The Bobcats hope for another inspired performance Friday when they square off once again with the Lakers.
Charlotte (14-27) beat Los Angeles 133-124 in three overtimes on Dec. 29 in Charlotte in the last meeting between the teams. The Bobcats held on despite 58 points from the Lakers’ Kobe Bryant—the third-highest point total of his career.
“That was one of the best games in NBA history,” said Bobcats guard Raymond Felton, who played 57 minutes and had 22 points and 15 assists. “I’m glad I was a part of it.”
Including that victory, the Bobcats have won seven of their last 13 games.
“It meant so much for this team,” Charlotte’s Derek Anderson said. “If we had lost, I don’t know how they would have come out the next day.”
The Bobcats are coming off their second straight defeat, a 103-92 loss to Detroit on Wednesday. Wallace had 29 points and 11 rebounds, and Okafor added 17 and 16, respectively, for Charlotte, which was without Primoz Brezec (back), Othella Harrington (knee), Jake Voskuhl (illness), Melvin Ely (illness) and Brevin Knight (abdominal surgery).
Coach Bernie Bickerstaff said that Wallace helped the team overcome the injuries.
“Prior to the game we told the players, here are the 10 (players) that we have. Individually, look around and see what you need to do as an individual,” Bickerstaff said. “He was willing to step up and try to put us on his back. He plays hard, with effort.”
Forward Sean May, who had missed the past four games with a sore right knee, returned and had 14 points and six rebounds.
The Lakers (27-15) are coming off Monday’s 108-103 win over Golden State. Bryant had 42 points, exactly one year after scoring 81 against Toronto in the second-highest scoring performance in NBA history.
“I kind of had to get after it a little bit,” said Bryant, who is averaging 28.3 points. “It was one of those games where we were a little lethargic. I had to attack more than usual. We managed to find a way to get it done. Golden State had quick hands—it took us three quarters to get adjusted to their speed.”
The Lakers, who are 19-4 at home, avoided losing three straight for the first time this season.
“We like the fact that we’ve been able to stop the bleeding early and get back on the right track,” coach Phil Jackson said. “It gives the team some confidence.”
Lamar Odom, who has not played since spraining a right knee ligament Dec. 12, practiced Tuesday and hopes to return against the Bobcats. Kwame Brown, who sprained his right ankle on Dec. 31, had also hoped to return, but was not able to get through practice and will likely be out longer.