The Lakers have dropped three in a row for the first time since Jan. 19-22, 2004. Their last four-game losing streak was from Jan. 2-7, 2004.
Los Angeles is 3-4 since Bryant sprained his right ankle on Jan. 13 in a victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers. The All-Star swingman could be out for at least two more weeks.
The Lakers are allowing 106 points per game during their skid, and at least 100 in six of their last seven, including Friday’s 109-103 loss to the New Jersey Nets, who shot 53 percent from the field at Staples Center.
“We have to become better defensively if we are going to win games,” Los Angeles forward Lamar Odom said. “You cannot let a team that is struggling score 109 points.”
Charlotte ended a season-high 10-game losing streak Friday, beating the Toronto Raptors 101-94. Former Laker Kareem Rush scored 21 points as the Bobcats posted their first win since Jan. 5, when they beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 102-84.
Awful from the free-throw line during its skid, Charlotte made 17 of 19 attempts against the Raptors. The Bobcats’ only misses came in the final minute.
When nothing seemed to help the Bobcats improve their free-throw shooting, coach Bernie Bickerstaff stopped trying to fix it. Ignoring the problem seems to have worked.
“He just said he’s not talking to us anymore about it,” Charlotte guard Jason Hart said. “He said, `Don’t worry about it, I’m not going to talk about it anymore.”’
Bobcats point guard Brevin Knight has missed five consecutive games with a sprained ankle, but will travel with Charlotte on its four-game road trip and hopes to see action before it ends.
This is the first-ever meeting between the teams.
STANDINGS (through Jan. 28): Bobcats - 4th place, 20 1/2 GB, Southeast Division. Lakers - 3rd place, 11 GB, Pacific Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Bobcats - Okafor, 15.1 ppg and 11.1 rpg; Hart, 6.1 apg. Lakers - Bryant, 27.5 ppg and 6.6 apg; Odom, 10.2 rpg.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Bobcats - 1-18 on the road. Lakers - 15-9 at home.