The Los Angeles Lakers once again dug themselves a huge hole against a lowly Charlotte Bobcats team, but like December's meeting, found a way to rally from the jaws of defeat.
Kobe Bryant scored 14 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter and Los Angeles overcame a 20-point deficit to down Charlotte, 100-93, on Friday.
"In the second half I got in positions where I could catch and in turn shoot a little bit," Bryant said. "They became a little reluctant to double-team because starting knocking down some shots. I think that makes the game a lot easier."
Bryant also tallied eight assists with seven rebounds to prevent the Lakers from a second straight defeat. Earl Clark chipped in 17 points and 10 boards, while Dwight Howard came through with 12 points and 11 rebounds to help Los Angeles to its seventh win in nine games.
The Bobcats, losers of six straight, blew an 18-point lead in a loss to the Lakers back on Dec. 18 at Staples Center.
Byron Mulleins and Gerald Henderson each put forth double-doubles for Charlotte, with both scoring 20 points. Mulleins tallied 12 rebounds and Henderson had 10.
Kemba Walker contributed 18 points with eight assists in defeat.
After a strong first half in which they led nearly throughout, the Bobcats pushed their double-digit edge to 71-51 following a 3-pointer from Ramon Sessions and a pair of free throws from Walker.
However, spearheaded by a 12-point third quarter effort from Clark, the Lakers embarked on a 33-12 push to grab an 84-83 lead, their first advantage since the early moments of the game.
Walker hit pull-up jumpers on back-to-back possessions for Charlotte to knot the game at 89. After Sessions' layup, Jodie Meeks' ensuing fourth 3-pointer of the contest put Los Angles ahead for good.
Bryant, who was held to just six points through the first three quarters, accounted for the Lakers' final eight to put the game on ice.
After going ahead by 20 just past the midway point of the third, the Bobcats scored just 22 points the rest of the way and were limited to 15 in the final frame, where they shot just 33.3 percent.
"We just have to know how to finish out games," Mulleins said. "We have to learn how to do that. Up 20, we have to keep going, know what's working."