GAMEDAY LINKS: Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Box Score Los Angeles Lakers 20 21 28 31 100
Play by Play Charlotte Bobcats 30 23 25 15 93

Lakers vs. Bobcats
Art of D'Antoni's System
Dwight Howard's Career Top 10 Plays
Kobe Bryant's Career Top 10 Plays

Bryant leads Lakers over Bobcats 100-93


Posted Feb 09 2013 1:08AM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Even though Kobe Bryant and the Lakers were able to escape with a 100-93 win Friday night over the Charlotte Bobcats, the Los Angeles star was left feeling "irritated" after the game.

Irritated at his team's shot selection.

Irritated at his team's selfishness.

And especially irritated that the Lakers needed to overcome a 20-point deficit to beat the NBA's worst team.

"We have to play the right way," Bryant said. "When we have shots available, we take them. If we don't, move the ball on. It can't be about individual touches. It can't be about that."

Still, the Lakers won.

Bryant shrugged off a scoreless first half - he attempted only two shots - to finish with 20 points, eight assists and seven rebounds and the Lakers improved to 4-2 on their road trip heading into Sunday's game in Miami against the Heat.

Bryant didn't come out for warm-ups to start the second half.

But he was there to provide the spark the lackluster Lakers needed in the third quarter. He scored 14 of his points in the final period, including a driving layup with 40 seconds left to push the lead to five and help seal the win.

"In the second half I got in position where I could catch it and turn and shoot it a little bit," Bryant said. "They were reluctant to double team because we started knocking down some shots. I think that makes the game a lot easier."

Steve Nash and Earl Clark each had 17 points and Dwight Howard had 12 points, all in the first half, and 11 rebounds for the Lakers (24-27).

Howard played his second straight game despite nursing an injured right shoulder.

"Continuity," Howard said when asked of the Lakers offensive woes. "We have to do a better job of spreading everything out and moving and getting everybody involved. When we do that, we are pretty good."

Byron Mullens and Gerald Henderson each had 20 points for the Bobcats, who have lost six straight.

Charlotte led 71-51 in the third quarter, but the Lakers stormed back behind a 9-0 run. They cut the lead to one on a driving layup by Bryant with 6:06 left in the game and Antawn Jamison gave the Lakers their first lead with 4:46 remaining on a left-handed finger roll in the lane.

The Lakers took the lead for good at 92-91 when Jodie Meeks made a 3-pointer with 3:02 left in the game.

Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni wasn't pleased with the overall effort, but liked that his team bounced back after a 116-95 loss to the Boston Celtics the night before.

"We just got to be able to put our earplugs in, or mufflers on, or blinders on," D'Antoni said. "It's like the Kentucky Derby with horses, just get those blinders on and just get out there and run.

"We have so much stuff going on out here that every little thing is blown to bits and whether it is right or wrong or blown out of proportion it is. But, it affects us. It is a distraction. It saps energy. We got to be able to just close that out somehow."

The Lakers have been unpredictable this season, particularly on the road where they were 8-17 coming into this game.

Before Friday night's game against Charlotte, D'Antoni was asked if the Bobcats were a dangerous opponent for his team.

"We're playing, aren't we? (Then) there's a danger," D'Antoni said with a laugh. "If they play the national anthem, we're in danger."

He was right. The Lakers started slow, looking out of sync just as they have for a good portion of the season as pick and rolls turned into turnovers and layups on the other end.

Nash had four early turnovers and Howard threw a pass across court that hit the side of the backboard.

The Lakers turned the ball over five times in the game's first eight minutes and fell behind 20-9.

Bryant missed his only two shots in the first half, his slowest start since March 31, 2012, when he went three quarters without scoring a point before beating the New Orleans Hornets on a game-winning shot.

The game was similar to earlier this season when the Bobcats led by 18 in Los Angeles only to squander the lead.

"We had them down pretty much the whole game," Bobcats guard Kemba Walker said. "You know, they made a really good run. Kobe made a lot of good plays, made the right passes and guys just made shots."

