Farmar scores 24 as Lakers rout Mavericks 131-96

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LOS ANGELES (AP)—The Mavericks couldn’t do anything right. The Lakers could do no wrong.

Jordan Farmar(notes) led seven players in double figures with a career high-tying 24 points, and Los Angeles trounced the Western Conference’s second-best team in a 131-96 victory over Dallas on Sunday night.

“Payback for what the Cowboys did to my Eagles,” said Kobe Bryant(notes), whose hometown Philadelphia football team lost 24-0 in Texas.

Andrew Bynum(notes) had 19 points on 8 of 8 shooting, five rebounds and four assists, Lamar Odom(notes) had 15 points and 15 rebounds, Bryant 15 points and eight assists, Sasha Vujacic(notes) and Shannon Brown(notes) 11 points each and Derek Fisher(notes) 10 for the defending NBA champions, who improved to a league-best 27-6.

“It’s a lot easier to play against teams like Dallas because you know the focus is going to be there,” Bryant said. “We had a great performance against one of the best teams in the league.”

For the first time in six games, the Lakers didn’t go down to the wire to win or end up losing. Instead, they asserted their dominance in the West with their largest victory of the season. They shot season bests from the field (63 percent) and 3-point range (81 percent) and had a season high in points.

“Yes, you can expect this every night,” Lakers coach Phil Jackson deadpanned.

It was the biggest margin of victory in the series between the rivals, topping the Lakers’ 33-point win on Dec. 1, 1993.

Dirk Nowitzki(notes) had 22 points and eight rebounds for the Mavs, who never led and shot poorly the entire game. Jason Kidd(notes) was scoreless in 27 minutes on the second night of a back-to-back.

“Some nights you don’t have it offensively, but you at least have to get some stops to stay in the game,” Nowitzki said. “They had whatever they wanted. Bynum was on the inside, Kobe was making shots everywhere. On offense, we just couldn’t do anything right.”

With Bryant distributing the ball, Odom took over rebounding and Bynum did a little of everything after Pau Gasol(notes) strained his left hamstring seven minutes into the first quarter. He didn’t return after scoring six points and was expected to have an ultrasound Monday. He walked out gingerly without talking to reporters.

The Spanish forward sat out the first 11 games this season with a strained right hamstring.

“Anytime Pau has an injury, we’re very concerned,” Jackson said. “He complained before the game started he was feeling some tightness.”

The Lakers romped to a 40-point lead after three quarters, letting Jackson go deep into his bench in the fourth. All 11 available Lakers scored. They outscored Dallas 52-36 in the paint while controlling the boards 44-40 and piling up 33 assists.

“They’re the champs. They came out and played from the beginning and we didn’t,” Kidd said. “We just didn’t make shots, and when we tend not to make shots, we usually stop playing defense. That’s what we kind of reverted to. But it’s just one game. Now we go back home and play on Tuesday, so we’ll get back going in the right direction.”

Nowitzki was the only Dallas player in double figures by halftime with 16, while the rest of the starting lineup combined for 11 points. Drew Gooden(notes) also was scoreless.

The Mavs shot a measly 16 percent in the first quarter, making just four baskets and missing all six of their 3-point attempts. They made eight field goals in the second and trailed 64-39 at halftime.

NOTES: F Ron Artest(notes) could rejoin the Lakers as soon as Tuesday after missing five games following a fall at his home on Christmas night. He’s been cleared to practice fully Monday and if there’s no problems, Artest could play Tuesday at home against his former team Houston. … Bryant’s 15 points tied him with Patrick Ewing for 15th on the NBA’s career scoring list with 24,815 points. Last season, Bryant passed seven players while moving up the list. Next up is former Lakers GM Jerry West (25,192), a mentor for Bryant. … Mavs starting C Erick Dampier(notes) didn’t play because of a knee problem.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 Dallas
D. Nowitzki Dirk Nowitzki
7-18,  22 Pts
8 Rebs, 1 Assists
 LA Lakers
L. Odom Lamar Odom
6-12,  15 Pts
15 Rebs, 6 Assists

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Sunday, Jan 3