NBA Scores And More: Bobcats Trounce Lakers, Carmelo Anthony Kept In Check In Houston

Kobe couldn't help the Lakers slay the Bobcats. In other action, Carmelo Anthony was held in check by the victorious Rockets and the Bucks found a way to slow Blake Griffin.

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Lakers Vs. Bobcats: Kobe Bryant Plays Through Illness, Rewarded With Blow-Out Loss

Whether Kobe Bryant would play in the Los Angeles Lakers' visit to the Charlotte Bobcats on Monday was in question as the former MVP tried to get past an apparently vicious cold in the pre-game. Kobe played, but probably wishes he hadn't, as the Bobcats triumphed 109-89. Kobe shot 8-20 in 34 minutes to finish with 20 points.

Kobe, even sick, took almost twice as many shots as any teammate. Unfortunately, Kobe's most gunning stint -- in the second quarter -- coincided with the span during which Charlotte took control. Bryant took nine shots in 10-1/2 minutes in the second quarter, as Charlotte extended a small lead and held the Lakers at arm's length. Kobe hit just two of those shots.

But the Lakers' real disaster was its bench. As soon as Pau Gasol and Bryant sat for rest in the third, the Bobcats reeled off a 14-3 run to essentially put the game out of reach. As the run began, Phil Jackson did call on Gasol to re-enter for Andrew Bynum, but that couldn't stop the bleeding.

Gerald Wallace led the Bobcats with 20 points and 11 rebounds. Charlotte's bench was buoyed by Gerald Henderson (18 points on 6-9 shooting) and Nazr Mohammed (16 points). The Lakers wrap up their pre-All-Star schedule Wednesday against the Cavaliers.

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Nuggets Vs. Rockets: Carmelo Anthony Ineffective As Houston Bench Shreds Denver

Carmelo Anthony put up a gaudy point total the last time he faced the Houston Rockets and the Denver Nuggets still lost. 'Melo and the Nuggets just cut out a step this time: Anthony was mediocre, and the Rockets won 121-102. Houston led by as many as 31 in the fourth quarter.

'Melo shot just 4-14, but made his line more palatable by hitting 8-10 free throws for 16 points. The Nuggets led for much of the first half, but the Rockets, behind Kevin Martin and Shane Battier, came out blazing in the third quarter. Each Rocket wing scored eight points in the first 10 minutes of the third as Houston built up a 17-point lead. The Rockets bench took over and extended the margin, as Aaron Brooks and Chase Budinger each scored seven in the fourth, and Courtney Lee and Jordan Hill added six each.

In all, Houston's bench scored 68 points in 111 minutes. Denver's bench scored 40 in 99 minutes. The Nuggets are now 31-25, a half-game behind the Jazz and Blazers and in the No. 8 spot by just a game over the Grizzlies. So what happens if the Nuggets keep Carmelo Anthony and fail to make the playoffs?

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Clippers Vs. Bucks: Blake Griffin Controlled Again, As Milwaukee Blasts L.A.

The Los Angeles Clippers lost to the Milwaukee Bucks 102-78, moving to 4-21 on the road this season and 1-6 on the team's Grammies road trip. Blake Griffin scored 19 points and had 12 rebounds, but those 19 points came on 19 field goal attempts and seven free throws. That comes out to a True Shooting percentage of .431, pretty awful by any standard, including the one Griffin has set for himself.

Have defenses figured out Blake? Or are the Bucks and L.A.'s other recent opponents uniquely suited to stopping Griffin? Milwaukee, after all, has Andrew Bogut; while the awful arm injury suffered last spring has seriously damaged Bogut's offense, his defense is still excellent. And it follows that Griffin's best games this trip have come against the Knicks (a lousy defensive squad), the Cavs (a lousy squad) and the Raptors (pretty lousy, too). Like any player, Griffin suffers against better defenders.

Getting Eric Gordon back would help significantly, too. The Clippers shot 4-17 on three-pointers against the Bucks; when Baron Davis and Randy Foye are taking all the threes, defenses don't exactly have to prioritize staying out on shooters. Milwaukee typically has no problem covering all areas of the court against balanced teams. A one-trick pony like the Clippers? No problem.

In other action:

Spurs 102, Nets 85: New Jersey was actually in this game for almost 20 minutes of play. Not bad! The Nets ended up shooting worse than 35 percent on the night, though, once the Spurs cranked on the screws.

Hawks 94, Pistons 79: Detroit led by as many as 16 points in the first half before Atlanta took over. Josh Smith and Joe Johnson took over late in the second quarter, and Smith was a killer in the fourth to keep the Pistons out of striking distance. He finished with 27 points and 14 rebounds.

Blazers 95, Wolves 81: Minnesota had no chance in this one; Portland led wire to wire, and usually by double digits. Kevin Love just eeked out his 41st straight double-double (12 points, 11 rebounds). Yes, that's half of an NBA season of double-doubles. Consecutively.

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