Friday , Dec , 05 , 2003 C.Y. Ellis

Lakers lasso Mavs for eighth straight win

Dallas, TX (Sports Network) – Kobe Bryant poured in a game-high 32 points to
lead the red-hot Los Angeles Lakers to a 114-103 win over the Dallas Mavericks
at American Airlines Center.

Shaquille O’Neal posted 25 points, hauled in 19 rebounds and handed out five
assists for the Lakers, who have won eight straight games and improved their
league-best record to 16-3.

Gary Payton chipped in 17 points and eight assists for Los Angeles, which
never trailed in the game and has defeated the Mavericks five straight times

Steve Nash scored 30 points and had eight assists for Dallas, which had its
two-game winning streak halted. Antoine Walker added 24 points and 12 rebounds
for the Mavericks, who lost for the first time this season at home (10-1).

Dallas played without forward Dirk Nowitzki for the fourth straight game as
the All-Star continues to be bothered by a sprained right ankle.

Los Angeles jumped out to a 14-2 lead on Bryant’s basket with just over seven
minutes left in the first quarter and the lead rose to 17 points at 23-8 on
O’Neal’s dunk moments later. However, Dallas fought back and trimmed the
deficit to 31-20 after one period.

In the second, Stanislav Medvedenko’s jumper stretched the Lakers edge to
40-25 with just over eight minutes left in the quarter. The Mavericks then
used an 11-4 spurt, highlighted by nine from Nash, to close within 44-36.

Los Angeles went into the locker room with a 51-42 lead. O’Neal had 15 points
and 12 rebounds, while Nash also scored 15 in the opening 24 minutes.

The Lakers led 60-50 early in the third quarter, but Los Angeles ran off seven
straight points to seize a commanding 17-point edge. The margin grew to 18
later in the frame and the Lakers led 82-72 after three periods.

The Mavericks closed within eight points at 104-96 with just over two minutes
remaining in the game, but could not get any closer.

The Lakers have won 13 of their last 16 games in Dallas. Los Angeles also
defeated the Mavericks 109-93 on opening night at the Staples Center.