Dirk Nowitzki, not Kobe Bryant, gets last hurrah in Dallas Mavericks’ win over LA Lakers

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error A compelling final chapter would have entailed Lakers guard Kobe Bryant and Dallas forward Dirk Nowitzki going head-to-head. Two future Hall of Famers would try to top each other with their patented footwork and post moves. Bryant would talk trash with Dallas owner Mark Cuban.But none of that happened in the Lakers’ 92-90 loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday at Staples Center. Bryant stayed sidelined with increasing soreness in his right shoulder that started Monday night when he had trouble sleeping.“I lay down in bed sometimes and it aches,” Bryant said. “I prop it up with a pillow and there’s a technique of laying on my side and all this other stuff. Nights like that are pretty tough.”Instead, Nowitkzki offered his own magic to hand the Lakers (9-38) their seventh consecutive loss. In a game that featured 12 lead changes and nine ties, Nowitzki hit a 14-foot fadeaway to give the Mavericks a 92-90 lead with 2.1 seconds left. Lakers forward Julius Randle attempted a 3-pointer off the ensuing inbounds pass, but the shot hit the back of the rim as time expired. Moments earlier, Lakers guard Lou Williams made what would have been a go-ahead jumper to give the Lakers a two-point lead with 13 seconds left. But Williams was called for an offensive foul after pushing off on Dallas guard J.J. Barea. That might not compare to when Bryant scored 62 points on Dec. 20, 2005. Or when the Mavericks swept the Lakers in the 2011 Western Conference semifinals. Or when Nowitzki performed a nifty spin move against Bryant the last time they matched up two months ago. “He and I would talk trash back and forth all the time,” Bryant said. “I always got a kick out of it. I said, ‘Dirk, I can’t understand you with your German accent. But he dished it right back. I missed that.” Instead, Bryant spent most of the time on the Lakers’ bench where he watched the game and occasionally provided instruction. Then, he saw the Lakers offer an entertaining performance before adding yet another loss to their total. center_img Still, the Lakers offered a more competitive game than in the Lakers’ 18-point loss on Saturday to Portland. Then, Bryant critiqued the team’s effort and attitude. Four days later, the Lakers featured Jordan Clarkson (18 points), Randle (16 points, 11 rebounds), Williams (14 points), D’Angelo Russell (12) and Roy Hibbert (11) cracking double figures.But as much compelling theatre the Lakers finally offered, it did not feature any theatrical moments in what would have involved Bryant’s last game against Dallas. Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle mused a last meeting between Bryant and Nowitzki is “going to have to be in the hallway.” Carlisle then turned serious.“I’m disappointed he’s not playing,” Carlisle said. “He’s one of the greatest competitors in the history of our game. I’d love to have a chance to compete with him one last time. But it’s not in the cards.”Although he has also nursed soreness in recent weeks to his right Achilles, Bryant said that he has “worked through that pretty well.” Bryant then added he “probably” expects he will only stay sidelined on a day-to-day basis because of his right shoulder.“I guess (it’s tough) from a sentimental competition standpoint, but he and I have had a lot of battles,” Bryant said of Nowitzki. “I’m sure we’ll have a lot more when no cameras are around. I’m sure we’ll get together and have a beer or two and play against each other one-on-one.”last_img read more