Lakers vs Charlotte: Lakers beaten down by Bobcats -- again
Bobcats 109, Lakers 89 (final)
The Lakers were in Charlotte to face the Bobcats, which usually is a bad thing.
This time it was really bad.
The Lakers lost to Charlotte for the eighth time in the last 10 meetings, and Monday's 20-point margin of defeat was their biggest ever against the Bobcats. The worst previously had been 15 points.
It was the third consecutive loss in Charlotte for the Lakers, who last won here on Feb. 11, 2008.
Kobe Bryant, who missed the shoot-around earlier Monday because of chills and body aches, finished with 20 points on eight-for-20 shooting.
But whomever he defended seemed to have his way. Starter Gerald Wallace scored 20 points on nine-for-16 shooting. He was one of the players Bryant defended. Reserve Gerald Henderson had 16 points on six-for-nine shooting. Bryant also guarded him at times.
Then again, no one on the Lakers played much defense. The Bobcats shot 51.2% from the field.
The Lakers shot 43.8% from the field and made only three of 19 three-point attempts.
The Lakers now are 4-2 on this seven-game trip that ends Wednesday night in Cleveland.
Bobcats 78, Lakers 60 (end of third quarter)
The Lakers got their butts kicked by the Bobcats in the third quarter.
The Lakers got run off the court, giving up 29 points in the quarter while scoring only 17.
Even Kwame Brown, the former Lakers center, got into the act for Bobcats, scoring twice in helping the Bobcats open an 18-point lead entering the fourth.
A three-pointer by Gerald Wallace before the third-quarter buzzer gave the Bobcats their big lead.
Wallace has 20 points through three quarters.
Bobcats 49, Lakers 43 (end of first half)
It was clear that Kobe Bryant wasn't himself.
He missed the shootaround earlier in the day with chills and body aches.
Bryant started and scored nine first-half points, but he was only four for 13 from the field. He shot two airballs. He also had four turnovers.
The Lakers trailed by 11 points in the second quarter, but played better defense late in the period.
Bobcats 24, Lakers 22 (end of first quarter)
The Lakers started strong, making their first four shots. The defense was good, forcing the Bobcats into missing their first eight shots.
But the Lakers didn't finish strong, falling behind by two points to end the quarter after Kwame Brown, the former Laker, tipped in a missed shot.
Boris Diaw had eight points for the Bobcats.
Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol each had six points for the Lakers in the first quarter.
Since the Charlotte Bobcats joined the NBA for the 2004-05 season, the Lakers have a losing record against them, 5-7.
The Boston Celtics are the only other team in the NBA that has a winning record against the Lakers.
The Bobcats have won seven of their last nine games against the Lakers, and before his team played them Monday night, L.A. Coach Phil Jackson was asked if he could offer an explanation for this phenomenon.
"None that I can think of," Jackson said, smiling.
The games between the teams are usually competitive, and, Jackson said, "Normally we are at the end of a road trip when we come down here."
This time the Lakers are playing their sixth game on a seven-game trip, and it will be their fourth game in five days.
Kobe Bryant missed the shoot-around Monday because he was experiencing chills and aches, but he was scheduled to play against the Bobcats.
"Individually they match up well against us," Jackson said. "And that's something with Kobe not 100%, he's going to have to match up and do a job defensively. They put you under pressure defensively in one-on-one situations sometimes on the court."
-- Broderick Turner, reporting from Charlotte, N.C.
Photo: Lakers guard Kobe Bryant works in the post against Bobcats guard Stephen Jackson on Monday night in Charlotte. Credit: Sam Sharpe / US Presswire