Bryant & Gasol Lead Lakers Over Mavericks
DALLAS (AP) – 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.
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.”
(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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