Big Al puts up 40, Bobcats win at Lakers
Al Jefferson tied a career high with 40 points, 16 of them in the fourth quarter, and grabbed 18 rebounds to help the Charlotte Bobcats send the floundering Los Angeles Lakers to their sixth straight defeat with a 110-100 victory Friday night.
Jefferson set a franchise record with his 11th straight game of 20 or more points, eclipsing the previous mark set by Jason Richardson in 2007-08. It was the 13th game this season in which an opposing player scored at least 30 against the Lakers, something that happened in 18 games last season — and there are still 35 games remaining.
Gerald Henderson added 20 points for the Bobcats. Starting point guard Kemba Walker missed his sixth straight game since a sprained left ankle ended his career-opening consecutive game streak of 190. Ramon Sessions, who has started every game at the point during Walker's absence, had 13 assists and nine points.
Sessions, along with starting power forward Josh McRoberts and reserve guard Jannero Pargo — all former Lakers — combined for 26 points and the Bobcats snapped a string of five straight defeats against Los Angeles.
Charlotte shot 52.3 percent from the field, improving to 5-0 when shooting at least 50 percent. The victory was the Bobcats' ninth on the road, four more than all of last season.
Still missing Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Steve Blake, Jordan Farmar and Xavier Henry because of injuries, the Lakers lost for the 18th time in 21 games and remain only a half-game ahead of last-place Sacramento in the Western Conference standings just four seasons after winning their 16th NBA title. Pau Gasol had 24 points for Los Angeles and Nick Young added 21 off the bench.
The snake-bitten Lakers have given up 100 or more points in 14 consecutive games, matching the club's longest such streak since a 17-game stretch in 1986-87.
Trailing by as many as 20 points after a pair of free throws by Jefferson with 4:21 left in the third quarter, the Lakers sliced the margin to 86-73 on a four-point play by Ryan Kelly, who was fouled by Cody Zeller on a shot from the right sideline.
Los Angeles got it down to 86-78 on a layup by Robert Sacre with 11:01 to play, but that was as close as the Lakers got. Jefferson scored the Bobcats' first eight points of the final quarter to help keep the Lakers at bay.
Jefferson, who signed a three-year, $41 million contract with the Bobcats in July, powered them to a 62-49 halftime lead with 18 points and eight rebounds. Charlotte shot 58 percent in the half, and never trailed after Jefferson's finger roll gave the Bobcats a 26-25 lead with 1:37 left in the first quarter.
In the other meeting this season, the Lakers beat the Bobcats 88-85 at Charlotte with a game-ending 13-4 run and 21 points by Kobe Bryant — one of only six games the NBA's fourth leading scorer has played in this season because of a torn Achilles tendon and a fracture in his left knee. Jefferson was held to 14 points that night.
NOTES: The game ball was being sent to New York to mark the final day of NBA Commissioner David Stern's tenure. He is retiring Saturday on the 30th anniversary of his first day on the job. ... Stern saw the Lakers win eight league championships, make 12 trips to the finals and record eight 60-win seasons during his reign. "The success of the league speaks for his success," said Bobcats associate head coach Patrick Ewing, who played 15 of his 17 NBA seasons with the New York Knicks and was the first player selected in the second draft lottery that Stern oversaw in 1985. ... Stern presented the Lakers with their championship rings on seven occasions. The only exception was in October 2001, following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.