While they may be few and far between, Latinos are a growing force in the NBA.
Pau Gasol was more than happy to come off the bench and help the Los Angeles Lakers trounce over a Nowitzki-less Dallas Mavericks' team.
A night after sitting the entire fourth quarter at Memphis, Gasol had 13 points and nine rebounds proving that the Lakers have scoring beyond Kobe Bryant in Mike D'Antoni's offense.
Metta World Peace hit three quick 3-pointers to spark a Los Angeles barrage from long range, and the Lakers scored 36 points before Bryant took his first shot in a 115-89 blowout of the Mavericks on Saturday night.
Once he started shooting, Bryant, the league's leading scorer, ended up joining World Peace among three Lakers with 19 points, and Los Angeles avoided its first 0-5 road start in nearly 20 years by scoring 100 points for the first time in four games under its hobbled coach.
"Metta played great. There was no reason not to," said D'Antoni, now 2-2 since joining the Los Angeles bench after knee replacement surgery. "The force that we had rolling, and the way the ball moves, he'll get it and he should get 10 3s a night."
Mayo didn't get any 3-pointers on this night, going 0 for 5 despite coming in as the league leader with 42 from long range. Harassed by tough defense from Bryant, he scored 13 points — nine below his average — and even missed the rim on a finger-roll layup attempt while starting 1 of 7 from the field.
"Oh man, terrific defense," Mayo said. "But a lot of them were missed open shots."
The Lakers don't expect their offense to find a high gear until Steve Nash returns from a leg injury, but they didn't need him against his old team, which will be missing his old running buddy, Dirk Nowitzki, for about another month at least.
Really, the Lakers didn't even need Bryant a night after he scored the final 14 Los Angeles points in a loss at Memphis. He hit his first shot early in the second quarter to put the Lakers up 41-23, and he made it a 20-point game on another bucket with 8:54 left in the half.
For good measure, Bryant hit a 3-pointer with 1.9 seconds left in the second quarter to give Los Angeles a 65-38 halftime lead.
Antawn Jamison was the other Los Angeles player with 19 points, and he had 15 rebounds to help the Lakers finish 2-2 in a stretch of four games in five nights and answer a surprising season-opening loss to the Mavericks that triggered a 1-4 start and the firing of coach Mike Brown.
"We have a lot of weapons offensively," Jamison said. "We've got to utilize that, and we weren't before this. We moved the ball the way we needed to."
World Peace scored the first 10 Los Angeles points and finished the first quarter with 16, finally missing his first shot on a 3-pointer just before the buzzer. He was 6 of 7 from the floor, including 4 of 5 from long range. The first points from someone else came on an alley-oop dunk by Dwight Howard from Bryant.
World Peace didn't score again until another 3-pointer in the fourth quarter, but other Lakers got into the long-range act. They made 8 of 10 from 3-point range and shot 59 percent overall before halftime. Jodie Meeks hit a pair of 3-pointers, and Bryant and Jamison had the others as the Mavericks gave up a season high in points for a half and a game.
"I thought (World Peace) was the one who got them going," Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. "It put them in a really tough mode defensively, and we didn't execute well against them."
Howard, coming off consecutive seven-point games, scored 15 points. He had just two blocks, but altered several other shots from driving Dallas guards in helping hold the Mavericks to 38 percent shooting in the decisive first half. Dallas shot 37 percent for the game.
Brandan Wright was the leading scorer for the Mavericks until the 7:40 mark of the second quarter after playing just 22 minutes total the previous five games. He didn't play at all in two of those games. He scored six of the first eight Dallas points on a pair of jumpers and a follow-up dunk.
Vince Carter, appearing in his 1,000th game, led the Mavericks with seven at halftime, and finished with a team-high 16 after hitting three 3-pointers in a meaningless second half as the Mavericks fell back to .500 in their 14th game without Nowitzki.
"We know he's not going to be back for a while," Carlisle said. "When we were 4-1, it wasn't a problem. We've got enough here to win games provided that everyone is doing their job, and tonight we didn't do it."
Rookie Jae Crowder scored 15 for Dallas, but 13 came with the outcome decided.
Based on reporting by the Associated Press.