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GASOL REJOINED ACTION WITH LAKERS
Fri, 21 Dec 2012 01:30 AM EST

In a game with more twists than a winding canyon, the Los Angeles Lakers needed to dig deep to climb themselves out of a huge crack against the Bobcats.

After that was done, they needed to hang on for dear life.

The Los Angeles Lakers waged a mad 3rd- and 4th-quarter rally, and then staved off multiple game-winning efforts by the Bobcats to take a 101-100 win at Staples Center.

Down by as much as 18 in the second half, L.A went on a 30-4 run midway thru third quarter and into fourth quarter as the Bobcats crumbled under the weight of Kobe Bryant.

Bryant had 30 points — including a critical 3-point play with 9:52 left in the game to give the Lakers the 87-84 lead, their 1st since late in second quarter — and added 7 assists and 6 rebounds to lift the Lakers to their 3rd straight win. He became the first 34-year old to pass the 30-point mark in 7 straight games.

“We did a superb job,” Bryant expounded of the Lakers’ comeback. “(Lakers guard Darius Morris) is an amazing defender, so is Jodie Meeks. We did a nice job defensively, got some takes and got the game back in hand. … The last 3 games, our energy has been there.”

Los Angeles Lakers reserves Metta World Peace and Meeks each had 17 points, with Meeks hitting 5 3-pointers. Dwight Howard added 16 points and 18 rebounds as L.A (12-14) used its size advantage to outlast the Charlotte Bobcats (7-17).

The Lakers struggled against a Charlotte squad that lost its 12th straight game, but that was of little result to Howard, who was simply pleased to see his team coming together after a poor stretch.

“There’s no need to be disappointed,” Howard related. “This is 3 games in a row. We just have to keep it going. This game, we knew it might be difficult coming back from the East Coast, but we probably did a good job of sticking with it.”

Helping the Lakers in the post was the return of Pau Gasol, who gave 10 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 blocks in his 1st start after missing 8 games with tendinitis in both knees.

“It was great — we had a small connection tonight,” Howard announced. “I know he was tired, but I was pleased to see him out there. I’m just happy he’s back, and with a little bit of luck the rest of the old guys will be back soon.”

Second-year guard Kemba Walker had 28 points and 7 assists to guide Charlotte, but his attempt with 5.9 seconds left was turned away by Howard. The Bobcats did not get another good look at the basket regardless of corralling 2 rebounds.

“I was definitely worried,” Meeks said. “I was certainly holding my breath. … We barely won, but we did, and that’s what matters.”

Ramon Sessions added 20 points and 6 assists off the bench for the Bobcats, but the rest of the Charlotte bench added only 5 points.

The Bobcats shot just 40 percent from the field but stayed in the game with impressive rebounding, as Byron Mullens (17 rebounds) and Bismack Biyombo (11 rebounds) battled in the post. NFL odds


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