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Lakers somehow beat Dallas, 96-91

February 22, 2012 |  9:23 pm

Things could be worse for the Lakers. They can still win big games.

They lost a 14-point lead and couldn't make free throws in the final minute but held on to beat the Dallas Mavericks, 96-91, Wednesday at American Airlines Center.

Pau Gasol had 24 points and Andrew Bynum had 19 points and 14 rebounds as the Lakers' big men covered for one of Kobe Bryant's worst games this season. He had 15 points on four-for-15 shooting and committed seven turnovers.

PHOTOS: Lakers vs. Mavericks

Derek Fisher made big shots on consecutive possessions in the final minutes, a three-pointer and a driving hook that put the Lakers ahead, 89-82. Fisher finished with 15 points.

Bryant found Bynum for an alley-oop dunk, giving the Lakers a 93-86 lead with 1:05 to play. But the Lakers couldn't close out the game at that point. Matt Barnes, Bryant and Gasol each missed two free throws as Dallas closed to within 93-91.

Luckily for the Lakers, Barnes got the offensive rebound off Gasol's second missed free-throw, was quickly fouled and made both from the stripe to give the Lakers a 95-91 lead with 18.9 seconds left. The Mavericks didn't score again.

Vince Carter had 20 points for Dallas (21-13), but 18 were in the first half.

The Lakers (20-13) hadn't been back to Dallas since the Mavericks eliminated them here in the Western Conference semifinals last season.

The Lakers improved to 6-11 on the road.

Dallas forward Lamar Odom missed the game because of family reasons, the Mavericks said.


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-- Mike Bresnahan

Photo: Lakers forward Pau Gasol tries to put up a shot during the first half of Wednesday's victory over the Dallas Mavericks. Credit: Tony Gutierrez / Associated Press