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LOS ANGELES – Kobe Bryant had 23 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists in his 19th career triple-double, and the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Dallas Mavericks 101-81 Tuesday night in a key game for the two teams struggling to get into the Western Conference playoff picture.
Dwight Howard had 24 points and 12 rebounds while hitting seven fourth-quarter free throws for the Lakers (39-36), who had lost four of six before jumping to a big early lead on Dallas and hanging on to it throughout the second half.
With former coach Phil Jackson in attendance for Shaquille O'Neal's jersey retirement, Bryant put on a virtuoso performance while playing more than 47 minutes.
With the win, Los Angeles moved back into an eighth-place tie in the West with the Utah Jazz (39-36), who hold the tiebreaker edge on the Lakers.