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Originally published Sunday, February 24, 2013 at 9:46 PM

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Kobe Bryant outduels Dirk Nowitzki, Mavericks |

Kobe Bryant was just a little better than Dirk Nowitzki in a spirited game befitting Western Conference leaders — not teams battling...

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DALLAS — Kobe Bryant was just a little better than Dirk Nowitzki in a spirited game befitting Western Conference leaders — not teams battling for ninth place.

Bryant had 38 points to win a scoring duel with Nowitzki, and Steve Nash helped beat his former team by getting 20 points for the first time with the Los Angeles Lakers in a 103-99 victory against the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday.

Nowitzki finished with a season-high 30 in a game that had a playoff feel from the start, even though both teams still have plenty of ground to make up to even qualify for the postseason.

"It's fun," said Bryant, who also had 12 rebounds and seven assists. "He's one of my all-time favorites. He's a throwback type of player. He doesn't mind the physicality. He made some incredible plays down the stretch."

Bryant, who went past the 31,000-point mark, was playing in Mark Cuban's building two days after the outspoken Dallas owner suggested in a radio interview that the Lakers might have to consider dumping the five-time NBA champion through the amnesty clause.

"Amnesty THAT," Bryant tweeted after the game.

"I'm sure if he wants to amnesty Dirk, that's something we'll be willing to entertain," Bryant told reporters.

Sunday's highlights

LeBron James scored 28 points, Dwyane Wade scored 11 of his 24 in the final five minutes, and Miami extended the NBA's longest current winning streak to 11 games, beating visiting Cleveland 109-105

Russell Westbrook scored 23 points, Kevin Durant had 19 points and 16 rebounds, and host Oklahoma City held Chicago to the worst shooting performance in the NBA this season, 29.1 percent.

Carmelo Anthony scored 29 points, Amare Stoudemire had a season-high 22 and New York snapped its four-game losing streak with a 99-93 win over visiting Philadelphia.

Wesley Matthews had 24 points, including a clutch three-pointer with less than a minute to go, and Portland snapped a seven-game losing streak with a 92-86 win over visiting Boston.

Note

• Minnesota's Kevin Love said his surgically repaired right hand is better and he hopes to play 15 to 20 games this season. The Timberwolves' star said he will meet with a doctor in the first 10 days of March. He has yet to begin basketball-related activities but says his hand feels much better than when he broke it the first time during preseason.


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