Final

Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 2)

Series starts 2/11

Game 1: Monday, February 11th
Lakers106Final
Bobcats97
Game 2: Wednesday, March 26th
Bobcats108Final
Lakers95

Bobcats 108

(26-45, 7-28 away)

Lakers 95

(49-23, 24-10 home)

    Coverage: NE14

    7:30 PM ET, March 26, 2008

    STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA

    1 2 3 4 T
    CHA 27 30 25 26108
    LAL 24 20 24 2795

    Top Performers

    Charlotte: J. Richardson 34 Pts, 10 Reb, 2 Ast, 3 Stl, 2 Blk

    Los Angeles: L. Odom 18 Pts, 9 Reb, 3 Ast, 3 Stl, 1 Blk

    Richardson, Bobcats build hole Kobe, Lakers can't escape

    LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Jason Richardson and Raymond Felton got sick Wednesday morning, putting their status in question for the Charlotte Bobcats' game against the high-flying Los Angeles Lakers.

    Unfortunately for the Lakers, they recovered in time to play.

    MVP Candidates In March

    It's not how you start, it's how you -- and your team -- finish. Here are the March numbers for MVP candidates Chris Paul, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Kevin Garnett:

    Paul
    Bryant
    James
    Garnett
    PPG 24.5 30.3 32.8 20.9
    RPG 3.3 7.4 8.1 8.1
    APG 13.3 4.9 6.5 2.8
    SPG 2.7 1.5 1.2 1.3
    Rec. 10-3 8-5 7-6 11-3

    Richardson had 34 points and 10 rebounds, Felton added 13 points and 10 assists, and the lowly Bobcats stunned the Lakers 108-95 on Wednesday night in a game where Kobe Bryant drew two technical fouls in a span of 29 seconds late in the fourth quarter and was ejected.

    Bryant has 15 technicals, and one more means an automatic one-game suspension.

    Usually accessible, the Lakers star left Staples Center without speaking to reporters. Coach Phil Jackson wasn't much help, either.

    "Well, I may look like I'm here to explain something, but I have nothing to explain," Jackson said. "I can't explain it, so don't ask me any questions. It just looked like we were out of character, tremendously out of character, in more ways than one -- irrational play at times, inconsistent at best, but just some poor judgments, poor decisions."

    When a reporter asked about Bryant, Jackson smiled, stood up and left the interview room.

    Elias Says

    Jason Richardson had 34 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Bobcats to an unlikely win over the Lakers in Los Angeles. Richardson was the first backcourt player to go 34/10 (points/rebounds) against the Lakers since Houston's Clyde Drexler (35/10 in double overtime on Nov. 14, 1997) and the first guard to do it versus the Lakers in a regulation game since Drexler, almost a year earlier (34/10 on Dec. 6, 1996).

    • Read more Elias Says

    The loss dropped the Lakers (49-23) into a three-way tie for second place in the Western Conference with Houston and San Antonio. They trail the New Orleans Hornets by one game.

    "Our defense was terrible from the start," Lakers forward Luke Walton said. "Every team has talented players. If you don't show up ready to play, that's what's going to happen. There's no excuse for us to come out on our homecourt and not take care of business."

    Matt Carroll added 18 points and Gerald Wallace had 15 points, eight rebounds and seven assists for the Bobcats (26-56), who won for just the second time in eight games and snapped a six-game road losing streak. Emeka Okafor had 11 points and 11 rebounds for Charlotte, which outrebounded the Lakers 52-40.

    Bryant had 27 points and six rebounds before leaving with 3:40 left and the Bobcats in control. Lamar Odom had 18 points and nine rebounds, Ronnie Turiaf scored 12 and Sasha Vujacic and Walton added 11 each for the Lakers.

    "No excuses, they deserved it," Odom said. "They played better than us tonight."

    Lakers center Pau Gasol missed his seventh straight game with a sprained left ankle. He said before the game he aggravated the injury earlier this week, and hopes to return by next Wednesday.

    "I wouldn't be surprised if it's not until Wednesday that he plays again," Jackson said. "We're hopeful it's Sunday. We'll have to let time take its course."

    Richardson and Felton said before the game they got sick after eating breakfast.

    "From what I understand, a few of the guys had something to eat and it disrupted their stomach," Bobcats coach Sam Vincent said beforehand. "We're trying to treat it as a non-issue."

    It was the Lakers who felt sick afterward.

    "I thought from the beginning of the game, the guys had a real sharp focus to come in here and play hard for 48 minutes, offensively and defensively, and it was a focus sometimes we have and more often than not, we don't have," Vincent said afterward. "The game just turned out our way tonight."

    The Lakers scored the first 10 points of the final period to move within four points, and a 3-pointer by Vujacic made it 84-81 with 7:45 remaining.

    But that's as close as the Lakers would get. The Bobcats responded with a 16-5 run for a 100-86 lead with 3:40 to play. Carroll's four-point play capped the spurt, and that's when Bryant was kicked out for protesting a foul call.

    "He just started yelling at the ref," Carroll said. "I don't know what was said. They teed him up and that was it."

    When asked if Bryant fouled him, Carroll replied with a smile: "It was a good call."

    Richardson scored five points and Wallace added a 3-pointer in an 8-2 run to start the second half, giving the Bobcats a 65-46 lead. Bryant scored the Lakers' first 15 points of the third quarter, including five straight before a layup by Odom moved Los Angeles within eight points.

    The Bobcats then outscored the Lakers 13-7 for an 82-68 lead entering the final period.

    The Bobcats, coming off a 128-106 loss at Utah on Tuesday night, were clearly the better team in taking a 57-44 halftime lead. The Lakers drew within three points before Charlotte extended the lead to 13 in the final 52.3 seconds of the second period on 3-pointers by Carroll, Richardson and Felton and a foul shot by Richardson.

    Game notes


    The Bobcats have won four of their last five games against the Lakers. ... Odom entered having gotten at least 20 rebounds in two straight games, becoming the first Lakers player to accomplish that feat since Vlade Divac did it in 1995. ... The Bobcats are 19-17 at home, but just 7-28 on the road.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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    Team Stat Comparison

     
    CHA
    LAL
    Points 108 95
    FGM-FGA 39-78 (.500) 34-83 (.410)
    3PM-3PA 11-24 (.458) 8-27 (.296)
    FTM-FTA 19-28 (.679) 19-25 (.760)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 4-15 7-17
    Assists 26 20
    Turnovers 20 13
    Steals 7 10
    Blocks 5 4
    Fast Break Points 12 15
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 21 (0/0) 19 (3/0)
    Largest Lead 19 2

    Top Performers

    Charlotte
    Los Angeles
    Jason Richardson Richardson
    Points: 34
    Reb: 10
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 3
    Blk: 2
    Lamar Odom Odom
    Points: 18
    Reb: 9
    Ast: 3
    Stl: 3
    Blk: 1