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GAMEDAY LINKS: Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Box Score Charlotte Bobcats 25 33 26 16 100
Play by Play Los Angeles Lakers 27 26 23 24 101
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Lakers hand Bobcats 12th straight loss, 101-100

By JOE RESNICK

Posted Dec 19 2012 1:45AM

LOS ANGELES (AP) Kobe Bryant scored four of his 30 points in the final 1:26 and the Los Angeles Lakers overcame an 18-point third-quarter deficit to beat Charlotte 101-100 on Tuesday night, handing the Bobcats their 12th straight loss.

Jodie Meeks and Metta World Peace each had 17 points for the Lakers, who won their third straight to match their longest winning streak of the season. Pau Gasol, back after missing eight games with tendinitis in both knees, had 10 points and nine rebounds in 30 minutes and shot 3 for 10.

World Peace, who had a career-high 16 rebounds in the Lakers' 111-98 victory at Philadelphia on Sunday, was not in the starting lineup for the first time after starting the first 25 games. Reserve center Jordan Hill missed his third straight game because of back spasms.

Kemba Walker led Charlotte with 28 points, reserve Ramon Sessions added 20 and Gerald Henderson had 19. Byron Mullens finished with 17 rebounds and 13 points.

The Bobcats, who haven't won since beating the league-worst Wizards in double overtime on Nov. 24 at Washington, are 14-76 since the start of last season and haven't won back-to-back games since the final two in 2010-11. Their seven wins already have matched their total from last season's lockout-shortened 66-game campaign, when they lost their final 23.

Bryant has scored at least 30 points in seven straight games, equaling his longest such streak since the final nine of the 2005-06 campaign. His longest streak of 30-plus games was 16, in 2002-03. The four-time scoring champ has 236 points during his current streak. The most he ever had during a seven-game stretch was 344 in 2006-07, including five games with 50 or more.

The Lakers, who came in 0-12 when trailing after three quarters, fell behind 80-62 after Walker capped a 14-5 run on a driving layup with 5:38 left in the third. Charlotte took a seven-point margin into the fourth, but that quickly evaporated as Los Angeles opened the quarter with a 13-0 run to grab a 90-84 lead.

Meeks tied it on a 3-pointer from the left corner in front of the Charlotte bench. Bryant's three-point play 25 seconds later gave the Lakers an 87-84 edge with 9:53 remaining, and Darius Morris capped the rally about a minute later with a 3.

The Bobcats got the deficit down to one on a 16-footer by Walker with 6:55 to play. Bryant beat the shot clock with another 3 at the other end before Bismack Biyombo's tip-in tied it at 95 with 3:22 left. Bryant responded with a three-point play to put the Lakers ahead for good with 1:26 on the clock.

The Bobcats had one more chance to pull it out after getting the rebound of Bryant's missed 21-footer and calling timeout. But Howard blocked Walker `s 3-foot layup, Henderson failed to convert on his offensive rebound and Ben Gordon misfired badly on a desperation 3 at the buzzer.

The Bobcats, who haven't shot 50 percent or better from the field in any game this season, finished at 40 percent in the opener of a four-game western road trip. They had four players in double-figure scoring in the first half and led 58-53 at intermission after a 21-7 run over the final 5:23 of the half.

Sessions shot 7 for 13 in his return to Staples Center. He played 23 games for the Lakers last season after he was acquired on March 15 in a trade that sent Luke Walton and Jason Kapono to Cleveland - the same day the Lakers dealt starting point guard Derek Fisher to Houston for Hill.

Sessions had 11 points in the second, including a three-point play, a 3-pointer and two free throws in the final 2:52 of the quarter. The Bobcats signed him as a free agent in July, two days after Los Angeles acquired two-time MVP Steve Nash in a trade from Phoenix.

Nash has missed the last 24 games with a non-displaced fracture in his left leg, but is hoping to return to the lineup on Christmas Day when the Lakers host the Knicks.

