Kobe Bryant scored 14 points in the fourth quarter to help lead the Los Angeles Lakers to a 103-99 win over the Dallas Mavericks. The game was close throughout as both teams are desperately trying to make their way back into the playoff picture in the Western Conference.
Bryant's jumper with 46.9 left gave the Lakers a 101-97 lead. A shot in the lane by Dirk Nowitzki cut the lead to just two. Dallas sent Metta World Peace to the free throw line where he went 1-2 to put L.A. up, 102-99. After a scramble on the ensuing possession, O.J. Mayo's three-point attempt missed and Bryant iced the game with a free throw at the other end.
Bryant continues to play out of his mind leading the Lakers with a game-high 38 points on 13-of-21 shooting. He also collected 12 rebounds to go along with seven assists. Steve Nash chipped in 20 points while Antawn Jamison finished with 13 off the bench. Dwight Howard struggled for most of the afternoon but was a factor defensively in the fourth quarter and finished the game with nine points and 13 rebounds.
With the win, Los Angeles pulls to within one game of the .500 mark with a 28-29 record. They currently trail the Houston Rockets by 2.5 games for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.