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Lakers fall to Mavericks, 90-82, in Kobe Bryant’s return

Kobe Bryant and Dirk Nowitzki

Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki works in the post against Lakers guard Kobe Bryant during a Nov. 13 game in Dallas.

(Paul Moseley / Fort Worth Star-Telegram)

The Lakers continued to struggle Friday night, falling to the Mavericks, 90-82, in Dallas.

After a quick start that saw the Lakers go up by 10 points in the first quarter, the Mavericks quickly pulled ahead by five points before the start of the second period. Dallas pushed ahead by no more than 10, the Lakers able to stay close throughout.

With a minute left in the game and the Lakers down 85-82, center Roy Hibbert fouled out contesting a drive by Zaza Pachulia. The Dallas center hit one of his two free throws to put the Mavericks up by four.

After a time out, Kobe Bryant missed a contested three-point attempt early in the possession. Metta World Peace stole the ball from Pachulia on the rebound, but missed a wide-open look for three in the left corner. That was the game.

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World Peace, who has been the team’s best shooter this season, missed all nine of his shots on Friday. The Lakers shot 33% from the field and committed 22 turnovers.

Bryant returned from a back injury with one his best shooting nights this season, scoring 19 points by making seven of 15 shots, including three of eight from long range. The veteran guard, in what is likely his final NBA appearance in Dallas, also had six turnovers.

Jordan Clarkson led the Lakers with 21 points. The Mavericks were paced by Pachulia, who finished with 18 points and 16 rebounds. Deron Williams scored 13 but veteran all-star forward Dirk Nowitzki was held to single digits with nine points on four-of-13 shooting. Dwight Powell notched a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds.

Lou Williams scored 10 for the Lakers, while Julius Randle struggled with six points, four turnovers and five personal fouls. Randle led the Lakers with 10 rebounds.

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The Lakers did improve defensively, holding the Mavericks to 36.6% shooting from the field, but Dallas was able to get important baskets from Pachulia and Williams down the stretch. The Mavericks turned the ball over 15 times, while making 23 of 29 (79.3%) free throws. The Lakers converted 15 of 18 (83.3%) free throws.

The Lakers (1-8) have dropped four straight. They’re set to return home from a 1-4 road trip to host the Detroit Pistons (5-3) on Sunday. The Mavericks (5-4) visit the Houston Rockets (4-5) on Saturday.

Email Eric Pincus at eric.pincus@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus


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