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.