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NBA Preview from The Sports Network

Tuesday, March 31st (All times eastern)

Los Angeles Lakers (58-15) at Charlotte Bobcats (33-40), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Western Conference's top seed, the Los Angeles Lakers, will try to get back on the winning track when they resume a season-long seven-game road trip Tuesday against the Charlotte Bobcats.

The Lakers had their five-game winning streak come to an end with Sunday's 86-76 setback at Atlanta, as superstar Kobe Bryant battled a stomach problem to finish with 17 points and eight rebounds on 7-of-19 shooting in defeat. Pau Gasol scored a team-high 21 points and also grabbed 11 rebounds for the Lakers, who are 4-1 so far on the trip and 27-10 away from Hollywood this season.

Los Angeles is still fighting for home-court advantage throughout the Western Conference playoffs and will close out the road swing Wednesday against the Milwaukee Bucks at the Bradley Center.

Meanwhile, the Bobcats are searching for the first playoff berth in franchise history and will begin a tough stretch of games Tuesday, starting with the mighty Lakers. Charlotte will also take on Boston, Miami, Detroit and Philadelphia on the upcoming slate.

The Bobcats, who are two games off the eighth and final postseason spot in the East, have won two straight and five of their last seven games, including a 96-85 victory over the New York Knicks on Saturday in the opener of a brief two-game homestand.

Gerald Wallace finished with 23 points, nine rebounds and eight assists for the Bobcats, while D.J. Augustin added 19 points and Raja Bell 14. Emeka Okafor chipped in 13 points and 14 boards in a winning cause.

Wallace is averaging 20.2 points, 9.1 boards and 3.8 assists in his last 12 outings.

Charlotte is 21-17 at Time Warner Cable Arena this season.

The Bobcats defeated the Lakers, 117-100, in double overtime at the Staples Center on January 27 behind Boris Diaw's 23 points, nine rebounds and nine assists. Charlotte has surprisingly won two in a row and five of the last six meetings in this series.

These two teams have split four lifetime meetings at Charlotte.

03/31 10:36:56 ET

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