In this era of the NBA, there is no more intimidating feeling than seeing Kobe Bryant rising up for a 3-pointer in the final minute.
This time, he missed.
Bryant's missed 3-pointer with 25 seconds left, which could have tied the game, freed the Mavericks for a 101-96 victory Wednesday night at American Airlines Center.
The Mavs were up 97-94 when Bryant missed. Jason Terry, who had a team-high 28 points, hit two free throws with 15.9 to play, clinching the win.
In a game that featured 24 lead changes and eight ties, the Mavericks were up 90-86 with under five minutes to go.
They stopped the Lakers on three consecutive possessions, while Dirk Nowitzki's jumper and a free throw by Brendan Haywood made it 93-86 with 2:39 to go.
After Nowitzki stripped Andrew Bynum, Terry finished off a fast break layup and the lead was nine.
But it was far from over. The Lakers scored seven of the next nine points, the last two on a Kobe Bryant layup, to trim the Mavericks' lead to 97-94 with 57 seconds left.
Earlier, the Mavericks overcame a second-quarter dead zone when they finished the half with a flourish. They beat the Lakers 10-2 in the final two minutes and were only down a point at the break.
After giving up a ridiculous 34 points in the paint in the first half, the Mavericks tightened up defensively and gave up only six in the third quarter, which ended with Jason Kidd draining a 3-pointer to spot the Mavericks a 74-72 lead going into the final 12 minutes.
Kidd has been on a scoring tear lately, reaching double figures in six consecutive games, his longest such stretch of the season.