LOS ANGELES - Kobe Bryant's late heroics lifted the Los Angeles Lakers to a 108-104 overtime victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday in the National Basketball Association.
Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts to a call during a game in February 2008. Bryant's late heroics lifted the Los Angeles Lakers to a 108-104 overtime victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday in the National Basketball Association. [Agencies]
Bryant scored 30 of his season-high 52 points during the final quarter and overtime - including scoring Los Angeles' final 14 points in regulation.
Spain's Pau Gasol added 17 points and 14 rebounds for the Lakers, who have won 11 of their last 12 games and 12 of 14 since acquiring Gasol from Memphis.
"To say one single thing did it, Kobe Bryant is probably the reason we didn't lose," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said.
"We want to send a message that we are for real, that we're going to compete and hopefully we'll need to be dealt with," said Bryant, who posted 50-plus points for the 22nd time in his career.
"He has these nights, lots of these," Mavericks coach Avery Johnson said.
Jason Kidd notched 15 points, 11 assists and six rebounds for Dallas. But he missed a potential game-tying free throw which could have sent the game to double-overtime.
Kidd was fouled while making a layup by Gasol with 10 seconds left in the extra session, but his free throw bounced off the rim.
"I felt confident at the free-throw line, but I just left it short," Kidd said. "You can never leave it short if you want it to go in, so that falls on my shoulders. To tie the game, I have to be able to step up and make that free throw."
Dirk Nowitzki, who had 30 points, had a shot to tie but came up empty with two seconds left in overtime.
The Lakers, who saw their 10-game winning streak snapped on Friday in Portland, made their move late in the game.
After Lamar Odom missed on two free-throw attempts with six seconds to play in regulation, Bryant got the rebound and was fouled immediately, hitting both shots from the line to put the Lakers up 93-90.
Dallas called a timeout to advance the ball, and Nowitzki inbounded and got the ball back before hitting a 3-pointer with two seconds left to knot the score at 93-93.
The Lakers had one more opportunity, but the Mavericks stole the inbounds pass to send the contest to overtime.