Gerald Henderson and the Bobcats have given Kobe Bryant and the Lakers fits,… (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles…)
For all their championships, Hall of Famers and All-Stars over the years, the Lakers have a losing record against two teams.
One makes sense — the Boston Celtics, the only franchise the Lakers trail in NBA titles.
The other is a head-scratcher: Charlotte.
The Lakers are 6-8 against the Bobcats, not close to the historical context of their 121-153 record against Boston but an irritant nonetheless.
Here comes Charlotte again, dragging a gruesome 3-18 record into Staples Center on Tuesday night. Wonder if the Lakers are worried.
The Bobcats are bad, stuck in a 1-14 slump, and without injured starters D.J. Augustin (sore toe) and Corey Maggette (strained hamstring).
They have finished above .500 once since beginning play in 2004-05, but they're a plucky 3-4 against the Lakers at Staples Center. Luckily for the Lakers, the schedule-maker didn't force them to go to Charlotte this season, where they are 2-5.
The Lakers did not practice Monday. It's easy to envision them being fatigued. They'll want an easy victory right about now.
They begin a six-game trip Friday in Denver and their starters have been playing heavy minutes with precious little down time between games.
Kobe Bryant is averaging 38.6 minutes this season, way up from 33.4 last season. Pau Gasol is averaging 37.7 minutes, up from 36.5 last season. Andrew Bynum is averaging 34.4 minutes, up from 27.8.
"Back-to-backs are tough but we're OK," Bynum said after logging 36 minutes each of the last three games.
Bryant and Gasol played the entire second half Sunday in the Lakers' 106-101 victory over Minnesota, their second victory in nine road games. "We needed to get a win on the road," Bryant said.
Love for Kobe
Minnesota forward Kevin Love has become quite the success story since leaving UCLA, averaging 25.3 points and 13.8 rebounds this season, on track for a second All-Star game appearance.
He was in awe of a 13-time All-Star after Sunday's game.
"He hit big shots, there is no getting past that," Love said of Bryant. "Maybe three or four times he hit it right in my face. I had a hand there, I slapped his hand and he just seemed to hit shots over and over. That is why he is the best player in the game."
While the Timberwolves are an improving team, Love is getting a little more territorial about Target Center, where Sunday's game was played. "We saw a lot of purple and gold out there, which I don't particularly like seeing in Target Center . . ." he said.
Blake back soon?
Reserve guard Steve Blake will visit a doctor this week to determine if he is ready to return from a rib injury. If medically cleared, he could play on the Lakers' upcoming trip, possibly in its early stages.
Blake is averaging 7.3 points and 24.3 minutes. Rookie Andrew Goudelock has helped account for some of that playing time, averaging 11.3 points and 19.3 minutes the last three games.