Bryant’s late free throws give Lakers win
Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) – Kobe Bryant hit two free throws with seven
seconds remaining and finished with 29 points overall to lift the Los Angeles
Lakers over the Charlotte Bobcats, 99-98, at the Staples Center.
Center Chris Mihm scored a season-high 21 points and collected nine rebounds
for Los Angeles, which has won two of its last three. Sasha Vujacic added 12
points off the bench in the win.
Brevin Knight had 17 points and eight assists for Charlotte, but missed two
critical free throws in the waning moments that allowed the Lakers to take the
Melvin Ely poured in 20 points on 10-of-13 shooting for the Bobcats, who have
dropped four straight. Bernard Robinson chipped in 13 points in the loss.
The Bobcats went ahead 92-88 with 4:11 to play on an Ely alley-oop from Emeka
Okafor, and played the role of frontrunners for almost the entire fourth
Brian Cook nailed a three-pointer from the corner with 1:27 remaining, though,
to cut the lead to one. Just moments later, Bryant stepped to the line and
kept the Lakers deficit at one point with a pair of free throws with 17
seconds to go.
Knight then got the ball at the other end and was fouled, but missed both
Bryant drove to the basket on the ensuing possession and earned another trip
to the charity stripe with just seven seconds to go. Both shots swished in to
give the Lakers their first lead since early in the third quarter.
Charlotte had one last shot for the win, but could not convert.
The Bobcats led 48-46 at halftime in what was a close contest throughout.
There were 14 ties and 11 lead changes in the game.
The Lakers, who now embark on a six-game road trip, are 4-5 in their arena
this season…Charlotte is 1-10 on the road…Lakers forward Lamar Odom tied
his career-high with 11 assists…Los Angeles won both matchups with the
Bobcats last season.