The Lakers came into Saturday night’s game against the Bobcats on a three game losing streak, and they were looking for their first win with Kobe Bryant this season. This was a second night of a back-to-back for the Lakers, and they got smashed by the Thunder on Friday night.
They were in Charlotte on Saturday, and with Michael Jordan watching, Kobe Bryant looked like the Kobe Bryant of old. The Lakers were sloppy early, as Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol turned the ball over early, and they were allowing the Bobcats to score in the paint with ease.
Bryant looked like he was starting to get his legs, as he had eight points, and two assists in the first quarter. The game was 23-22 in favor of the Bobcats after the first quarter.
In the second quarter, the Lakers’ reserves were struggling, and LA missed it’s first five shots. Mike D’Antoni went with his starters early, and things started to get back on track. Kemba Walker was shooting well from the field, and the Bobcats were hitting their shots. Pau Gasol seemed to be getting the majority of the touches for the Lakers, and it may have had something to do with the feud between Gasol and D’Antoni. Bryant was moving the ball well as he played point guard, but his turnovers were piling up. The Lakers led by one at the half.
In the third, the Bobcats were hitting more shots, and they built a nice lead. The Lakers defense wasn’t bad, but they hit some tough shots, and that led to increased confidence. The Lakers missed a lot of shots, and it led to some easy buckets in transition for Charlotte. Jordan Hill came in for LA, and he sparked them and kept them in the game. The Bobcats held a four point lead heading into the final period.
The bench for the Lakers would go on a 9-2 run in the fourth to take the lead, but the Bobcats hit some tough shots, and the game was going down to the wire. The Bobcats held a lead with a few minutes left when Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant checked back in, and the two stars propelled them to tie the game. Kobe Bryant hit two free throws to take a one point lead, and the Bobcats couldn’t hit a shot to take the lead. They fouled Pau Gasol, and he hit his two free throws to take an 88-85 lead with one more possession to go. The Bobcats missed a three to tie, and Pau Gasol–who was huge defensively down the stretch– blocked Al Jefferson’s putback attempt, and the Lakers won the game, 88-85.
Kobe had his best game since he returned, as he scored 21 points, and added eight assists and seven rebounds. He did have seven turnovers, but he is playing point guard after an eight month layoff, so that should be expected. Pau Gasol had 15 points and seven rebounds, but he shot just 6 of 18 from the field. Kobe and Pau had 13 of the Lakers 15 turnovers, but those guys were the difference in the end. The Lakers held the Bobcats scoreless for the final two minutes and forty-nine seconds.
Kemba Walker was the high man for Charlotte with 24 points, and he had the hot hand all night. The Lakers will be back in action in Atlanta on Monday, and I will be there covering the game. The Bobcats fall to 10-14, and the Lakers climb to 11-12.