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Mavericks 123, Lakers 104

The SportsXchange

DALLAS -- Guard Monta Ellis sliced through the Los Angeles Lakers, leading the Dallas Mavericks to a comfortable 123-104 victory Tuesday night at American Airlines Center.

Dallas guards attacked the teeth of the Lakers' defense, routinely getting to the basket for easy looks. No one did it better than Ellis, who scored 30 points in only 31 minutes on 11-of-14 shooting. He also dished out nine assists.

The Mavericks (3-1) led by as many as 30 points and were able to rest their starters going into the second leg of a back-to-back Wednesday against the Thunder at Oklahoma City. No other Dallas player logged more than 28 minutes.

Despite the lack of time, the Mavericks' starters made the most of their minutes, with all five reaching double figures. Power forward Dirk Nowitzki had eight rebounds to go along with his 11 points. Forward Jae Crowder (career-high 18 points) and center DeJuan Blair (10) also scored in double digits off the bench.

The Lakers (2-3) also were able to give their first team extra rest, if for entirely different reasons, ahead of their visit to Houston for Wednesday's showdown against Dwight Howard and the Rockets. After one season in Los Angeles, Howard will face his former team for the first time since shunning the Lakers in free agency.

The Lakers continue to struggle offensively without injured guard Kobe Bryant. Reserve guard Nick Young scored 21 points to lead Los Angeles. Power forward Pau Gasol (10 points) was the only starter in double figures. Gasol and point guard Steve Nash combined to shoot 6-for-17.

Dallas shot 52.1 percent and dominated the boards, 50-35. The Lakers, who won nine of the previous 10 meeting against the Mavericks, were outscored 52-36 in the paint.

Ellis was hot early, along with forward Shawn Marion, as Dallas took a 15-point lead in the first quarter. The advantage reached 20 in the second period, and the Mavericks went into the locker room up 67-48.

NOTES: Mavs coach Rick Carlisle agrees with the new delay-of-game rule prohibiting offensive players from touching the ball after it goes through the basket. "It's the right thing," he said. "It's pretty clear. You touch it, you're going to get hit." ... In G Kobe Bryant's absence, F Pau Gasol is taking a much bigger role in coach Mike D'Antoni's offense. "He's shooting more jumpers in Mike's system, and they do a great job of getting him open looks," Carlisle said. ... Lakers C Chris Kaman spent one mostly forgettable season in Dallas, never meshing with Carlisle. "It's a different coaching style," Kaman said. "Coach Carlisle is uptight and kind of plays games with people a little bit here and there, but Coach D'Antoni is more relaxed and more go-with-the-flow kind of thing."

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