NOTES: Bobcats rookie Michael Kidd-Gilchrist returned to action Friday after missing two games with a concussion. ... At halftime Bryant had five rebounds, two assists and no points. ... The Bobcats had been one of three teams with a .500 or better record all-time against the Lakers, but fell to 8-9 with Friday night's loss.

Copyright 2013 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited

View More Photos

Points Bryant, 20
Mullens/Henderson (CHA), 20
Rebounds Mullens, 12
Assists Bryant and Walker (CHA), 8
Steals Henderson (CHA), 3
Blocks Howard, 3


Mike D'Antoni:

On the team’s comeback in the third quarter:
”Our defense started to click and some guys came off the bench to help out.”

On the importance of finding a rhythm in the second half:
”They key was defense. We had to find it in order to keep us alive. Offensively Kobe Bryant was finding guys and those guys had big shots. We got a couple of breaks with some break-aways and got layups. Kobe was good and he controlled the game at the end. We live to fight another day.”

On energy of team when Dwight Howard was out of the game with four fouls:
“We had to fight and play as hard as we could play and not fool around on the outside. Hopefully we learned that tonight.”

On Kobe Bryant being scoreless in the first half:
“Obviously, being down, we were worried, but he turned it on at a good time.”

Kobe Bryant:

On what he was thinking down 20 in the third quarter:
“Just play the right way. Play the right way and stay patient. We were not forcing anything, just read the defense and just try to make some of those shots that we had available.”

On whether he deliberately didn’t look for his shot in the first half:
“I just read the defense and tried to make the right play. I don’t try to force action, I just try to make the right play. Early in the second half I got in a position where I could shoot a little bit because they became a little reluctant to double me because (Jodie) Meeks started knocking down some shots. That makes the game a lot easier.”

Steve Nash:

On the slow start and getting down by 20 points in the third quarter:
“We were pretty sluggish in transition and I felt like basically we just had to buckle down defensively and the offense will come. We were getting opportunities and the offense will come, but defensively we weren’t getting it done.”

On Kobe Bryant playing well down the stretch:
“Down the stretch was when Kobe had a smaller guard on him, so he was trying to milk that. He could score or swing it and we were making our threes. It was more complete when we were coming back.”

On tonight’s win:
“It was big. We had a really bad first half and we were pretty sluggish coming out of Boston and getting in here late (last night). It took us a while to find our legs and find our spirit, but we got it.”

“I knew this would be a tough game after a long road trip and a tough game in Boston last night, but we found a zone and we were able to turn it around.”

Mike Dunlap:

On tonight’s game:
“I liked the effort all the way around. It was a hell of a basketball game, and I know you want your return as a win but our team is ever-improving as we’re going down this tough journey. There’s no doubt about it. We’re playing a good brand of basketball. You’re playing against the best closer in the NBA in Kobe Bryant, albeit that he got 20 points in the second half, but still we sat on him, played him great and that can’t be wiped away. We couldn’t have given a better physical and mental effort tonight in many ways.”

On Ramon Sessions guarding Kobe Bryant:
“We played small ball so he was the tallest of the small. We knew we were in a drought so we went with our small team to score and we were going to try to take our chances there. I didn’t stay with it that long.”

On Bismack Biyombo:
“He gives us versatility on the inside and outside attack. Then he goes in there and he gets the tough rebound in traffic, especially on the defensive boards. Those three things we know he can do, and as a young player he’s developing a post-up game that will eventually be formidable and make him hard to guard. ”

Kemba Walker:

On the game:
“We had those guys almost the whole game and they just made a really good run. Kobe (Bryant) made all the good plays and made all the right passes. They just made shots.”

On what they have to do to maintain leads:
“We have to try to keep our energy up which is pretty tough. We were running a lot the whole game but in the fourth it’s pretty hard to run. Of course fatigue plays a factor sometimes. We just have to try our best to figure it out.”

On Michael Kidd-Gilchrist:
“We were all worried about him from what happened in Houston. For him to come out and play tonight just shows how tough the kid is.”

