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NBA Preview from The Sports Network



Friday, March 5th (All times eastern)

Los Angeles Lakers (46-16) at Charlotte Bobcats (28-31), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Los Angeles Lakers resume a three-game road trip in Charlotte tonight hoping to get back on the winning track against a slumping Bobcats team.

The Lakers dropped the opener of their trek in South Beach last night when Udonis Haslem hit the go-ahead basket in overtime and Carlos Arroyo sealed the game at the foul line, as Miami upended LA, 114-111, in a back-and-forth game.

There were 19 ties and 31 lead changes in the contest, an NBA season-high for the latter.

Kobe Bryant ended with 39 points but was whistled for a charge going in for the potential tying basket late in the extra frame for Los Angeles, which was coming off a 3-0 homestand.

"We weren't able to get stops on them," Bryant said. "We did not execute well enough defensively."

Lamar Odom recorded 13 points and 11 rebounds, and Andrew Bynum added 12 and 10 in defeat.

The Bobcats, who are trying to secure the first postseason berth in franchise history, lost for the fifth time in six games on Monday in Boston after Paul Pierce connected on 9-of-13 shots and finished with 27 points, as the Celtics routed Charlotte, 104-80.

Tyrus Thomas provided 15 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Bobcats, who are now 1 1/2 games behind Miami for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. D.J. Augustin scored 12 in the loss.

"I don't think anyone could have played in that environment," Bobcats head coach Larry Brown said. "They played great, they made shots, they executed great. We played hard but there were too many obstacles."

Charlotte may a boost from the return of a couple of big men tonight. Centers Nazr Mohammed (back) and Tyson Chandler (foot) both practiced Thursday and will be game-time decisions.

The Lakers had dropped six of seven to Charlotte before edging the Bobcats in LA, 99-97, last month. LA will be aiming to finish a home-and-home sweep in the series for the first time since 2004-05, the Bobcats' first season in the NBA.

03/05 10:40:23 ET


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