Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 4)

Series starts 10/28

Game 1: Tuesday, October 28th
Game 2: Thursday, December 4th
Game 3: Friday, December 12th
Game 4: Thursday, January 22nd

Lakers 114

(16-3, 6-3 away)

Mavericks 103


8:30 PM ET, December 4, 2003

American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX

1 2 3 4 T
LAL 31 20 31 32114
DAL 20 22 30 31103

Top Performers

LAL: S. O'Neal 25 Pts, 19 Reb, 5 Ast, 3 Blk

Dal: S. Nash 30 Pts, 2 Reb, 8 Ast, 1 Stl

Lakers, Kings now only perfect home teams

DALLAS (AP) -- By the middle of the fourth quarter, Shaquille O'Neal was doubled over, laughing uncontrollably.

No, it wasn't the score. It was a cartoon ridiculing him as "Shaq Albert" that made the big guy giggle. Yet O'Neal and the Lakers could find humor in how easily they can beat the Dallas Mavericks.

O'Neal had 25 points, 19 rebounds and provided his usual tormenting presence on both ends of the court in Los Angeles' 114-103 victory Thursday night that ruined Dallas' perfect home record.

The Mavs, who had been 10-0 at home, have lost five straight to the Lakers and 46 of the last 51 meetings. In two games this season, Dallas has yet to hold the lead.

"We felt we were in control the whole game," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "We had an idea of what we wanted to do and we did it."

This also was the eighth straight win for Los Angeles, the last four against stiff competition. Before beating the Midwest Division leaders, the Lakers beat Eastern Conference-leading Indiana by 22 and reigning champion San Antonio twice by a total of 20 points.

"We match up against this team very well," O'Neal said. "We're always pumped up to play the big teams. We knew this was a huge game."

O'Neal had 12 points when Dallas had 13. By then, the Lakers already had set the tone by scoring the first eight points and taking leads of 14-2 and 25-8. The Mavericks, playing a fourth straight game without Dirk Nowitzki (sprained ankle) only got within five after that.

O'Neal simply wouldn't let them.

He sent a layup by Antoine Walker flying into the seats. Michael Finley got so flustered trying to get a shot around O'Neal that the ball went over the top of the backboard. Rookie Josh Howard shot the ball out of bounds when he found himself one-on-one with O'Neal.

And that was just in the first 14 minutes.

"I haven't seen Shaq this active on the defensive end," said Kobe Bryant, who had 32 points for the Lakers. "He's making it difficult to get to the basket. He's taking defense as more of a challenge. He really seems to enjoy it."

Gary Payton had 17 points and eight assists for Los Angeles, while Karl Malone, who came an assist shy of a triple-double last time against Dallas, had 11 points, nine rebounds and six assists.

Dallas started by taking the first open jumper on every possession. After missing 10 of 11, coach Don Nelson went to a smaller lineup and tried speeding up the tempo.

Steve Nash scored 12 of his season-high 30 points during a second-quarter rally that got Dallas close, but he got little help. He was 4-of-6 from the field in the quarter and his teammates went 1-for-16.

Bryant opened the second half by nailing a 3-pointer, then put in a reverse layup after catching a teammate's blocked shot. Nelson was ejected midway through the third after picking up his second technical and Bryant answered with four quick points -- the technical free throw and a 3-pointer.

He had 15 in the quarter and the Lakers went up 19 early in the fourth. Although Dallas got within 104-96 with 2:03 left, Los Angeles hardly seemed threatened.

"We had opportunities early, but we didn't make our shots," said Finley, who started 0-for-9 but finished with 19 points. "The effort was there. I thought we kept it competitive."

Walker had 24 points and 12 rebounds. Antawn Jamison had 15 points and 10 rebounds, and Howard had nine points and 14 rebounds.

Despite trading for Walker and Jamison, the Mavericks still can't bridge the gap with the Lakers. Los Angeles won 105-93 in the first meeting, which was the season opener. They'll meet again next Friday at the Staples Center. Nowitzki could be back by then.

Next up for Los Angeles is a home game against Utah, which will be Malone's first against his former team.

In trying to shake things up against O'Neal & Co., Nelson used all sorts of lineups, getting all 11 healthy players in before halftime. Had he not been tossed, he might've turned to courtside guests Chuck Norris or 330-pound Dallas Cowboys lineman Larry Allen to take on O'Neal.

Nelson once countered the addition of O'Neal and Malone with Shawn Bradley and undrafted rookie Marquise Daniels. It floundered as Bradley fouled O'Neal the two times they matched up and Daniels missed three shots, two in the paint.

Game notes

The Lakers and Sacramento are the only teams undefeated at home. Both are 10-0. ... Payton has 7,714 assists, moving ahead of Orlando's Rod Strickland for seventh on the all-time list. ... Jackson got a technical arguing a backcourt foul by Malone on Nash. The play left Nash with a cut lower lip that required two stitches.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 114 103
FGM-FGA 38-86 (.442) 37-99 (.374)
3PM-3PA 7-19 (.368) 9-24 (.375)
FTM-FTA 31-40 (.775) 20-24 (.833)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 12-58 12-45
Assists 25 16
Turnovers 14 10
Steals 6 5
Blocks 5 4
Fast Break Points 5 10
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 20 (2/0) 29 (2/0)

Top Performers

Los Angeles
Shaquille O'Neal O'Neal
Points: 25
Reb: 19
Ast: 5
Stl: 0
Blk: 3
Steve Nash Nash
Points: 30
Reb: 2
Ast: 8
Stl: 1
Blk: 0