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Jones scores career-high 31 as Bobcats end losing skid

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Jumaine Jones swears there was nothing
personal about his career night against the Los Angeles Lakers. If
there was any doubt, he erased it by taking a bag of gear into his
former team's locker room for Kobe Bryant to sign for him.

Jones, traded from Los Angeles to Charlotte in late October,
scored a career-high 31 points to help the Bobcats snap their
franchise-record, 13-game losing streak on Friday night with a
112-102 shocker over the Lakers.

"It's definitely a big deal that I had a good game against the
team that traded me," Jones said. "But we had a 13-game losing
streak. I just wanted to get a win. That means more to me than
anything."

Jones then headed over to see Bryant, who stopped his postgame
interviews to praise his former teammate.

"That's my guy," Bryant gushed before exchanging hugs with
Jones and giving him an autographed pair of his game shoes. "I
hated to see him go. That's my man. I love him."

Jones played the entire game as if he was trying to show Los
Angeles what it let get away. He made all six of his shots in the
first quarter to help the Bobcats open a 40-25 lead they never
relinquished.

He shot 13-of-20, made five 3-pointers, and had nine rebounds to
pace Charlotte.

"He practiced against Kobe all of last year, so obviously it
was sweet revenge for him," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "We
deserved that. We didn't know who he was, we gave him up to
Charlotte, we had no idea how good a player he was."

The Bobcats had a plan to contain Bryant, and did it when it
mattered.

Although Bryant finished with 35 points, he didn't make a basket
in the fourth quarter. He went 0-for-3 with the game on the line,
scoring just four points in the quarter on free throws. Bryant also
had seven turnovers in the game.

"That guy is a pretty good player," Charlotte coach Bernie
Bickerstaff said. "But what I thought tonight was that his shots
were limited."

Playing without Lamar Odom, who sat out with a sprained ribs,
the Lakers lacked a sufficient supporting cast. Devean George
replaced Odom in the lineup, but had just 12 points and five
rebounds.

Primoz Brezec finished with 22 points for Charlotte, which had
not won a game since a double-overtime victory over Houston on Jan.
10.

"Teams that have lost a lot of games are dangerous teams and we
knew that coming in," Jackson said. "We just have no excuses.
They outplayed us tonight."

Raymond Felton added 16 points for the Bobcats, Brevin Knight
had 15 points and 10 assists and Melvin Ely finished with 11.

Smush Parker had 19 points for the Lakers and Chris Mihm added
15.

Although the Bobcats led from start to finish, they couldn't
maintain the frantic pace they opened the game with. Stars Emeka
Okafor and Gerald Wallace are on Charlotte's long injured list,
leaving the Bobcats with a cast of supporting players to try to
fend off the Lakers.

"I think they play hard, have a talented group over there, and
were hit by the injury bug all year," Bryant said. "If all those
guys were healthy, who knows what they would be doing."

Los Angeles began its comeback in the second quarter when Bryant
scored seven points in a 12-3 run that Los Angeles capped with
Parker's 3-pointer. That cut Charlotte's lead to 59-53 with eight
seconds to play in the half. Knight added a pair of free throws
before the break to send Charlotte into the locker room up 61-53.

Tempers flared in the third quarter when Bryant twice elbowed
Ely in the stomach as he tried to move around him. Ely responded
with a hard push to Bryant's chest and the two had to be separated
by their teammates.

Bryant and Ely were each hit with technical fouls, and the crowd
that had been pro-Bryant at the start of the game slowly began to
turn on him.

That changed as the third quarter went on, though, and Bryant
began to put on a show. He had 15 points in the period and, after
taking a pass from Luke Walton at the foul line, moved back to the
3-point line and drained the shot to cut Charlotte's lead to 86-84
with 28 seconds to play.

The Bobcats got a pair of free throws from Felton to make it
88-84 headed into the final quarter and held off the Lakers the
rest of the way.

Game notes
This was the first game this season that Odom has missed,
and the Lakers aren't sure when he'll be back. ... The Bobcats tied
their franchise record for points in a quarter with 40 in the
first, matching the total set against Philadelphia in December of
last season. ... The Lakers committed 23 turnovers for 25 Charlotte
points. ... Los Angeles has lost two straight.