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Lakers feeling confident after comeback

©Associated Press

December 8, 2002

LOS ANGELES -- Don't dismiss the Lakers yet. After pulling off the second-biggest fourth-quarter comeback in league history, the three-time champions are feeling good about themselves again.

The Lakers are at the bottom of the Pacific Division with the Warriors and the Clippers, but they showed some resolve, rallying from 27 points down in the fourth to overtake the Mavericks on Friday night. It was the best comeback in 25 years.

"What it does is give us confidence that we still got it," said Kobe Bryant, who scored 21 of his 27 in the fourth despite a pulled groin. "Now it's a matter of moving on to the next game and forgetting about this one."

It's unlikely any of the sellout crowd of 18,997 will forget a fourth-quarter comeback that beat Dallas 105-103. It fell one point short of the record comeback by the Bucks against Atlanta on Nov. 25, 1977.

The Lakers fell behind by 30 in the third but outscored the Mavs 44-15 in the fourth, when they shot 16-for-18 from the field and made 8 of 11 free throws.

"Confidence is not our problem. Our problem is complacency," said Shaquille O'Neal, who had 26 points and 11 rebounds. "We just need to go out and do it. Everyone needs to do their part."

WIZARDS 100, KNICKS 97: Larry Hughes matched a season high with 22 points and had 10 rebounds for host Washington. Jerry Stackhouse added 22 points, and Michael Jordan had 20 and nine rebounds. The Knicks trailed by 21 in the third before cutting the lead to one twice in the final minute. But the Wizards went 8-for-8 from the free-throw line to seal it. ROCKETS 97, 76ERS 72: Steve Francis scored eight of his 20 in a decisive fourth-quarter run for host Houston. Yao Ming had 18 points and 12 rebounds for Houston, which used a 22-6 run that lasted most of the first nine minutes of the fourth. The Rockets held Allen Iverson to 11 points.

BULLS 112, CAVS 104: Jalen Rose scored 27 points and Donyell Marshall added 22 as host Chicago held on after blowing a 23-point lead. The Cavaliers rallied behind Ricky Davis, who scored 23 of his 27 in the second half.

HORNETS 94, BUCKS 88: Jamal Mashburn scored 23, and P.J. Brown and Baron Davis each added 20 to lead visiting New Orleans. Mashburn, Brown and Davis combined for 15 free throws in the fourth. Ray Allen had 29 points to lead the Bucks.

CLIPPERS 104, WOLVES 88: Tremaine Fowlkes held Kevin Garnett to five points and three rebounds in the second half for host Los Angeles. Fowlkes scored a career-high 15 points. Garnett finished with 19 points and 14 rebounds.

HAWKS 94, PISTONS 92: Glenn Robinson and Shareef Abdur-Rahim each scored 23. Robinson added a season-high 13 rebounds for Atlanta, which won its third straight at home.

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