CHARLOTTE – As they hope to slowly crawl out of the abyss that makes up the Western Conference standings, the Lakers have continuously proven that compiling victories will become a laborious task.
The Lakers escaped with a 100-93 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats Friday at American Airlines Arena, an accomplishment only because it prevented another tally in the loss column.
For a while, the Lakers appeared on the verge of hitting rock bottom by losing to the NBA’s worst team. Not that it should be surprising. The Lakers have become an equal-opportunity underachiever against both good teams and bad this season. The Bobcats also represent one of only three teams the Lakers have fared against with .500 record or worse. The other candidates are the Boston Celtics and San Antonio Spurs, much more esteemed playoff rivals.
As Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni mused beforehand, “If they play the national anthem, there’s a danger” of his team losing.”
The Lakers trailed by as many as 20 points, but managed to overcome it in the final minutes. They also did the same thing when they clawed back from an 18-point deficit a month ago at home to salvage a one-point win over the Bobcats.
After surprisingly going scoreless in the first half, Kobe Bryant finished with a team-high 20 points on 6 of 15 shooting. In his second game since missing the previous three because of a torn labrum in his right shoulder, Dwight Howard showed more activity by providing 12 points, 11 rebounds and a defensive presence.
More importantly, the Lakers (24-27) recorded their seventh victory in the past nine games and have gone 4-2 on their Grammy trip.