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Lakers 88, Bobcats 79

The SportsXchange

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Guard Kobe Bryant scored a season-high 21 points and handed out eight assists as the Los Angeles Lakers snapped a three-game losing streak with an 88-85 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats on Saturday night.

The Lakers scored the final nine points of the game after the Bobcats took an 85-79 lead into the final 2:50.

It was the Lakers' first win since Bryant rejoined the team on Dec. 8. Bryant also had eight assists, but seven turnovers.

The Lakers, who improved to 11-12, also got 15 points each from center Pau Gasol and forward Jordan Hill, and 13 points from guard Nick Young.

Guard Kemba Walker led the Bobcats with 24 points. Center Al Jefferson scored 14, forward Gerald Henderson 13 and guard Ben Gordon 10.

The game had 23 lead changes and 13 ties.

The Bobcats led 85-79 following Walker's jumper from the side with 2:50 remaining. But Young answered with a 3-pointer, Bryant hit a drive, and then Bryant gave the Lakers the lead for good with two free throws with 37.1 seconds left.

Charlotte then had three chances to retake the lead on its next possession, but Jefferson missed twice and Henderson once, and eventually Gasol rebounded and was fouled with 6.2 seconds left. He hit both free throws for an 88-85 lead.

Gordon then missed a potentially tying 3-pointer in the final two seconds.

NOTES: Both teams were on the second night of back-to-backs. The Lakers lost at Oklahoma City 122-97 on Friday night and the Bobcats lost at Indiana 99-94. ... The Lakers used their fifth different starting lineup in the last five games at Oklahoma City. ... The Bobcats continue to be without F Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (broken left hand) and C Brendan Haywood (stress fracture left foot). ... The Lakers were without G Steve Nash (nerve root irritation), G Steve Blake (torn UCL) and G Jordan Farmar (torn left hamstring). ... At this time last season, the Bobcats were in the middle of an 18-game losing streak. ... Bobcats coach Steve Clifford was an assistant with the Lakers last season. ... Coming into Saturday's game, the Bobcats had held 19 of their 23 opponents under 100 points. That leads the NBA. ... The Lakers were playing the second game of a four-game Eastern trip. They will play at Atlanta on Monday and at Memphis on Tuesday. ... The Bobcats will remain home to face Sacramento on Tuesday.
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