On the fans:
“The energy was great. The fans were great. We played against a really good team. We wanted to win. We came out, we tried our best. We played hard.”

Byron Mullens:

On the game:
“They just figured out what we were doing right there at the end. They are a smart team. They figured out late what we were doing and they came through at the end.”

On how tough it is to lose a big lead:
“It’s really tough because we had the same situation out in L.A. We were up 17 in the third quarter and they came back and got it. We just have to know how to finish out games. We just have to learn how to do it. Up 20, we just have to keep going with what’s working. We’re a young team. We are learning. We got the young guys out on the court. This is an organization that’s going to be together for a long time. We’ll get it.”



Posted Feb 08 2013 2:36AM

While a win didn't come easy in the first meeting, a trip to Charlotte could provide the Los Angeles Lakers with an opportunity to get back on track.

The Lakers will try to rebound from their worst loss of the season and win for the seventh time in nine games on Friday night when they continue a seven-game road trip against the league-worst Bobcats.

The Lakers had won six of seven - including three straight without Dwight Howard - to move within three games of Houston for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Los Angeles (23-27), however, had that streak snapped in a 116-95 loss at red-hot Boston on Thursday.

Howard returned to the starting lineup after being sidelined with a sore shoulder, finishing with nine points and nine rebounds in 28 minutes before fouling out in the fourth quarter.

"There were a couple times where I felt (the shoulder pain)," he said, "but I just tried not to think about it."

Depending on how his shoulder responds, Howard could be in line for a big game against Charlotte's suspect frontcourt.

He finished with 16 points and 18 rebounds as the Lakers overcame an 18-point second-half deficit to beat the Bobcats 101-100 on Dec. 18. Kobe Bryant scored four of his 30 points in the final 1:26 to key that victory, and has averaged 32.5 points in seven career trips to Charlotte.

The 15-time All-Star had a team-high 27 points on 9-of-15 shooting against the Celtics, but finished without an assist after averaging 9.3 over his previous seven games.

Forward Metta World Peace contributed just five points on 2-of-13 shooting against the Celtics after serving a one-game suspension for grabbing Detroit's Brandon Knight and striking him in the jaw on Sunday.

The Lakers shot just 5 for 23 from beyond the arc, and they've hit 29.6 percent from 3-point range in their last five games.

"Disappointing performance, start to finish," guard Steve Nash said.

Los Angeles may be able to bounce back against the Bobcats (11-37), who return home after giving up 108.0 points per game over the final four of their 0-5 road trip.

Charlotte coach Mike Dunlap wasn't pleased with his team's finish to the trip following a 122-95 loss at Cleveland on Wednesday.

"There are three or four of those that happen to you," said Dunlap, whose team has lost 11 of 13. "They're not pretty. Obviously the physical effort is unacceptable. We don't like that."

Guard Kemba Walker, Charlotte's leading scorer (17.5 ppg), will try to shake off one of his worst performances of the season after scoring five points on 2-of-11 shooting.

Walker had 28 in the December loss to the Lakers.

Charlotte, though, has averaged just 89.4 points - off their season mark of 94.5 per game - during its five-game losing streak.

It might help getting Michael Kidd-Gilchrist back after the rookie missed the last two games with a concussion he sustained last Saturday in Houston. Kidd-Gilchrist practiced on Thursday, but is likely a game-time decision.

While the Lakers have won three straight in the series, they've lost the last three in Charlotte by an average of 15.0 points.

Copyright 2012 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
Probable Starters .
  #15 World Peace SF #44 Taylor  
  #6 ClarkPF #4 Adrien  
  #12 Howard C #0 Biyombo  
  #24 Bryant SG #9 Henderson  
  #10 Nash PG #15 Walker  

Lakers Pau Gasol
(strained plantar fascia, right foot) is out
Jordan Hill
(torn labrum, left hip/herniated disc) is out.
Dwight Howard
(torn labrum, right shoulder) is questionable.
Lakers Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
(concussion) is questionable.

12/18 - CHA 100 @ LAL 101
02/20 - LAL @ CHA