NBA Game Summary - LA Lakers at Charlotte
(Saturday, March 12th)
Final Score: LA Lakers 117, Charlotte 116
Charlotte, NC (Sports Network) - Kobe Bryant hit the game-winning basket with less than a second remaining to lift the Los Angeles Lakers over the Charlotte Bobcats, 117-116, at Charlotte Arena.
Bryant scored 21 of his game-high 32 points in the final quarter, as the Lakers overcame a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit to win for the fourth time in five outings. He shot 8-of-12 in the last 12 minutes for the Lakers, who are 2-0 on their season-high six-game road trip.
Emeka Okafor became the first player in Bobcats franchise history to hit the 30-point plateau, finishing with 30 points and 11 boards. Brevin Knight returned from a three-game absence due to an ankle injury to record 21 points, 17 assists and no turnovers, as Charlotte has dropped six in a row and 16 of its last 18.
A 14-6 burst gave the Bobcats a 100-90 lead with 7 1/2 minutes left in the contest. Reserve Matt Carroll scored eight points during the run, which appeared to send Charlotte on its way to victory.
However, Bryant led the comeback by scoring the next nine points for the Lakers to make it a 103-99 tilt with 5 1/2 minutes remaining.
Then, with the score 107-101 in favor of Charlotte, Bryant tallied seven consecutive LA points, with his final jumper of the burst drawing his club to within two points, 110-108, with 2:47 left.
The Bobcats eventually found themselves ahead 116-111 with 1:23 on the clock thanks to six straight points by Knight.
Bryant, however, hit a driving layup and Jumaine Jones' tipin of a Tierre Brown missed jumper drew the Lakers within 116-115 with 31 ticks left.
On Charlotte's ensuing possession, Jason Hart was forced into a long jumper as the shot clock was expiring and came up empty, giving the ball back to the Lakers with eight seconds remaining.
After a timeout, Bryant received the inbounds pass from Luke Walton, took Keith Bogans off the dribble and hit a jumper from the right elbow extended with nine-tenths of a second remaining. It was the first lead for the Lakers in the quarter.
Knight's desperation heave from well behind the three-point line was off as time expired.
"It was time to take over the game," said Bryant of his fourht-quarter heroics. "There are certain times during the season when I am going to have to take over, and tonight was one of them."
Chucky Atkins ended with 26 points and six assists for the Lakers, who trailed 84-81 heading into the final quarter. Chris Mihm and Jones each had 15 points, while Caron Butler had 14 for LA.
Bogans had 13 points for Charlotte, which led 59-57 going into halftime after trailing 27-25 after one quarter.
"The way he was rolling down the stretch, I think he could have closed his eyes, threw the ball up and it would have went in," said Bogans of Bryant's night.
Both teams shot 54 percent for the game...The 116 points ties a franchise best for the Bobcats...Charlotte registered its second sellout of the season and first since its home opener...Bryant had nine assists...Okafor had two blocks.
03/12 23:31:33 ET