On Sunday, the Los Angeles Lakers outlasted the Dallas Mavericks to record a massive 103-99 win in Texas.
Kobe Bryant carried the Lakers to victory for the second game in a row and the 9,999th time in his career. After going for 40 points on Friday night against the Blazers, the Mamba went for 38 points on Sunday morning against the Mavericks.
Bryant’s 38 points, 12 rebounds, and seven assists do not entirely convey how crucial the Mamba’s contribution was to Lakers’ 10th road win of the season. In a game that was close from start to finish, Bryant’s near-perfect fourth quarter was the vital difference for the Lakers.
He scored 14 points on a perfect 5-5 from the field in the final quarter. Regardless of how easily the Mavericks scored on the Lakers, Bryant’s confidence and focus did not waver.
“That’s why he’s Kobe Bryant,” Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said after the game. “That’s what he does. That’s what he loves. That’s what he trains for.”
Along with the memorable fourth quarter, Bryant also finally broke out of his three-point shooting slump. Entering Dallas, Bryant had only converted two of his last 37 three-point attempts. On Sunday, the 34-year-old shot 4-5 from behind the arc. Bryant credited some extra work in practice to overcome the recent struggles from distance.
Bryant played an incredible game and willed his team to a massive win.
“[Bryant] was in that zone where he couldn’t miss,” teammate Dwight Howard said after the game. “It was fun to watch.”
Howard only scored nine points on 2-7 from the field, but he was a major contributor on the defensive end of the floor. Howard has welcomed a muted offensive role in the last two games and turned up his volume on defense. With the Lakers winning both games, no one seems to be complaining.
“Dwight [Howard] really altered the game for us defensively,” Bryant complimented his center after the game.
After allowing the Mavericks to score 30 points in the opening period—when Howard was forced out of the game due to foul trouble—the Lakers still managed to hold Dallas to under 100 points for the game.
For those who tuned in on Sunday morning at 10 a.m. Pacific Time, they saw the ageless Kobe Bryant do what he does best—take over a close game in the fourth quarter.
En route to Denver for a Monday night game, the Los Angeles Lakers are 2.5 games back of the final playoffs spot and only one game below .500.