Lakers vs. Mavericks final score: Kobe Bryant lifts L.A. to 103-99 win

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Kobe Bryant scored 14 of his 38 points in the fourth quarter to help the Lakers hold off the Mavericks, 103-99.

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.

Nowitzki turned in one of his best performances of the season with 30 points and 13 rebounds. Vince Carter chipped in 15 points off the bench while Elton Brand added 14.

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.

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