for this game

Gasol, Bryant power Lakers past Bobcats

Feb 12, 2008 - 3:57 AM By Derek Smith PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (Ticker) -- The addition of Pau Gasol continued to be a success for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Gasol and Kobe Bryant combined for 57 points as the Lakers cruised to a 106-97 victory over the slumping Charlotte Bobcats on Monday night.

The Lakers improved to 4-1 since Gasol was acquired from the Memphis Grizzlies and are 6-2 on their current nine-game road trip which concludes at Minnesota on Wednesday

"We're playing very well as a team," Bryant said. "With the addition of Gasol and once we get Andrew (Bynum) back, we'll be clicking on all cylinders. We have something that has to be dealt with."

However, Charlotte now has dropped seven straight with all of those losses coming by at least nine points.

A former All-Star, Gasol is averaging 20.8 points since joining the club five games ago. Bryant also is chipping in with at least 30 points in each of the last three contests.

Gasol started the game with the first six points to give Los Angeles a lead it would not relinquish. Both Gasol and Bryant finished the first quarter in double figures to forge a 30-22 advantage.

"We came out and played with a lot of momentum," Bryant said. "The key on the second game of back-to-backs is to take the crowd out of it early, and we did that."

The Lakers continued to dominate the Bobcats in the second. Jordan Farmar completed a three-point play to push their lead to double figures for the first time, and Gasol closed the half with a pair at the free-throw line to take a 55-44 edge into the locker room.

"If a couple of guys get going early, it makes the game easier," Gasol said. "It allows you a cushion when teams make their runs."

With most of the Lakers' starters on the bench, the Bobcats made it interesting for the part of the fourth as Matt Carroll scored all six of his points during a 13-3 run to cut the deficit to 89-86.

But Los Angeles quickly inserted Gasol, Lamar Odom and Derek Fisher back in the lineup and again gained control for good.

"We did a good job of controlling the tempo," said Odom, who had eight points and 10 boards. "We also got a lot of stops when we needed them and made the Bobcats work hard on the defensive end."

Bryant scored seven of his 31 points in final period for the Lakers, who defeated the Bobcats for the first time since December 4, 2005.

Raymond Felton scored a season-best 29 points for Charlotte, which played without leading scorer Gerald Wallace due to a sprained right foot.

"We came back, but, unfortunately, things didn't go our way at the end of the game, and we couldn't pull it out," said Felton, who handed out eight assists.

Wallace has missed three of the last four games and is doubtful for Wednesday's game with Atlanta.

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