Lakes-Bobcats: Bryant Fouls Out in Double OT Loss

Ryan WardCorrespondent IJanuary 29, 2009

This season has had its share of surprises, but the Lakers losing to the Charlotte Bobcats at the Staples Center?

I definitely didn't see that coming.

Over the next few years, the Bobcats will be a force in the Eastern Conference. They may not be anything like the Cleveland Cavaliers, Orlando Magic or the defending champion Boston Celtics, but the team has a promising future.

With Larry Brown calling the plays and players like Gerald Wallce, Emeka Okafor and Raymond Felton improving with every passing season, the Bobcats should break into the playoff chase sooner rather than later. Nonetheless, this season has definitely been a feeling out process for the struggling franchise.

The Lakers, on the other hand, have been as good as anybody and are arguably the best team in the league right now. Kobe Bryant is playing great basketball as usual and Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol are really starting to mesh well. Once in awhile, a team can stumble no matter how good they are.

Coming into their game against Charlotte, Los Angeles’ combination of Bryant, Pau and Bynum had proven to be deadly as they had dominated as of late. Bynum started to really get it going offensively first off by scoring a career high 42 points against the Clippers and never really cooled off as he kept it up with 20-plus point performances including this game in which he scored 24 points.

Even with the Lakers big three playing the best they have played together since the beginning of the season, it wasn't enough to hold off a Bobcats team looking to pull off the upset at the Staples Center.

Bryant had a great game, all the way up to fouling out in the last minute of the first overtime by scoring a game high 38 points and eight rebounds. Pau Gasol on the other hand had a terrible game, probably the worst game of the season for the Spaniard. He only hit four out of 16 shots from the floor.

As for the Bobcats, they kept the Lakers on their toes all night with all their starters scoring in double figures. A big spark for the team was off the bench by point guard Shannon Brown, who added 14 points in 22 minutes. Boris Diaw lead the way for the Bobcats with 23 points, nine assists and nine boards and was pretty much the X-factor in this unlikely win over the Lakers at home.

The Lakers may have stumbled a little bit against the Bobcats, but don't expect that to happen very often, especially on the road. Over their next three games, the Lakers will face the Minnesota Timberwolves, Memphis Grizzles and the New York Knicks. This is just a hunch, but I would expect to see some pretty amazing performances by Bryant on this road trip, especially in Madison Square Garden where he loves to put on a show!

NEXT LAKERS GAME: Los Angeles Lakers @ Minnesota Timberwolves

Fri., Jan. 30th at 5 p.m. PST