Toronto, Canada – DALLAS (Reuters) - An ailing Kobe Bryant drained a game-winning jump shot with 28 seconds remaining to pull the sliding Los Angeles Lakers to a 100-95 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday.
Plagued by an injured finger on his shooting hand as well as back spasms that forced him off court on Tuesday, Bryant delivered the big shot to break a 95-95 tie and help Los Angeles (30-9) snap a four-game road losing streak.
The Lakers closed the contest with free throws, spoiling the night for Dallas forward Dirk Nowitzki, who recorded 30 points in the losing cause to surpass 20,000 points over his career.
Bryant was otherwise quiet, scoring just 10 points and attempted 11 shots as big men Andrew Bynum, who got 22 points and 11 rebounds, and Lamar Odom (18 and 14) carried the load for the defending NBA champions.
"The idea coming into tonight's game (was) just to continue to search for what is going to take for us collectively as a team to play the type of game we need to play," Los Angeles guard Derek Fisher told reporters.
"We played a little more chess tonight because of Kobe's injuries."
Nowitzki also added 16 boards for the Mavericks (25-13), who trailed for much of the game but used an 8-0 run to tie the game with 42 seconds to go.
After Bryant's shot made it 97-95, Dallas center Erick Dampier was fouled and had a chance to tie the game but missed both his free throws.
The defeat was the second straight for the Mavericks, who lead the Southwest Division by just one half of a game.
Playing in their sixth straight contest without All-Star forward Pau Gasol, Los Angeles used a 7-0 run at the end of the third to take a 76-71 advantage.
They then had to fend off a hot streak by German Nowitzki, who tallied 15 points in the final period.
The Lakers own lethal weapon is enduring a tough stretch of injury and poor shooting and Bryant's latest effort was his third straight contest scoring less than 20 points.
Los Angeles, who blasted Dallas 131-96 last week, prevailed in a closer contest between the top teams in the Western Conference with a collective effort that included 16 points and 11 boards from Ron Artest.
"This was a fight," said Mavericks forward Shawn Marion. "They got some stops when they needed to and we didn't."
(Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles, editing by Nick Mulvenney)