Charlotte jumped out to an early eight-point lead before the Lakers pulled ahead 27-25 by the end of the first quarter. Howard, who came in with an abysmal 49.8 free throw percentage, was fouled by Biyombo on a layup just 11 seconds after the opening tip and sank both foul shots. The Bobcats sent him to the line only three more times after that, and he made six of eight overall.

NOTES: Bryant's next 30-point game will make him the fifth player in NBA history with at least 400 of them. ... The Lakers are 7-9 since Mike D'Antoni took over as head coach. D'Antoni was 5-11 in his first 16 games with Denver, 4-12 with Phoenix and 8-8 with the Knicks. ... Bryant recorded his 600th career block when he rejected Biyombo's shot with 4:55 left in the second quarter. ... The Lakers have beaten Charlotte three straight times - all at home - after losing eight of the previous 10 meetings. ... The 34-year-old Bryant played at least 40 minutes for the seventh consecutive game. ... Bryant was 11 for 24 from the field. The Lakers are 4-10 when he has missed 10 or more shots.

Copyright 2012 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited



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Points Bryant, 30
Rebounds Howard, 18
Assists Bryant and Walker (CHA) , 7
Blocks Gasol/Howard and Mullens (CHA), 4
Steals World Peace, 4
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POSTGAME QUOTES



Mike D'Antoni:

On the game:
“We started off really well. We played good defense, moved the ball…They threw some shots in, give them a little credit, but once we got to zero they got our psyche. Our air went out of us and we were flat. We just dissipated. And then they [Lakers] pulled it back together. The last 18 minutes I think they scored 22 points and we got a win.”

“I’m trying to figure out what’s the best way to play the team. We will keep looking at film, keep revisiting. We have a couple of practices and we will keep looking at different combinations. There will be times where during the season injuries, sickness, illnesses, whatever, will give another look to different people and hopefully they will be ready and I hope they understand. I try to talk to them and get them to understand.”

On Pau Gasol:
“I was happy for Pau, for his first time back. He hasn’t played in two weeks and I thought the first five, six, eight minutes of each half he was really good.”

On Metta World Peace:
“I want him to play the four and we have to be able to change our team. I hate it for Jordan Hill right now because he is the odd man out. He doesn’t deserve it, he’s played well, he is a good player, but for us to have a different team, a different look Metta has to play the four. Or if he starts at the three, once I get him to the four, it’s too many minutes for him, he needs rest. So that’s the whole process. And I think Metta going forward, as soon as he gets more comfortable with the four role will be very productive as a four and our team will be very productive. You have got Dwight, you have a seven footer in there so we can go small and I just think it puts Jodie Meeks out there, it puts Kobe more room to operate. Once we get Nash back it will be the pick and rolls that are able to operate.”

On Jodie Meeks:
“Jodie he has a little pop to his game, defensively and offensively. And he doesn’t seem to get tired. He played 39 minutes today. And we are a different look when he is on the floor. He spreads the floor and he is always a three point shot ready to happen. I think he is playing extremely well.”




Kobe Bryant:

On doing whatever it takes:
“We just tried to grind it out. I think it was a big lesson for us. We managed to stick together. We could have folded but we didn’t. We stayed together and played hard. ”

On scoring the ball and rhythm on offense:
“We’re just moving the ball. I’m being aggressive and looking for opportunities to get a few guys involved. I’m just hoping this whole Benjamin Button thing doesn’t wear off.”

On scoring final points and pulling out of the stretch:
“The important thing is that we got six stops and we got the drop down by a big margin. We finally got out act together and starting playing some defense.”




Pau Gasol:

On getting a chance to play:
“I feel a little winded, a little out of touch but I was able to get out there and contribute. I’m getting into better shape so I can get better.”

On losing the lead and getting it back:
“What got us the lead was defensive intensity. That’s what we didn’t have for a good while and that’s what we need to have consistently. We can’t allow teams to play comfortably we just got to get into them defensively, we’ve just got to be consistent. We just can’t be complacent in our games regardless of who we play and regardless of the score.”

