The Lakers had a day off on Monday to focus on Tuesday night's task against the Bobcats, which seemed important: after all, Charlotte has had the Lakers number as of late, winning four out of the last five meetings. Even with the practice time however, L.A. came out flat to start, and some late game heroics weren't enough to prevent another loss to the Bobcats, 117-110 in double overtime.
L.A. came managed just 16 points in the first quarter. They doubled that effort in the second to trail by just a single point at halftime, but the Bobcats played a strong second half, and were able to build a seven-point lead with about two and a half minutes remaining. Then, Kobe Bryant took over.
Bryant scored the next seven Lakers' points, cutting the Bobcat lead to two at 92-90 with just over a minute to play. Charlotte made a free throw to extend their lead back to three, before Derek Fisher hit a three-pointer with 14 seconds left that tied the score and sent the game into its first overtime period.
In the extra session, Kobe scored eight of L.A.'s 10 points, before fouling out of the game on an extremely questionable blocking call that he was whistled for almost 30 feet from the basket. The Bobcats tied the game on a three-pointer from Boris Diaw, and we were headed for a second overtime. But since Kobe had shouldered so much of the Laker offense from the fourth quarter on, the team struggled without him, and the Bobcats pulled away for their third straight win at Staples Center.
"I don't know," Jackson began. "It's the way the roll of the dice goes some nights. This was one of those games. They outplayed us tonight."
The Lakers did make a valiant effort late, and almost won a game that maybe they didn't deserve to -- which is something Phil wasn't afraid to acknowledge.
"We were fortunate to get back in the game. They had to miss foul shots for us to get back into the ballgame," Jackson said. "We really almost stole a ballgame that we should have lost. So I think sometimes justice prevails."
The Lakers lost Trevor Ariza in the first half to a concussion; he's listed as day-to-day. Andrew Bynum was whistled for a flagrant foul on Charlotte's Gerald Wallace, which is something the league will review and could possibly hand down a suspension for if they feel it was a particularly violent act. The Lakers' next game is at Minnesota against the resurgent Timberwolves, who would likely give L.A. all they could handle in the middle if Bynum is indeed forced to sit that one out.