Kobe Bryant and the Lakers (44-19) made sure that their bizarre struggles with the Charlotte Bobcats (26-35) did not continue last night as they defeated visiting Charlotte 92-84 in the Staples Center. It was only the third time in the last eleven meetings between the two teams that the Lakers have won.
Kobe scored a team high 27 points, shooting 10-25 from the field, Pau Gasol had 20 points and 10 rebounds and Andrew Bynum pulled down a team high 17 rebounds as he seems to be the consistent force the Lakers were hoping on more and more every game now.
DJ Augustin led the Bobcats with 22 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists. Augustin was impressive shooting the ball coming off of ball screens last night and will hopefully look for that shot more often now that the Bobcats have lost much of their scoring load via trade last week. DJ White was very impressive last night off the bench as he scored 11 points, pulled down 7 rebounds and had 2 blocks in only 19 minutes of action. Numbers like this will most likely be getting White many more minutes for Charlotte down the stretch and possibly being the second option behind Boris Diaw at PF.
Stephen Jackson left the game last night with a hamstring strain and could possibly miss a few games due to the fact that this is not the first time he has gotten this injury. Paul Silas said after the game that Jackson will most likely sit a few games to “rest his legs.”
Charlotte competed well last night with the Lakers as they never allowed them to pull away but could not make the run in the end to catch LA. For whatever reason, the Bobcats always seem to play very solid defensively against the Lakers. They forced the Lakers into 25 shots from behind the arc last night and LA only made 5 of those. Defensively Charlotte’s effort was great last night. They guarded the Lakers very close up and forced them to take many contested jumpers. The Bobcats weren’t able to force many turnovers last night (7) but they were very good at keeping themselves in between the ball and the basket defensively and were only out rebounded 49-50.
Despite what seems to be the destructive stage of the Bobcats season they remain only one game back for the last playoff spot behind Indiana. The Pacers lost in Dallas last night. Charlotte has three of their next four games at home and must find a way to start manufacturing wins if they plan to stay in the chase for the playoffs.
Tonight the Bobcats will travel to Portland to face their ex-teammate Gerald Wallace for the first time since the trade in what will be an emotional game for both the Bobcats and Wallace. Getting a win on this current four game road trip was something the Bobcats knew they needed to find a way to do to benefit their chances at the playoffs down the road and tonight is their last chance to accomplish that.