DALLAS -- Give Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle credit for being a standup guy.
After the Los Angeles Lakers ran all over the Mavs, 109-93, Wednesday nignt at American Airlines Center, Carlisle wasn't about to put the loss on the absence of three of his starters.
"We can't bellyache about guys that are out with injuries,'' Carlise said. "That's one of the realities of this season. "We weren't (complaining) the last two games (against San Antonio and Denver), and we won those. I'm not in to that.''
The Mavs were without center Brendan Haywood (ankle), forward Shawn Marion (knee) and guard Delonte West. Meanwhile, the Lakers shot 58.4 percent by from the field and outrebounded the Mavs by 17.
"Blame it on being short-handed?,'' Carlisle asked. "Naw. I don't blame it on that.''
Free of not facing Marion, Kobe Bryant finished with 30 points on 11-of-18 shooting. In the two previous wins over the Mavs with Marion guarding him, Bryant was just 11-of-37 from the field and tallied only 29 points.
Marion said he wanted to play, but the Mavs thought otherwise.
"Hehad not been on the court for five or six days,'' Carlisle said. "In looking at his situation, how fair is it to just throw him out there against Kobe Bryant?
"Earlier in the year we took Dirk (Nowitzki) out for eight days and we gave it a block of time. We said we're goiing to stay the course and make sure this guys is right, and that's basically what we're doing with Shawn.''
Besides the monster game from Bryant, Pau Gasol had 27 points and nine rebounds for the Lakers, Ramon Sessions collected 17 points and nine assists, and Matt Barnes added 11 points and nine rebounds.
"We had breakdowns defensively, we had shot-making droughts and they were able to re-take the lead and get a cushion, and it was probably the differenece in the game,'' Carlisle said. "We just simply did not play well enough.''
Dallas had just two players in double-figure scoring. Nowitzki (26 points) and Jason Terry (23 points) carried the Mavs offensively, as they converted 18-of-38 shots, while the other Mavs were just 17-of-44 from the floor and scored only 44 points.
"We proved the last two games we're very capable of having balance and playing a great all-around game of basketbball,'' Carlisle said. "We just didn't do it tonight.''
The Mavs got just one point and one rebound from former Laker Lamar Odom, who played 24 minutes and was 0-of-3 from the field.
"He struggled, but he wasn't the only one who struggled, though,'' Carlisle said. "We're going to stay positive and we''ve got to keep moving forward.
"He's got to keep working and he's got to be ready to play, because we're going to need him.''
Odom, who spent the last seven years with the Lakers, was at a loss for words about his poor performance.
"I'm not going to blame it on anything,'' he said. "It's just something that I have to figure out.''
The Mavs led 29-27 after the first quarter, but trailed 57-44 at the half and 80-72 entering the fourth period. For the balance of the game, the Lakers maintained control and ran their record against this Mavs this season to a perfect 3-0.
"Our defense wasn't good enough, and their offense beat our defense,'' Odom said. "We gave up way too many wide open shots and they had five or six guys that were really into it offensively, and we have to do a better job.''
Dallas (27-21) only turned the ball over seven times, which usually translates into a victory. But, in seeing their four-game win streak snapped, the Mavs just simply got hammered by a better squad.
And with Sessions -- acquired last week when the Lakers traded popular point guard Derek Fisher -- he gives the Lakers an added speedy dimension in the backcourt which Fisher lacked.
"I've been extremely impressed,'' Bryant said of Sessions. "He takes a lot of pressure off of me.
"I can be a legitimate two-guard now. He can play-make for others. Before, I had to score and play-make for others as well. I don't have to do that now.''
And that's what makes the Lakers dangerous.
"They had a great game and we were below average, so, hence the results,'' Carlisle said. "It's them being good and us not being good enough.''
-- Dwain Price
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