In their last meeting, the Lakers defeated Charlotte 106-97 in a closer than expected game. Although Gasol was still new to the team, the Spanish forward scored 26 points and grabbed six rebounds to go along with six assists to help carry L.A. to the win. Kobe also had a productive 31 points to keep the Lakers afloat.
However, despite the win, the Lakers let yet another point guard torch them, allowing 29 points to Raymond Felton–well above his season average. Last season at STAPLES Center, Kobe nailed a three pointer to send the game into overtime, but the Bobcats dominated L.A. 15-6 in the extra period to take the rare road victory.
The Bobcats have lost six of their past seven games after winning five in a row for the first time in franchise history. Charlotte currently sits five games behind eighth place Atlanta so expect them to come out hungry against L.A. since they are still not mathematically eliminated from playoff contention just yet. Regardless of the Bobcat’s extra motivation, the Lakers should already be wary of them as they beat the purple and gold three consecutive times before the Lakers finally pulled out a road win this year.
Lamar Odom has been playing out of his mind lately, arguably surpassing the always high expectations that were placed on him prior to Bynum’s emergence and the trade for Gasol. In his last two games, Lamar is averaging 21 points and almost 22 rebounds–boosting his rebounding total on the season to 10.6 a game, good enough for eighth best in the NBA. The Lakers will need Odom to continue to clog the lane with Gasol not playing in tonight’s game despite some initial hope that he might make his return.