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(Reuters) - Kobe Bryant fired back at Dallas owner Mark Cuban with 38 points as he devastated the opposing defense to lift the Los Angeles Lakers past the Mavericks 103-99 on Sunday.
After Cuban recently suggested the Lakers should consider waiving Bryant and his league-high salary next season, the five-time NBA champion showed his worth with an artistic display of clutch shooting and an all-around effort that included 12 rebounds and seven assists.
Dallas (25-30) led 90-87 midway through the fourth quarter but visiting Los Angeles nosed ahead with a seven-nil run led by Bryant and Nash who finished with 20 points.
The victory was a third straight for Los Angeles (28-29) who moved within two-1/2 games of the West playoff spot that Bryant has guaranteed the team will secure.
Cuban's comments centered around the NBA's "amnesty clause," which allows a team to release a player and avoid paying taxes on their salary.
The Mavericks owner has said that his suggestion was just hypothetical, while the Lakers released a statement saying such talk was "inappropriate."
Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles, Editing by Tom Pilcher