The Lakers were down 20 points with 5:26 left in the third quarter but collected themselves and stormed back for a 100-93 win over the Bobcats Friday night. The Lakers came out of the gates slow, playing on the second night of a back-to-back, but went on a 49-22 scoring run to finish the game. Kobe Bryant scored 0 points in the first half, going 0-2, but finished the game with 20 points (6-15), 8 assists, and 7 rebounds. Bryant instead led Los Angeles with his defense, which became contagious in the second half when Dwight Howard started blocking or altering virtually every shot in the paint. Howard posted a double-double with 12 points, 11 rebounds, and 3 blocks.
When asked after the game about what they did right in the third quarter, Bryant told Mike Trudell:
“We started getting in a good rhythm. We started making some shots that we were missing in the first half. And defensively, we became a little bit more solid.”
The Lakers got key contributions from Earl Clark, Jodie Meeks, and Antawn Jamison. Mike D’Antoni played only three players off the bench but they combined for 23 bench points. Earl Clark put up 17 points and 10 rebounds. Jodie Meeks played a key role in the Lakers run in the third quarter, finishing with 14 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 assists in 30 minutes.
Every Lakers’ starter finished with double figures in points and Los Angeles scored 100 points for the second time in the past six games. Steve Nash scored 17 points and dished out 7 assists, and Metta World Peace had 11 points and 5 rebounds.
Los Angeles has now won seven of its last nine games and is 4-2 on its road trip with one game left. The Lakers are off tomorrow but face a big test Sunday in Miami against LeBron James and the Heat. The Lakers are hungry for wins and Mike D’Antoni told Mike Trudell after the victory what his team needs to do to win games:
“We just got to shut up and play hard and hopefully we’ve learned. . .”
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