest added 12.

Dirk Nowitzki and Marion had 25 points each for the Mavericks. Marion added 12 rebounds, while Nowitzki notched 10 boards.

HORNETS 115, KINGS 103

In New Orleans, All-Star guard Chris Paul returned from concussion and scored a season-high 33 points with 15 assists in New Orleans’ victory over Sacramento.

David West scored 25 points, while former King Carl Landry added 20 for the Hornets, who have won four of five games and overtaken Portland for sixth place in the Western Conference.

Paul had missed two games after colliding with Cleveland’s Ramon Sessions in the third quarter of a March 6 triumph over the Cavaliers.

Without him the Hornets went 1-1, dropping a close decision at Chicago and rallying for a victory over Dallas.

Paul wanted to play against -Dallas, but coach Monty Williams said he thought the team were right to be cautious.

“To lose Chris for a few games, you don’t like it, but it’s something that you know is necessary and you err on the side of caution in situations like that,” Williams said. “Athletes want to play no matter what. That’s the reason why some of us are walking around limping, with fingers twisted, because you do stupid stuff, so sometimes somebody else has to be your brains. That’s what the doctors and trainers are there for.”

HEAT 118, GRIZZLIES 85

In Miami, Dwyane Wade had 28 points and nine assists, while -LeBron James scored 27 points despite taking the fourth quarter off as the Miami Heat ran away early to beat the Memphis Grizzlies.

Wade also had five blocks, four of them in a 55 second span of the opening quarter. The 33-point victory margin was Miami’s largest this season.

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