Charlotte 133, Los Angeles Lakers 124

CHARLOTTE, N.C., Dec 29 (AP) -- Kobe Bryant walked slowly into the locker room, sighed and stopped instead of continuing to his locker to meet reporters.

"I don't want to have to walk all the way over there,'' Bryant said.

Bryant was exhausted. His 58 points in 55 minutes were offset by two key errors in the third overtime, and the Charlotte Bobcats outlasted the Los Angeles Lakers 133-124 on Friday night.

"I don't want to have to do that,'' Bryant said of his big scoring night. "It's too tiring.''

Bryant spoiled the third-highest point total of his career by committing a foul on Derek Anderson's 3-point attempt with 1:14 left. Anderson hit all three free throws to give Charlotte a 129-124 lead.

Bryant then missed a long jumper and fouled out when Anderson drew a charge on the next possession. Bryant shot 22-of-45 and his performance trailed only his 81-point game last January in Toronto and a 62-point effort last December in Dallas.

"I've been guarding him for 10 years,'' Anderson said. "I knew he was going to drive and do that.''

Bryant disagreed with both foul calls.

"Silly calls,'' Bryant said. "I saw what (New Jersey Nets guard Jason) Kidd said and I don't want to be $20,000 lighter.''

Emeka Okafor had 22 points and a career-high 25 rebounds, Gerald Wallace scored 28 and Matt Carroll added a career-high 27 points for the Bobcats, who played their first triple-overtime game in franchise history.

Raymond Felton added 22 points and 15 assists in 57 minutes for the Bobcats, who snapped a three-game losing streak.

"I'm hurting, no question,'' Felton said. "But this was one of the best games in history. I'm glad I was a part of it.''

Rookie Adam Morrison was held to five points on 1-of-15 shooting, but the Bobcats were able to get another win against a good team. Five of Charlotte's eight victories have come against Utah, Detroit, Orlando, San Antonio, and the Lakers, who ended a six-game road trip 3-3 despite Bryant's third 50-point game of the season.

The trouble was nobody else scored more than 14 points or took more than 10 shots for the Lakers, and Bryant appeared to tire down the stretch.

"I was yelling at them to run their offense and get away from that. They just seemed to be going back to him all the time,'' Lakers coach Phil Jackson said.

Bryant curiously passed on throwing up a prayer at the end of the second overtime and Sasha Vujacic couldn't get a shot off at the buzzer, creating the NBA's second triple-overtime game in three nights. New York beat Detroit 151-145 on Wednesday night.

Bryant missed two jumpers at the end of regulation, including a 20-footer at the buzzer, and Felton missed two shots in the final five seconds of the first overtime for Charlotte.

Wallace fouled out late in the first overtime when he picked up two fouls in 15 seconds trying to guard Bryant.

Little-used Bernard Robinson replaced him, and scored four points in the third OT.

"We wanted him to go in for defense, and he ended up giving us a little bit of offense,'' coach Bernie Bickerstaff said.

Bryant's 3-pointer with 2:34 left in regulation snapped a tie and his fadeaway with 1:47 left made it 101-98. But Carroll's floater and a putback kept the Bobcats in it, and Wallace's three-point play with 43 seconds left tied it.

Bryant scored 27 points in the first half, but picked up his fourth foul - and a technical foul for arguing - with seven minutes left in the third quarter.

He sat out the final five minutes of the period and the Bobcats took a five-point lead on Carroll's 3.

Bryant didn't take long to wow the crowd of 19,561, the largest in the arena's two-year history. He hit six of his first seven shots, including a spectacular one-handed dunk off an alley-oop pass, to give the Lakers a 22-12 lead. The Lakers led by as many as 14 in the first quarter.

"The fans got to see Kobe Bryant at his best, but for us to be able to come out on top tonight was great,'' Wallace said

Notes: Bobcats G Brevin Knight underwent successful surgery to repair a torn abdominal muscle Friday in Philadelphia. Bickerstaff said Knight will be able to begin rehabilitation in about a week, and hopes to return in a month. ... Bickerstaff said he's not sure if they'll bring in another point guard, which would require them to release a player. ... Jackson acknowledged it's been tough being on the road for 12 days after recently undergoing hip replacement surgery. "It was a challenge,'' said Jackson, who still noticeably limps.


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