On consistency challenge being Mike D’Antoni adjusting to Pau or Pau having to find a way to do what he does:
“It goes both ways. I try to do my best. I try to do my part and hopefully the coaching staff will do their parts. I want to be as productive as possible and be out there as long as possible so I can do what I need to do.”




Dwight Howard:

On why they fell behind, and how they came back:
“They got a lot of fast break points; they’re number two in steals and getting out and getting points in transition. They got the lead, and then we did a good job of playing great defense for a big stretch in the game.”

On how they can have the solid defense for a full game:
“It’s a process, and we’re going to get better at it. The biggest thing we did tonight was talk a lot on defense. We were helping each other. We had a couple possessions where we didn’t help, but now we have to close out the possession and everybody has to come back. Tonight we had Metta [World Peace] at the four, and [Byron] Mullens was playing the four for them and reaching over Metta’s head sometimes for rebounds. So, we all have to come in and help rebound on the defensive end.”

On having Pau Gasol back:
“It was great; we made a little connection tonight. I know he was tired, but I was happy to see him out there, and he looked pretty good. I’m just happy that he’s back, and hopefully all of the rest of the guys will be back soon.”




Metta World Peace:

On playing the four tonight:
“It was kind of a weird position tonight because I’m definitely not used to playing the four. When I was young I played the four, but this is definitely different and I have to get used to it. I still want to make sure I’m able to keep my teammates involved, and continue to be a part and contribute.”




Mike Dunlap:

On whether this loss will stick with them:
“No, it’s the NBA. We have a game tomorrow night so not at all.”

On their performance tonight:
“I think that there are a lot of positives and we ran. We tried to push the tempo at them, they’re pretty good at doing that to people and obviously our rebound game was pretty good tonight.”

On Byron Mullens’ performance:
“He’s our leading rebounder and he has the ability to do that. I think people get disappointed in him on nights he doesn’t do it but his arrow is pointing in the right direction, as are a lot of our young guys, and Ramon Sessions had a heck of a game tonight. He really helped Kemba (Walker) out and vice versa.”

On needing high performances from guards Kemba Walker and Ramon Sessions to be successful:
“I believe so. There’s a lot expected of them but that’s the NBA. To be a guard in this thing its tough but you got to (marshal) your energy night in and night out and both of them can do it. They’re very capable.”




Kemba Walker:

On losing after having a double digit lead:
“We got to learn to keep our leads. We tend to let up. Most of the time when we have big leads, we lose. So we still got to learn how to keep our leads.”

On the game’s back-and-forth momentum swings:
“It’s tough. Momentum was on their side. They made tough shots. They got stops. They did things well down the stretch. We just got to learn to keep our poise and keep our lead.”

On the team’s defense:
“We just wanted to make those guys take tough shots and I think we did a good job with that, Byron [Mullens] and Bismack [Biyombo]. Those were some guys that played really well tonight. They just made Dwight [Howard] and Pau [Gasol] try to shoot over them, and they did a great job.”




Ramon Sessions:

On the team’s offense:
“In the first half we were stagnant a little bit not moving the ball as much as we would like, but we kept the game close and that’s all you can ask for playing against a good team like those guys. Down the stretch we just missed a couple shots here and there and missed a layup.”

On what the team will take from tonight’s game:
“We need to just keep building. We’re a young team and we just got to learn from each game and hopefully we picked up something from this game. You just continue to play hard, we got Phoenix tomorrow and we’re just looking to get a win really.”

On returning to play in Los Angeles:
“It was just another game. I had a short period of time here and it was great. Tt came and went and I’m looking forward to what I got going on now in Charlotte. But it was great getting out here playing in front of the Staples Center crowd, it doesn’t matter if you’re playing [with the Lakers] or not it’s one of those arenas that you just enjoy playing at.”




Gerald Henderson:

On guarding Kobe Bryant:
“I started on him, Jeff came in and did a pretty good job. When we have guard to guard we can switch, but it’s just not that, its team defense as well. With him you always have to be prepared to come off your man and put your body in his space and try to make him shoot difficult shots or pass the ball.”

