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Lakers' late rally falls short in 102-98 loss to the Mavericks

The Lakers competed well against the Dallas Mavericks on Friday night but ultimately fell short to the NBA's highest-scoring team, 102-98.

A late run got the Lakers to within three points of the Mavericks in the final seconds, but Monta Ellis split a pair of free throws with 3.5 seconds on the clock.  Nick Young's final three-point attempt didn't fall and the Lakers lost their second consecutive game.

Young, like most of his teammates, struggled to make shots for most of the game before catching fire in the final quarter. The Lakers shot only 36.4% from the field but dominated the Mavericks on the offensive glass, 24-6.

The Lakers' 63 misses from the field had something to do with the discrepancy; Dallas shot 50.6% from the field, missing just 41 shots. The Lakers also had 16 turnovers to the Mavericks’ 13.

Mavericks point guard Rajon Rondo led all scorers with 21 points and finished with eight rebounds and seven assists. The Mavericks had six players in double figures, including...

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Lakers at Dallas Mavericks preview

The Lakers (9-20) may play their third straight game without Kobe Bryant on Friday night, visiting the Dallas Mavericks (20-10).

Resting from a laundry list of aches and pains, Bryant sat out the team's win over the Golden State Warriors (23-5) and a loss on Christmas Day to the Chicago Bulls (20-9).

The Mavericks, still adjusting to the acquisition of former Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo, have lost two in a row.

The Lakers are still down Xavier Henry (Achilles' tendon), Ryan Kelly (hamstring), Steve Nash (back) and Julius Randle (leg). 

Key matchup

After his trade from Boston, Rondo has played three games for the Mavericks, averaging almost 10.7 points and 9.3 assists a game -- nearly a double-double.

Though he's not a great shooter, hitting 40% from the field, 27% from three-point range and a paltry 33.3% at the free-throw line, Rondo is still a high-impact contributor with his playmaking.

The Mavericks are loaded with scorers, including Dirk Nowitzki, Monta Ellis and...

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Five takeaways from Lakers' loss to Chicago

The Lakers didn’t go undefeated without Kobe Bryant. In fact, they were very defeated Thursday. Here are five takeaways from their 113-93 loss in Chicago on Christmas Day.

1) Sorry, Nick Young. On Thursday, “IDM” stood for I Definitely Miss. He made one of six shots and had his minutes shortened in a game in which the Lakers badly needed him. “He wasn’t defending and he wasn’t getting nothin’ going offensively,” Coach Byron Scott said.

2) The Lakers miss Pau Gasol. Do they ever. The most surprising stat for him this season is his two blocked shots a game. It’s been almost 10 years since he did this well defensively. Add his 23 points, 13 rebounds and two assists Thursday and, yeah, he could help the Lakers.

3) It wasn’t a bad game until the Lakers were absolutely hammered on the boards in the last quarter. The Bulls had 18 rebounds, the Lakers only nine, and that was that.

4) Strange game for Jordan Clarkson. The rookie had two astonishing plays, but not both for the better. He had a...

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Bulls pull away late to beat the Lakers, 113-93

Without Kobe Bryant, the Lakers fell apart late and lost to the Chicago Bulls, 113-93, Thursday at United Center.

Wesley Johnson had 19 points as Bryant sat out a second consecutive game so he could rest.

The Lakers (9-20) trailed by only six points going into the fourth quarter but couldn't overtake Chicago, giving way rapidly in the game's final few minutes.

Chicago forward Pau Gasol had 23 points and 13 rebounds in his first game against his former team. He also had three assists and two blocked shots. Then he shared a long embrace with Bryant after the game.

Jimmy Butler had 21 points and Derrick Rose added 20 for the Bulls (20-9).

The Bulls had 57 rebounds, including 20 on the offensive end. The Lakers had 39 rebounds.

Nick Young and Jeremy Lin struggled on offense, combining to make three of 14 shots. Young played only 17 minutes primarily because his defense was lacking, Coach Byron Scott said.

Bryant cited "old age" when asked beforehand why he sat out the game. He said there...

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Kobe Bryant to miss Christmas Day game against Bulls so he can rest

Kobe Bryant will sit out the Christmas Day game against the Chicago Bulls, the second consecutive game he has missed so he can rest.

“Old age,” Bryant gave as the main reason.

“My knees are sore at this stage of the season. My Achilles' are sore, both of them. Metatarsals are tight. Back’s tight. I just need to kind of hit the reset button.”

He worked with a Lakers physical therapist for an hour and a half Thursday morning, “taking care of every part of my body,” he said.

“When I have a couple days [off], what happens is the body realizes how messed up it is. So everything else starts hurting,” Bryant explained. “It’s tough with our health team here, trying to find new ways of doing it because there’s really no blueprint for playing this long, at this position at least, in the NBA. We’re really trying to figure new things out, trying to see what’s out there, trying to see what works, what doesn’t work. It’s constantly experimenting.”

Bryant said he would try to figure out which parts...

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Lakers at Chicago Bulls preview

The Lakers (9-19) upset the Golden State Warriors (23-4) on Tuesday night at Staples Center, despite playing without Kobe Bryant, who sat out to rest his tired legs.

On Christmas Day, the Lakers will visit Pau Gasol and the Chicago Bulls (19-9), one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference.

Gasol left the Lakers as a free agent this past summer, choosing to play with a contender in Chicago.

The Bulls have been dealing with a number of injuries, including Gasol's, playing through a chest contusion.  Rookie Doug McDermott is out and Kirk Hinrich has been sidelined recently with a hamstring strain.

The Lakers are still down Xavier Henry (Achilles), Ryan Kelly (hamstring), Steve Nash (back) and Julius Randle (leg).  The Kings will be without Andrew Bogut (knee). 

Key matchup

The more pressing matchup for the Lakers may not be anyone on the Bulls, but internally.

Can the Lakers play the kind of team ball that devastated the Warriors on Tuesday with Bryant in the lineup?

Bryant has always...

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