Notebook: Lakers 108, Hornets 102

Posted Mar 6, 2013 11:51 PM

Bradley Handwerger, for

THE FACTS: Kobe Bryant scored 42 points, helping the Los Angeles Lakers overcome a 25-point deficit to escape with a 108-102 win over the New Orleans Hornet.

The Lakers (31-31) held New Orleans scoreless in the final 6:47 of Wednesday night's game, finishing on a 20-0 run that stunned the more than 16,000 fans at the Arena.

Bryant scored 13 points in the final 8:48 of the game, igniting the improbable comeback. He finished with 12 assists and seven rebounds a night after injuring his right elbow in a loss to Oklahoma City. New Orleans (21-41) carried a 93-75 lead into the fourth quarter by out-rebounding the Lakers by 17 through the first three quarters and holding Los Angeles to 44 percent shooting. But the Lakers went 12-for-19 in the fourth quarter while holding New Orleans to just 17 percent shooting and the Hornets lost for the seventh time in the past nine games. In the second half, when the Lakers came back, Dwight Howard -- who finished with 20 points and 15 rebounds -- contributed 13 points, 12 rebounds and three blocked shots.

The Hornets have seen this before. Two nights earlier, New Orleans led the Orlando Magic late, only to be outscored 17-5 in a three-point loss. And on Feb. 22, New Orleans gave up an 8-0 run in the final 55 seconds to Dallas to lose by four points. New Orleans' Greivis Vasquez had 15 points and 12 assists, Al-Farouq Aminu added 12 points and 16 rebounds and Eric Gordon put up 18 points. Los Angeles' win, combined with Utah's 104-101 loss to Cleveland, brings the Lakers to within 1 1/2 games of the Jazz for the eighth seed in the Western Conference.

Hornets guard Austin Rivers will miss 4-6 weeks after fracturing the fourth metacarpal bone in his right hand during the first half.

QUOTABLE: "It's about who is going to stick together and who is not going to break. Even though we played a team that doesn't have the best record in the world, I think this type of win really (helps) our bond."
--The Lakers' Bryant on how a win like Wednesday's helps the team.

THE STAT: 18 -- That's how many turnovers the Hornets had Wednesday night, six of which came in the final 8:47 of the game when Los Angeles made its comeback. The Lakers turned the turnovers into 31 points.

TURNING POINT: After the Lakers had cut into New Orleans' lead with four-point burst, Bryant pulled up and drilled a 26-foot 3-pointer cutting the Hornets' lead to 102-95 with 4:46 to play. It was the first time the Lakers trailed by fewer than 10 points since the 6:54 mark of the second quarter. It also picked up the energy of the Lakers, whose bench began celebrating every made basket.

QUOTABLE II: "We gave up a 33-point quarter. That is tough to swallow, especially when we scored 39 points in the second quarter. We gave up 33 when we needed to get stops and that is hard to swallow and that is all on my shoulders. There is nobody else to look at but me."
-- Hornets coach Monty Williams

HOT: In a reserve role, Los Angeles' Jodie Meeks went 6-for-11 to finish with 19 points. But it was in the fourth quarter where he made his biggest difference, going 4-for-5 for 12 points. He was a perfect 4-for-4 from beyond the arc in the quarter.

NOT: The Hornets' Gordon has struggled since the All-Star break in the second halves of games and Wednesday night was no different. Gordon was just 3-for-12, including 0-for-5 in the fourth quarter. In his past seven games, Gordon is only 13-for-53 in the second half and 3-for-22 in the fourth quarter.

BAD MOVE: New Orleans' Williams only played rookie forward Anthony Davis for eight minutes in the second half, including less than five seconds in the fourth quarter. The move backfired -- Los Angeles outscored New Orleans 30-16 in the paint in the second half.

NOTABLE: Los Angeles has won 10 consecutive games over New Orleans. ... The 25-point lead New Orleans gave up ties the second-largest lead given up in franchise history. ... Howard's double-double was his 33rd such game this season. ... The win brings Los Angeles to .500 for just the second time in the calendar year 2013. The only other time was at 30-30 two games ago.

UP NEXT: For the Hornets, Saturday @ Memphis, Sunday vs. Portland, Tuesday at Brooklyn. For the Lakers, Friday vs. Toronto, Sunday vs. Chicago, Tuesday @ Orlando.