Thursday , Dec , 04 , 2003 C.Y. Ellis

Winning streaks on the line in Dallas

Dallas, TX (Sports Network) – A battle of the Western Conference’s elite
takes place tonight, as the Los Angeles Lakers go for their eighth straight
win when they land in Dallas to face Steve Nash and the Mavericks at American
Airlines Center.

The Mavs, who are expected to be without forward Dirk Nowitzki, come into
tonight’s contest on a two-game winning streak and sporting a perfect 10-0
record at home. The last time Dallas, which has won 13 straight overall in
front of their home crowd, lost at home was on April 3 to the Lakers.

This is the second meeting between the two teams. The Lakers defeated the
Mavericks, 109-93, on October 28th at the Staples Center in the season-opener
for both squads.

The Lakers enter tonight’s contest fresh off a tough 90-86 victory over the
San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday at the SBC Center.

Kobe Bryant scored 10 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter, helping the
Lakers rally for the win over the Spurs.

Gary Payton and Karl Malone each finished with 16 points as all five Laker
starters ended in double digits to help them overcome a 15-point deficit
against San Antonio. Devean George added 18 and Shaquille O’Neal had 15
points, 16 rebounds and nine blocks for Los Angeles.

The Lakers, who have won four straight over the Mavericks, have won four of
six and 12 of their last 15 at Dallas.

LA, which has won two in a row on the road, is 5-3 as the visitor this season

Antawn Jamison scored 21 points and Michael Finley posted 16 points and 12
rebounds, as the Mavericks won their 13th in a row at home, with a 97-72
trashing of the Washington Wizards.

Nash contributed 14 points on Tuesday for Dallas, which has won six of
its last eight contests overall. Antoine Walker finished with eight points, 10
rebounds and seven assists in the victory and Eduardo Najera had 11 points and
11 rebounds for the Mavericks.

“We can’t play like this and beat the Lakers, we know that,” Jamison said
after the Washington game. “You win by 20-something and something must be
going right. But we’ll have to be better Thursday.”

Nowitzki, who was injured against Phoenix on November 26, missed his third
straight game Tuesday with a sprained right ankle.