Lakers Boost NBA Playoff Chances as Mavericks Are Eliminated

Kobe Bryant scored a season-high 47 points as the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Portland Trail Blazers 113-106 to boost their chances of reaching the National Basketball Association playoffs.

The Dallas Mavericks (38-40) will miss the postseason for the first time since 2000 after a 102-91 home loss to the Phoenix Suns (24-55) eliminated them from playoff contention.

The Lakers (42-37) are eighth in the Western Conference, one game ahead of the Utah Jazz (41-38) with three regular-season games remaining for each team.

Los Angeles hosts the Golden State Warriors (45-33) and Utah is at home against the Minnesota Timberwolves (29-49), both on April 12.

Pau Gasol scored 23 points and Dwight Howard had 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Lakers last night at the Rose Garden in Portland.

Damian Lillard had 38 points for the Trail Blazers and LaMarcus Aldridge added 17 points and 16 rebounds.

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