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Injured Kobe Bryant lifts Lakers over Kings 103-98

SACRAMENTO -- Kobe Bryant scored 19 points and tied a season high with 14 assists despite a nagging left foot injury, and the Los Angeles Lakers kept pace for the Western Conference's final playoff spot by outlasting the Sacramento Kings 103-98 on Saturday night.

Bryant added nine rebounds and facilitated the Lakers' offense for 47 minutes, 37 seconds after Steve Nash exited early in the first quarter with a recurring right hamstring injury. Bryant also passed Lakers great Wilt Chamberlain (31,419 points) for fourth on the NBA's career scoring list, after starting four points shy of the mark.

Dwight Howard added 24 points and 15 rebounds, and Steve Blake scored 15 points for the Lakers (38-36), who stayed even with Utah (38-36) for the eighth and final playoff spot. Los Angeles hosts 10th-place Dallas (36-37) in a critical tilt Tuesday night.

Tyreke Evans had 21 points and nine rebounds, and DeMarcus Cousins added 19 points and 11 rebounds in Sacramento's latest loss. The Lakers won the season series 3-1.

Rockets 98, Clippers 81 In Houston, Jeremy Lin, Chandler Parsons and Francisco Garcia scored 15 points apiece to lead Houston over Los Angeles.

Houston was playing without shooting guard and leading scorer James Harden, who missed his third game of the season with a right ankle sprain.

Garcia had his best game as a Rocket, hitting 3 of 5 shots from beyond the arc as a spark off the bench to help Houston snap a two-game losing streak.

Point guard Chris Paul was the only Clippers starter to play in the final quarter, finishing with 19 points, seven assists and three steals.

Mavericks 100, Bulls 98 In Dallas, Dirk Nowitzki hit a 3-pointer with 2.9 seconds left and Dallas rallied to beat Chicago.

The Mavericks trailed by 12 in the fourth quarter, but Nowitzki scored Dallas' last eight points in a closing 15-1 run over the final 31/2 minutes of the game. He finished with a season-high 35 points.

After Jimmy Butler missed two free throws with 15.9 seconds remaining, Nowitzki connected on the winning 3 with Luol Deng running at him. Chicago's Nate Robinson then missed a jumper at the buzzer that would have tied it.

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Williams beats Sharapova, wins 6th Miami title
Los Angeles Lakers' Earl Clark, left, Dwight Howard, center, and Kobe Bryant smile during the closing moments of the Lakers 103-98 win over the Sacramento Kings in an NBA game in Sacramento, California on Saturday, March 30. (AP/AFP)



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