Lakers 100, Bobcats 93

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Kobe Bryant went scoreless in the first half but led the Lakers back from a 20-point second-half deficit as Los Angeles beat the Charlotte Bobcats 100-93 on Friday night.
Bryant scored 14 of his 20 points in the final seven minutes -- including the Lakers' final eight in the last 2:17 -- as the Lakers outscored the Bobcats 11-2 over the final 3:19.
The victory moved the Lakers to 24-27 on the season and was their fourth win in six games on a seven-game road trip that will end on Sunday at Miami.
Jody Meeks came off the bench to score 14, including a 3-pointer that gave the Lakers the lead for good at 92-91 with 3:02 left. The Lakers also got 17 points from Steve Nash and Earl Clark, 12 points and 11 rebounds from Dwight Howard, and 11 points from Metta World Peace.
Charlotte fell to 11-38, the worst record in the NBA, and suffered its sixth straight loss.
Byron Mullens had 20 points and 12 rebounds, Gerald Henderson had 20 points and 10 rebounds, and Kemba Walker scored 18 for the Bobcats.
Bryant took only two shots in the first half, one in each quarter. He missed both and he didn't go to the free-throw line. He went into the intermission scoreless for the first time since March 31 of last season in a game the Lakers won against the New Orleans Hornets.
The Bobcats jumped out to a 20-9 lead nine minutes into the game and went on to lead 30-20 after one quarter. The lead grew to as many as 13 in the second quarter behind the shooting of Mullens, who had 14 first-half points.
Charlotte led 53-41 at halftime.
The Bobcats extended the lead to 64-45 before Bryant hit a fadeaway with 8:49 left in the third quarter for his first basket to make the score 64-47.
Charlotte pushed the lead to 71-51 with 5:26 left in the third before the Lakers closed the gap to 78-69 after three.
The Lakers continued to come back and eventually took the lead at 84-83 on Antawn Jamison's jumper with 4:47 remaining. The lead changed hands six times from there until Meeks gave the Lakers the lead for good.
Bryant then scored the final eight.
Notes: The Lakers won the only previous game against Charlotte this season, 101-100 in Los Angeles on Dec. 12. The Lakers overcame an 18-point deficit in that game, then held on when the Bobcats missed three shots in the closing seconds. ... Surprisingly, the franchises were tied 8-8 in the all-time series going into Friday night's game, with the Bobcats holding a 5-2 edge in Charlotte. ... The Lakers were playing the sixth game of a seven-game road trip that will conclude at Miami on Sunday afternoon. The Lakers haven't played at home since a Jan. 29 win over New Orleans. ... The Lakers were concluding their sixth back-to-back set of the season on Friday night, after losing at Boston 116-95 on Thursday. They are 0-6 on the front end of back-to-backs, and 3-2 on the second night going into Friday's game. ... Bryant ranked third in the NBA in scoring entering Friday night's game at 27.5 points per game. ... Bryant has averaged 29.3 over his career against the Bobcats, which covers 15 games, and that his highest career average against any team in the league. ... Pau Gasol returned to Los Angeles after suffering a torn plantar fascia in his right foot at Brooklyn on Tuesday, and he is expected to miss 6-8 week. ... Friday night's game was a homecoming for Lakers assistant Bernie Bickerstaff, the Bobcats' coach and general manager in their first three seasons. Bickerstaff was 4-1 earlier this season as the Lakers' interim coach during the transition from Mike Brown to Mike D'Antoni. ... The Bobcats were returning home on Friday night after going 0-5 on a 10-day road trip. They will hit the road again Saturday for a game at Philadelphia.

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