By Kevin R. Linares
The Lakers beat the Dallas Mavericks in the Staples Center 101 to 81 in a must win game for Los Angeles. Coming into the game the Lakers were a game and a half ahead of the Mavericks in 9th place and with the win are now 2 and a half games ahead. The Mavericks were making a late run to make it into the playoffs and with a win would have been a serious threat for Los Angeles.
The Lakers were without their point guard Steve Nash who is out with injury. Nash has two days to rest and will determine whether he will play Friday but is expected to give it a try. The purple and gold dominated most of the game and were led by Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant. Dwight Howard had a double double scoring 24 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. Kobe had an impressive game with a triple double scoring 23 points, dishing out 11 assists and added 11 rebounds as well. Earl Clark played one of his best games after having somewhat of a slump and returning to the bench with Pau Gasol returning. He had 17 points and played well on defense blocking 5 shots. Pau Gasol had another solid game with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Only 7 games remain in the regular season and they find themselves out of the playoffs behind the Utah Jazz. They are tied with Utah but have lost the season series so need to finish with a better record than the Jazz. Both teams have similar schedules with the Jazz’s toughest opponents being the Thunder, Warriors, Grizzlies and Nuggets. For the Lakers the Spurs, Warriors, Clippers, Grizzlies and the Rockets. The Lakers take the floor again at the Staples Center on Friday against a tough team in the Memphis Grizzlies.