Lakers hold off Bobcats 91-87Oct 18, 2009 - 6:34 AM LOS ANGELES(AP) -- Andrew Bynum scored 15 points and the Los Angeles Lakers held off the Charlotte Bobcats 91-87 on Saturday night in their first game back at Staples Center since winning the NBA title.
"It was great to be back home," Kobe Bryant said.
Bryant sat out the fourth quarter after getting 13 points and seven assists in 27 minutes. Ron Artest had five points and three rebounds in 18 minutes before fouling out with 6:11 to play.
Lakers forward Lamar Odom missed the game because of a bruised right shin, an injury sustained during Friday's 97-92 victory at Sacramento. Pau Gasol also was sidelined by a right hamstring strain, and Luke Walton was unavailable because of a sore back.
"We basically have to get our guys who are injured back out on the floor. That's a big part of what we're trying to do," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "And we want to get Ron acclimated to what we do and get him comfortable in the games. Ron basically didn't play tonight. He never had an opportunity to play, with his foul trouble."
Vladimir Radmanovic led Charlotte with 15 points. Gerald Wallace added 13 points and seven rebounds. Boris Diaw played his first game of the preseason after returning from an ankle injury and had five points in 19 minutes.
Replacement officials Larry Killups, Nick Buchart and CJ Washington called 66 fouls. Raja Bell got a technical foul from Buchart with about 2 1/2 minutes left in the first half, after he complained about a non-call on Bryant. Bell had dribbled the ball off his foot and out of bounds when Bryant pressured him from behind.
Bobcats forward Gerald Wallace picked up his third foul with 5:23 left in the half, then walked back to the bench, looking over his shoulder at Killups and staring him down while Killups made eye contact with him.
Trailing by 10 with 3:20 remaining, Charlotte cut it to 88-87 on Radmanovic' 3-pointer with 11.5 seconds to go. Josh Powell made one of two free throws at the other end after getting fouled by Gerald Henderson, and the Bobcats inbounded at midcourt after calling a timeout.
But Jordan Farmar intercepted an intended pass from Stephen Graham to Antonio Augustine, was fouled by Augustine and sank both free throws with 5.4 seconds left to clinch it.
"With a lot of our main guys out tonight, myself and other guys stepped up to make sure we got this win," Powell said.
The Lakers opened the third quarter with a 12-0 run that increased their seven-point halftime lead to 58-39. Bryant began the rally with a 12-footer and capped it on a pair of free throws with 7:19 left in the period.
Artest picked up his fifth foul with 1:59 left in the third and the Lakers leading 62-55. The Bobcats got within 62-58 on a free throw by Raymond Felton after Powell was called for a technical foul with 1:41 left in the quarter.
But Los Angeles responded with a 27-7 run capped by Farmar's layup with 9:42 left in the game. Down by 14 then, the Bobcats closed to 82-76 on a 3-pointer by Radmanovic with 5:53 left.
"It's always fun to play in L.A. They are the champs - and for a young team that is trying to see where we are, it's a good measuring stick for us," Bell said. "It's another step forward for us in a preseason that we've got a lot of work done in. We just got Boris Diaw back and we're trying to implement him into our offense."
NOTES: Lakers F Adam Morrison, obtained from the Bobcats along with G Shannon Brown in a trade that sent Radmanovic to Charlotte on Feb. 27, had four points in 22 minutes. Brown was 0 for 6 from the field in 28 minutes.
LA LAKERS 91 FINAL
Oct 18 1:42 AM
LA LAKERS 70 END, 3RD QTR
Oct 18 12:41 AM
LA LAKERS 46 HALFTIME
Oct 17 11:50 PM
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