Lakers vs. Mavericks: In-game report
Lakers 100, Mavericks 95 (final)
Kobe Bryant came up with two big plays when it looked as if he couldn't, when it looked as if the back spasms he suffered from would stop him.
Andrew Bynum played big, producing a double-double with 22 points on eight-for-11 shooting and 11 rebounds.
The Lakers as a team came up big when it looked as if they would falter to a good Dallas Mavericks team.
Bryant, who had just 10 points, made a jumper with 28 seconds left for a two-point Lakers lead.
Then Bryant fouled Erick Dampier rather than give him a dunk attempt with 22 seconds left.
Dampier missed both free throws, leaving the Lakers ahead, 97-95.
Bynum made one of two free throws for a 98-95 Lakers lead with 20.3 seconds left.
That left the door open for the Mavericks.
But Josh Howard missed a three-point attempt to tie the score.
Jordan Farmar, who had a strong game off the bench for the Lakers, made two free throws for a 100-95 Lakers lead with 5.6 seconds left. Farmar finished with 12 points and five rebounds.
That allowed the Lakers to split this two-game trip and break a four-game losing streak on the road.
Dirk Nowitzki scored 30 points. That allowed him to reach the 20,000-point mark, with 20,014 points in his career.
Ron Artest had a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds, his best game in a while.
Lamar Odom also had a double-double with 18 points and 14 rebounds.
Lakers 76, Mavericks 71 (third quarter)
The Lakers closed out the third quarter with a rush, scoring seven straight points.
Kobe Bryant, playing with back spasms, scored eight points in the third, his first points of the game.
Andrew Bynum kept up his work, scoring 21 points through three quarters.
Lakers 49, Mavericks 45 (halftime)
With Kobe Bryant not playing the entire second quarter while he dealt with back spasms, the Lakers didn't fold against the Mavericks.
Ron Artest was fouled by Dirk Nowitzki trying to get a shot up before the halftime buzzer. Artest threw up a three-pointer from about 40 feet away from the basket. Artest made all three free throws with .2 seconds left for a four-point lead at the half.
Artest had 11 points in the first half. He was three for three from the field, five for six from the free-throw line.
Lamar Odom had eight points and six rebounds in the first half.
Bryant lay on his back for much of the second quarter, sitting up every now and then.
Andrew Bynum had 15 points in the first half, making all six of his shots.
Lakers 27, Mavericks 24 (first quarter)
Indeed, Kobe Bryant did start the first quarter for the Lakers, doing his best to ignore back spasms that limited his playing time against the Spurs.
Bryant missed his only shot in the first, a three-pointer that came up short.
He came out of the game with one minute left in the first. Bryant lay on his back on the court in front of the Lakers' bench, his legs elevated, a towel behind his neck.
Witihout his offense, the Lakers turned to center Andrew Bynum, who had 13 points in the first. He made all five of his shots. The only thing that slowed Bynum was picking up two fouls in the first, which forced him to take a seat on the bench with 2:48 left.
About an hour before Wednesday night's game between the Lakers and Dallas Mavericks, Kobe Bryant could be seen having his back stretched out by the team's training staff.
Bryant was getting himself prepared to play despite back spasms that limited him to 32 minutes against San Antonio on Tuesday night and had left him doubtful for tonight's game.
"I think he's going to give it a try," Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said.
Bryant was injured in the first quarter of Tuesday night's game. He played in the second and third quarters before shutting it down for the entire fourth.
Bryant didn't sound optimistic after the Spurs' game about playing Wednesday night.
But Jackson said. Bryant started getting treatment about 5 a.m. Wednesday and spent the entire day trying to get physically ready to play in the game.
Jackson was asked if he would pull Bryant if he's physically unable to help the team.
"If he hurts our effort on the floor, you have to do that as a coach," Jackson said.
Bryant also has an avulsion fracture on his right index finger to go along with his back spasms.
When asked if he would consider shutting Bryant down because of all his injuries, Jackson replied:
"I don't see why, unless he's hurting the team out there," Jackson said. "...I just don't see that happening."
Lakers power forward Pau Gasol, who missed his sixth consecutive game with a strained left hamstring, still has targeted Friday as a return date to play against the Clippers at Staples Center.
Jackson said Gasol had a good workout Wednesday and wants to practice with the team Thursday in Los Angeles.
"I'll throw DJ (Mbenga) at him and let DJ pound on him a little bit and see how it works out with that," Jackson said.
Mbenga is a physical player who commits a lot of fouls when he plays, so one can only imagine what practice against him would be like.
Jackson was told that could be dangerous for Gasol.
"He needs that," Jackson said, smiling.
Ron Artest taped up his right index finger sprain and prepared to play against Dallas.
Sasha Vujacic, who has a strained right hamstring, was going to test his injury before the game and then decide whether he could play.
-- Broderick Turner