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Dirk Nowitzki
Lakers, without Kobe Bryant again, lose to Mavericks, 102-98
Lakers, without Kobe Bryant again, lose to Mavericks, 102-98

The Lakers played another game without Kobe Bryant and might have learned something about themselves. Mainly, they're not that bad sometimes. They played the Dallas Mavericks to a near-draw before falling Friday, 102-98, and were left to ponder a series of what-ifs afterward. What if Nick Young hadn't started one for 10? What if Wesley Johnson hadn't finished three for 14? And the big one, as always, what if Bryant played instead of taking a third game off for rest? It's a series of hypotheticals in a Lakers season as real as their 9-21 record. If nothing else, there was progress, because the Mavericks hammered the Lakers here last month, 140-106, shooting 62.2%...

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