Bryant silences Cuban with 38 points in Lakers' win
(Reuters) - Kobe Bryant fired back at Dallas owner Mark Cuban with 38 points as he lifted 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 all-around effort that included 12 rebounds and seven assists.
"It was a big win for us," Bryant told reporters after finishing with 14 fourth-quarter points to seal the triumph. "(I tried to) be patient, attack but still read the defense. We made some tough shots."
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 Steve Nash who finished with 20 points.
The victory was the third straight for Los Angeles (28-29) who moved within 2-1/2 games of a Western Conference playoff spot that Bryant has guaranteed the team will secure.
The Mavericks, 10th in the West, are also battling for a spot and Dirk Nowitzki put up 30 points and 13 rebounds.
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."
Bryant silenced all talk in the fourth where he made three straight difficult jump shots to leave the Dallas crowd murmuring. Continued...