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            === Lakers try to get back on track against Bobcats ===
 
 (Sports Network) - Kobe Bryant may have lit a fire underneath Dwight Howard by
 questioning his toughness, but the tactic still prevented the Los Angeles
 Lakers from extending their winning streak.
 
 The Lakers will resume their road trip Friday against the Charlotte Bobcats.
 
 Howard had missed three straight games with a shoulder ailment and Bryant
 expressed his feelings about his new teammate through the media.
 
 "We don't have time for (Howard's shoulder) to heal," said Bryant. "We need
 some urgency."
 
 Bryant said his comments were blown out of proportion. Howard had a chance to
 respond prior to Thursday's 116-95 loss at Boston.
 
 "That's his opinion, that's it," Howard said. "He's not a doctor, I'm not a
 doctor. That's his opinion."
 
 Bryant netted 27 points and did not record an assist for just the third time
 this season, while Howard had only nine points and nine rebounds before
 fouling out in the fourth quarter. Jodie Meeks and Antawn Jamison scored 13
 and 11 points, respectively, in the loss.
 
 The Lakers had won three in a row and six of seven games, and dropped to 3-2
 on a seven-game Grammy road trip. They will also visit the Miami Heat on the
 sojourn, are 8-17 as the guest and 3 1/2 games off the final playoff spot.
 
 Charlotte is back in the Tar Heel State following an unsuccessful five-game
 road trip (0-5), which concluded with Wednesday's 122-95 loss at Cleveland.
 
 Byron Mullens had 15 points off the bench, while Ramon Sessions tallied 14 and
 Gerald Henderson 12 for the Bobcats, losers in 13 of the last 15 games. The
 Cavaliers held a 45-37 advantage on the glass and outscored the Bobcats in the
 paint, 50-30.
 
 "The physical effort was unacceptable and we don't like that," Bobcats coach
 Mike Dunlap said. "We expected tonight to play full on and we didn't."
 
 Bobcats leading scorer Kemba Walker was held to five points and made 2-of-11
 shots from the field. He still leads the team with 17.5 ppg and had scored in
 double figures in 18 consecutive games. Meanwhile, Sessions is averaging 18.5
 ppg in his last seven contests.
 
 The Bobcats faced the Lakers back on Dec. 18 at Staples Center and were handed
 a 101-100 loss. L.A. has won three in a row in this series, but is winless in
 three straight and five of six trips to Time Warner Cable Arena.
 
 02/08 10:40:47 ET

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