Charlotte, NC (SportsNetwork.com) - The fourth time was the charm for Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers.
Bryant netted 21 points and hit a pair of free throws to give the Lakers the lead with 37.1 seconds remaining in an 88-85 win over the Charlotte Bobcats Saturday night.
It was the first time in four tries that Los Angeles won this season with Bryant in the lineup since he returned from his Achilles injury.
"I knew it was coming eventually, it's not a big deal," Bryant said.
The Lakers trailed 85-79 with 2:50 left after Kemba Walker nailed a jumper, but Los Angeles closed the contest on a 9-0 run.
Following Walker's make, Nick Young hit a triple and Bryant drove in for a layup with 1:22 to go to cut the gap to one.
After Bryant made his foul shots, Gerald Henderson was unable to get his right baseline jumper to drop. Al Jefferson secured the offensive rebound, but missed a short jumper following a timeout.
Pau Gasol nailed two free throws with 6.2 ticks on the clock and Ben Gordon's desperation 3-pointer from the right wing came up short to seal the outcome.
"It was one of those games that came down to the last play at the end, but we have to try to do a better job of taking care of some of the minor mistakes we made earlier in the game so it doesn't come down to the last second," Gordon said.
Bryant also tallied eight assists and seven rebounds, while Gasol added 15 points and seven boards.
Walker had 24 points and eight assists for Charlotte, which has dropped three in a row and five of its last seven contests.
The Bobcats led 23-22 after one, but the Lakers took a 44-43 edge into the break.
Walker poured in 11 points in the third as Charlotte took a 68-64 cushion into the final frame.
The Lakers shot just 39 percent (30-of-77) from the floor, but made 21 of their 23 foul shots ... The Bobcats held a 46-30 points in the paint advantage.