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Lakers are mauled by a big 'Cat

Center Al Jefferson has 40 points and 18 rebounds to lead a Charlotte crew that includes four L.A. castoffs to a 110-100 victory.

January 31, 2014|By Mike Bresnahan

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The Lakers played against a bunch of guys who used to be on their team, and the result was like everything else this season.

Boring. Uneventful. A loss.

The Charlotte Bobcats were the winners Friday, 110-100, extending the Lakers' stupefyingly futile run to 3-18 since Dec. 21.

Four former Lakers got in on the action for the Bobcats, but Al Jefferson trumped everybody with 40 points and 18 rebounds at Staples Center.

Pau Gasol's body language is usually a good indicator of the Lakers' temperature. It was frigid, especially after Michael Kidd-Gilchrist beat the Lakers for a backdoor layup in the third quarter.

BOX SCORE: Charlotte Bobcats 110, Lakers 100

Gasol raised his palms up, looked toward the Lakers' bench, and dropped them to his side. The Lakers trailed by 17 at the time.

There were more yawns than celebrities. By far.

When the "Hollywood Nights" song blared over the loudspeaker during a third-quarter timeout, the scoreboard showed comedian George Lopez and actor Danny Trejo next to each other. And that was all.

No Denzel, no Jack. Not even a Jeremy Piven in the house.

Lakers fans booed as Ramon Sessions dribbled out the final seconds. He used to play for the Lakers, along with Josh McRoberts, Jannero Pargo and, sure, Chris Douglas-Roberts, cut in training camp two years ago.

Pargo was with the Lakers from 2002 to 2004, when they were trying to win championships. Now they're closer to winning the lottery, though a lot more losing and some draft-day luck will have to happen between now and May 20, the day of the draw.

After a sixth loss in a row, the Lakers (16-31) own the NBA's sixth-worst record.

They're now playing for "mostly pride and our fans, and the name that we have on our chest more than anything," Gasol said. "I think that's something we need to keep in mind."

Not that it mattered, but the Lakers were beginning a six-game run against teams with a combined 113-163 record, probably presenting their last chance, and a slim one at that, to climb toward .500.

But the Lakers are apparently the ones helping teams get closer to .500.

The most predictable stat of the night: Charlotte (21-27) came into the game averaging 94.1 points but had 62 by halftime. The more revolting revelation was the Bobcats' 64 points in the paint, compared to 38 for the Lakers.

Coach Mike D'Antoni called the Lakers "lifeless" in the first half.

"We better learn from it real quick or it's going to be a long season," he said. Then he added, "It already is."

Gasol scored 24 points and planned to have an MRI exam Saturday after aggravating a groin injury that bothered him earlier this week.

Sessions had nine points and 11 assists for Charlotte.

The last time the Lakers played Charlotte, Kobe Bryant forced Ben Gordon into a wild, off-balance three-point attempt to preserve an 88-85 victory.

It was seven weeks ago in Charlotte. It felt like longer than that. Maybe even forever.

mike.bresnahan@latimes.com

Twitter: @Mike_Bresnahan

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