Before the game tonight, Avery Johnson was asked if he tried to prepare his team to face Kobe Bryant in the same way he might prepare them to face LeBron James, Tracy McGrady or other top stars.
"I don't know if you can really put guys in Kobe's circle," Johnson said. "He's a pretty special player. He's a three-time champion, perennial All-Star. I don't know if there is a player that can really dominate a game right now the way he can when he wants to. I don't know if you prepare the same way that you do for some other guys. I think he's out there in a stratosphere by himself."
And Bryant seems to be proving that. At halftime, he has 22 points but the Mavericks hold the lead at 56-55.
-- Jan Hubbard