Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson was so upset he spoke to reporters for 5 seconds and then walked away. Kobe Bryant sneaked out of the locker room before addressing the media at all.
A once-promising road trip has quickly turned sour for the two-time defending champions, although they probably should have seen their most lopsided loss of the season coming.
The Charlotte Bobcats somehow own them.
Gerald Wallace had 20 points and 11 rebounds, Gerald Henderson added 18 points and helped slow Bryant, and the Bobcats cruised to a 109-89 victory last night in Charlotte, N.C., to extend one of the more unusual one-sided matchups in the NBA.
This latest loss, full of missed shots and poor defense and coming on the heels of an ugly defeat in Orlando, left Jackson steamed.
“I’m embarrassed about what we did and that’s it,’’ Jackson said as he began to stroll away. “Thank you.’’
The Lakers then continued to keep the locker room closed to reporters, allowing Bryant to slip out and head to the bus after he scored 20 points. But Bryant missed 11 of his first 16 shots, got to the foul line only four times and committed five fouls as he played despite missing shootaround because of an illness.
The weary Lakers, who had started this extended trip 4-0, will close it out tomorrow at Cleveland.
Spurs 102, Nets 85 — Manu Ginobili scored 10 of his 22 points in a game-breaking second-half run as visiting San Antonio won for the ninth time in 11 games and 17th in 20.
Tony Parker had 13 points, 6 rebounds, and 7 assists for the Spurs, who improved to an NBA-best 46-9 — the best 55-game mark since the Avery Johnson-coached Dallas Mavericks had the same mark in 2006-07 en route to a franchise-best, 67-win season.
Hawks 94, Pistons 79 — Josh Smith had 27 points and 14 rebounds to help visiting Atlanta rally to victory. The Hawks trailed by as many as 15 points in the second quarter but held the Pistons to 28 points and 28 percent shooting in the second half.
Rockets 121, Nuggets 102 —Courtney Lee scored 22 points and host Houston was 14 of 32 from 3-point range (44 percent) in rolling past Carmelo Anthony and Denver for the second time in a week. Anthony, who scored 50 points in last Monday’s loss, was limited to 16 and sat out the fourth quarter.
Bucks 102, Clippers 78 — Carlos Delfino scored 21 of his 26 points in the second half and made a career-high seven 3-pointers to lead host Milwaukee. John Salmons added 16 points and tied a career high with 12 assists for the Bucks, and Brandon Jennings scored 20 points to match his best performance since returning from surgery. Blake Griffin had 19 points, 12 rebounds, and 6 assists to lead the Clippers.
Trail Blazers 95, Timberwolves 81 — Dante Cunningham had career highs of 18 points and 13 rebounds to help visiting Portland extend its winning streak against Minnesota to 16 games. Martell Webster led the Wolves with 17 points, but Minnesota got just 1 point, no rebounds, and no assists combined from starters Jonny Flynn, Corey Brewer, and Wes Johnson.