Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 2)

Series starts 1/30

Game 1: Sunday, January 30th
Game 2: Saturday, March 12th

Lakers 117

(32-29, 11-17 away)

Bobcats 116

(12-48, 10-20 home)

    7:00 PM ET, March 12, 2005

    Charlotte Coliseum, Charlotte, NC

    1 2 3 4 T
    LAL 27 30 24 36117
    CHA 25 34 25 32116

    Top Performers

    LAL: K. Bryant 32 Pts, 4 Reb, 9 Ast

    Cha: B. Knight 21 Pts, 3 Reb, 17 Ast, 4 Stl

    Lakers put together consecutive road wins

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- When he was playing in Miami, Caron Butler stayed up late after games to watch Kobe Bryant's oncourt magic in Los Angeles. But Butler hadn't seen it in person since joining the Lakers in the offseason.

    "I was like, 'Now that I'm over here, I want to see some of that," Butler said.

    Bryant certainly obliged Saturday night, scoring 21 fourth-quarter points and hitting a long jumper with 0.9 seconds left in the Lakers' 117-116 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats.

    Bryant finished with 32 points and nine assists for the Lakers, who trailed much of the way against the expansion Bobcats. Bryant finished 12-for-24 from the field, including 8-for-12 in the final quarter, and hit his first game-winner of the season.

    "I feel like if I can raise up and get a good look, it's a good shot," Bryant said. "When you get in a rhythm and all of a sudden the pressure comes, I feel like the basket gets even wider. It's just one of those things. It's a lot easier to make a shot when the pressure's on than it is in the first quarter, sometimes."

    Los Angeles has won consecutive road wins for the first time this season -- a modest streak that comes at a good time. The Lakers beat Dallas on Thursday night in the first game of a six-game road trip, and followed that with a needed victory in a tight Western Conference race.

    "I told them that before the game," Lakers coach Frank Hamblen said of the team's struggles on the road. "For a playoff team, this has to stop."

    Bryant put an end to that, and extended the Bobcats' recent losing streak in frustrating fashion.

    Charlotte appeared ready to end its five-game skid, leading by 10 points with about 7 minutes left on the way to tying its season-high with 116 points.

    The Bobcats also got a pair of strong performances from Brevin Knight and Emeka Okafor. Knight, back in the lineup after missing three games with a sprained ankle, had 21 points and 17 assists with no turnovers.

    Okafor had a career-high 30 points and 11 rebounds, but Bryant had the last word.

    "The way he was rolling down the stretch, he could've closed his eyes, threw the ball up and it would have went in," said Keith Bogans, who had the unenviable task of trying to stop Bryant late in the game.

    After struggling to 11 points on 4-for-12 shooting through three periods, Bryant hit six straight shots -- including three 3-pointers -- to help the Lakers cut a 10-point lead to 110-108 on a jumper over Bogans with 2:45 left in the game.

    Then, after closing to 116-115 on a tip-in by Jumaine Jones with 31 seconds left, the Lakers got the ball back with the chance to win it. Bryant did the rest, taking the ball near midcourt and dribbling toward the top of the key. He pump-faked, sending Bogans into the air, and rose above the Bobcats' guard to launch the shot.

    The ball swished through the net, stunning the crowd.

    After hitting that shot, Bryant told a celebrating Butler, 'Yo, that's what I do."

    "I gave him a high-five and it was like, 'Let's get out of here," Butler said.

    The Bobcats had one final chance, but Knight's final desperation heave wasn't close.

    Bryant said he got fired up when he heard a fan yell that the Bobcats were shutting him down entering the final quarter. Once he found his rhythm, Charlotte had no answer for him.

    "It was just time to take over the game," Bryant said.

    Chucky Atkins added 26 points and hit six 3-pointers, while Butler had 14 points and seven rebounds.

    Game notes

    Knight and Bryant were whistled for technical fouls with 2:27 left in the third quarter. Bryant had pushed through a screen from Knight and the two exchanged words during the play. When asked what the 5-foot-10 Knight said, Bryant responded, "I don't know. I can't hear him. He's too little." ... The Lakers improved to 24-1 against first-year teams going back to the 1980-81 season. Their only loss came against Orlando in December 1989. ... The Bobcats are 7-16 against Western Conference teams. ... The crowd of 23,319 was just the second sellout of the season for Charlotte.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 117 116
    FGM-FGA 43-79 (.544) 45-83 (.542)
    3PM-3PA 14-28 (.500) 3-9 (.333)
    FTM-FTA 17-22 (.773) 23-28 (.821)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 11-38 7-34
    Assists 29 31
    Turnovers 13 5
    Steals 4 7
    Blocks 2 2
    Fast Break Points 13 10
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 20 (1/0) 21 (1/0)
    Largest Lead 9 12

    Top Performers

    Los Angeles
    Kobe Bryant Bryant
    Points: 32
    Reb: 4
    Ast: 9
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 0
    Brevin Knight Knight
    Points: 21
    Reb: 3
    Ast: 17
    Stl: 4
    Blk: 0