Thursday, March 22, 2012

Bryant’s 30 points, Gasol’s 27 points and 9 rebounds send Lakers to 109-93 win over Mavericks

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DALLAS — The Los Angeles Lakers expect offensive production from Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol. Now they’re learning what newcomer Ramon Sessions can do.
Bryant scored 30 points, Gasol added 27 points and nine rebounds, and the Lakers stopped the Dallas Mavericks’ four-game winning streak with a 109-93 victory on Wednesday night.

Los Angeles Lakers forward Pau Gasol defends against Dallas Mavericks guard Vince Carter (25) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, March 21, 2012, in Dallas.
Sessions contributed 17 points and nine assists in his fourth game since he was acquired in a trade with Cleveland on March 15. Sessions’ ability to penetrate into the heart of the defense led to points for himself and easy shots for teammates.

“The kid Sessions made the game easy for everybody,” Lakers coach Mike Brown said. “He had a very good all-around game. You can see how his speed can help us, his ability to ... turn the corner and get into the teeth of the defense.”
Gasol said Sessions brings something fresh to the mix.
“He definitely is a point guard that creates a lot of pick-and-rolls, and gets us points in transition, too,” said Gasol, who went 13 for 16 from the field. “He gets in the lane, and he can knock down the shot himself.”
Sessions is learning the Lakers’ offense on the fly.
“(Tuesday) night was the first time I was really in the game down the stretch, and I didn’t feel I really knew the plays,” Sessions said. “I went over them today, and I feel more confident now.”
Dirk Nowitzki had 26 points and 10 rebounds, and Jason Terry scored 23 points for the defending NBA champion Mavericks, who fell to 0-3 against the Lakers this season.
The Lakers ended a two-game skid and have won six of eight overall. They were on the second leg of a back-to-back following Tuesday night’s 107-104 loss at Houston.
The Lakers broke open the game with a 24-6 spurt in the second quarter, capped by consecutive 3-pointers from Matt Barnes and Sessions for a 51-38 advantage.
Barnes and Bryant added 3-pointers during the decisive run, with the Lakers building a 57-44 halftime edge.
Los Angeles shot 57 percent (25 for 44) in the first half, led by Gasol’s 6 for 7 and Sessions’ 5 for 6.

Bryant pulled off a spectacular three-point play midway through the third quarter, first spinning in a no-look reverse layup after Gasol’s alley-oop pass. He was fouled on the attempt by Jason Kidd, and Bryant added a free throw that put his team in front, 69-55.
Dallas finished the third quarter with a 12-6 run to narrow the deficit to 80-72.
But the Lakers took control by opening the final quarter with a 10-4 spurt, capped by Gasol’s 3-pointer with 8:04 left for a 90-76 lead.
“It was tough all night,” Nowitzki said. “You give up (58 percent shooting by the Lakers) on your home floor, that won’t cut it. Every time we made a little push, they answered.”
Mavericks starters Shawn Marion (sore left knee) and Brendan Haywood (sprained right knee) each missed their third straight game. Dallas is also minus a third starter, Delonte West, who sat out his 18th straight game with a fractured right ring finger.
Marion tried to talk his way back into the lineup, but was overruled by coach Rick Carlisle and team medical personnel. Carlisle said it wouldn’t be fair to Marion “to throw him out there against Kobe Bryant” after a layoff.
The Mavericks especially missed Marion’s defense against Bryant. In the first two meetings, Bryant went 11 for 37 from the floor and scored a total of 29 points with Marion as the primary defender.
This time, Bryant went 11 for 18, although Carlisle refused to use Marion’s absence as an excuse.

“We can’t bellyache about guys being out with injuries,” Carlisle said. “It’s one of the realities of the season. I’m not into that.”
It was another tough night for former Laker Lamar Odom, who finished with one point, one rebound and one assist in almost 24 minutes.
“I’m not going to blame it on anything,” Odom said. “It’s just something I have to figure out.”
NOTES: Los Angeles has taken 13 of the last 16 regular-season meetings with Dallas, but the Mavs swept a four-game playoff series from the Lakers last season. ... The Lakers held a 30-15 advantage in the second quarter, hitting 13 of 24 field goal attempts while Dallas was going 5 for 20. ... Los Angeles owned a 17-6 rebounding edge in the second quarter. ... Mavericks owner Mark Cuban’s take on Oklahoma City’s signing of ex-Laker G Derek Fisher: “I hope he disrupts their locker room...but I hope there’s disruption in every locker room but us.” ... Lakers coach Mike Brown wished Fisher well, saying, “That’s great. I’m happy for him and his family. He’s a winner. He’ll be able to help them out.”

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