On the teams past success against the lakers and their mindset going into tonight’s game:
“We get up to play [the lakers]. Their personnel has changed year after year and they got one of the best players in the league so I think we get up to play them. It just so happens tonight we came closer.”

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BOBCATS-LAKERS PREVIEW

By JEFF MEZYDLO

Posted Dec 18 2012 10:08AM

Though the Los Angeles Lakers still have their issues, they're starting to find ways to win again.

The same can't be said for the reeling Charlotte Bobcats.

The Lakers look to match a season high with their third straight victory and hand the Bobcats a 12th consecutive defeat Tuesday night at Staples Center.

As injuries continue to sideline stars Steve Nash and Pau Gasol while those who are healthy try to adjust to coach Mike D'Antoni's system, Los Angeles (11-14) won two in a row to split a four-game trip. Two days after snapping a four-game slide with a 102-96 victory at Washington, the Lakers defeated Philadelphia 111-98 on Sunday. They didn't trail in the second half of either game.

"It's guys playing with confidence and guys trusting each other," Kobe Bryant said after going 12 for 21 from the field and scoring 34 points Sunday. "We played well, communicated well, kept attacking and good things happened.

"I know the questions have been coming because we hadn't been winning, but our time will come."

Metta World Peace had 19 points and a career-high 16 rebounds while Dwight Howard added 17 and 11 for the Lakers, who won consecutive contests for the first time since a three-game run Nov. 16-20 once D'Antoni took over.

Though the last two wins have come against two of the NBA's lowest-scoring teams, Los Angeles played better defensively after allowing 111.8 points per game over the previous four. The Lakers tied a season high by forcing 19 turnovers against the Wizards and caused 18 against the 76ers while recording a season-best 13 steals.

"Guys are playing well," said point guard Chris Duhon, who matched a season high with 14 points Sunday.

Bryant has at least 30 points in six straight games, averaging 34.3 during that span, and leads the NBA in scoring (29.5 ppg). His 20.4 average against the Bobcats since the start of the 2009-10 season is his second-lowest against any opponent.

The Lakers also haven't done particularly well against a perennially mediocre Bobcats team, losing eight of the past 12 meetings, but they've won the last two. C

harlotte (7-16) allowed 99.6 points per game while starting 7-5 but is giving up 108.5 during its 11-game skid. The Bobcats had two slides of at least 12 games while going 7-59 last season.

They were outrebounded 43-31 and let Orlando shoot a season-high 54.4 percent in Saturday's 107-98 home loss.

"When you give up 54 percent shooting from the floor and they're getting over 100 points regularly we know what the culprit is," said coach Mike Dunlap, whose team has allowed at least 100 points in nine straight games and 12 of 13.

The Bobcats' latest poor defensive effort overshadowed a career-high 32 points from second-year guard Kemba Walker, who went 11 of 20 from the field and recorded seven assists.

"I'm trying to get better," said Walker, who averages team highs of 18.1 points and 6.1 assists. "That's all you do at this point. I'm just doing whatever I can do to help my team win basketball games. No matter how many points I have I really don't care about that stuff. I'm just trying to win."

Walker has averaged 21.1 points and shot 45.9 percent at home, compared to 12.4 points and 35.8 percent on the road. He went 4 of 11 from the field and finished with 12 points in a 106-73 loss at Los Angeles on Jan. 31 in these teams' last meeting.


Copyright 2012 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
Probable Starters .
  Lakers    
  #15 World Peace SF #14 Kidd-Gilchrist  
  #3 EbanksPF #22 Mullens  
  #12 Howard C #0 Biyombo  
  #24 Bryant SG #9 Henderson  
  #21 Duhon PG #15 Walker  


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Lakers Kobe Bryant
(back spasms) is day-to-day.
Steve Blake
(abdominal surgery) is out.
Pau Gasol
(tendinitis, left and right knees) is day-to-day.
Jordan Hill
(back spasms) is day-to-day.
Steve Nash
(non-displaced fracture, left leg) is out.
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Magic Tyrus Thomas
(left calf sprain) is out.
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12/18 - CHA @ LAL
02/08 - LAL @ CHA
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