Stephen Jackson scored 21 points, Gerald Wallace added 17 points and 10 rebounds, and the Charlotte Bobcats handed the weary Los Angeles Lakers their second straight loss, 98-83 on Friday night (March 5, 2010).
With Michael Jordan watching courtside in Charlotte’s first win since he agreed to buy the team, the Bobcats continued their surprising success against the defending champions, who had little energy a night after an overtime loss in Miami.
Kobe Bryant had 26 points on 9-of-21 shooting for the Lakers, who shot 36 percent, committed 20 turnovers and lost to Charlotte for the seventh time in nine meetings.
Wallace hit two 3-pointers in a 16-1 run bridging halftime that put Charlotte ahead 61-44. The Lakers got no closer than 10 points the rest of the way.
The Lakers got 14 points and 10 rebounds from Andrew Bynum and 11 points and 13 boards from Pau Gasol, but they combined to shoot 8 for 23 from the field. And the Lakers again looked disjointed in falling to 17-12 on the road, matching last season’s total for road losses.
But it probably should be no surprise here. No matter the personnel or the coach, the 6-year-old Bobcats have somehow owned the Lakers.
The Lakers have losing records against only two NBA teams: the Celtics and Bobcats. Charlotte had won six of seven before Los Angeles’ 99-97 home win last month. But Wallace didn’t play because of a sore hamstring, and he was the difference in the game-clinching run this time.
Wallace, who was 0 for 6 from the field in the first half, got hot to start the third quarter. Wallace drained two straight 3-pointers — the second a 30-footer to beat the shot clock — and added a layup as the Bobcats built a 61-44 lead.
Gasol had two turnovers and two shots blocked in the surge in another suspect game a night after coach Phil Jackson left him on the bench for the start of overtime.
Jordan, sitting next to the Bobcats’ bench, clapped at the final buzzer as the Bobcats snapped a two-game skid to move within a game of idle Miami for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
With man who is selling the team to Jordan, Bob Johnson, sitting on the other side of the court, Jordan got to see one of his biggest mistakes in his role making personnel decisions, too. Lakers reserve Adam Morrison didn’t take a shot in 4 minutes, most of which came after the game had been decided.
Entering with nine losses in 13 games, Bobcats coach Larry Brown tweaked his rotation. Tyson Chandler (six points, four rebounds) returned from injury and little-used rookie Gerald Henderson (six points, two rebounds) played well.