LOS ANGELES, April 19 (Ticker) -- Kobe Bryant's final argument for MVP honors ensured the Los Angeles Lakers would take the court against the Phoenix Suns come playoff time.

Bryant scored 27 of his 35 points in the first half as the Lakers secured the seventh seed in the Western Conference playoffs with a convincing 115-95 triumph over the New Orleans Hornets in the regular-season finale for both teams.

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Kwame Brown added 19 points for Los Angeles (45-37), which concluded its regular season on a five-game winning streak and will face second-seeded Phoenix in the first round of the playoffs. The Lakers lost three of four meetings to the Suns this season, with Bryant averaging 42.5 points in those contests.

"I think we did a good job," Bryant said of the team's progress from last season's 34-48 record. "We had some games where we played extremely well and others we played really bad. The important thing is we stuck to our plan and every one worked hard every day in practice. We were patient with one another and at the end of the season, here we are playing our best basketball."

"I am really excited about going into the playoffs and we have a shot at beating a very good Phoenix team," Lakers guard Smush Parker added. "It is going to be exciting series."

Bryant compiled his latest dominant performance Wednesday, making 13-of-26 shots en route to finishing the campaign with a league-best 35.4 scoring average. His phenomenal season included an 81-point outburst against Toronto on Jan. 22 and saw the superstar set the Lakers' single-season scoring record with 2,832 points.

"It was a good season for me individually," Bryant said. "I am more proud of what we were able to accomplish as a team, getting into the postseason. It always feels good to be acknowledged, but the most important thing is getting into the postseason."

Brown led the offensive charge in the first quarter, scoring 10 points as the Lakers built a 32-20 advantage. Bryant poured in 18 points in the second period to help Los Angeles mount a stunning 65-38 lead at the half.

The Lakers shot a blistering 55 percent (26-of-47) in the opening 24 minutes, during which they broke open the game behind an 18-4 run to end the first quarter and a 12-0 burst midway through the second period.

"The playoffs are a whole different thing," Bryant said. "You have to prepare. You have to be ready. And that is what it's about. It is not about what happened in the regular season or what happened last season or whatever. It is preparing and studying your opposition."

P.J. Brown scored 16 points to pace the Hornets, who closed the season with four straight losses but still finished with a respectable 38-44 record despite playing in the competitive Southwest Division.

"Nobody in the NBA dealt with what we had to deal with," said Brown, regarding the Hornets' situation following Hurricane Katrina. "Overall, we handled it very well. I don't know how many teams could handle the situation like we did. We have good guys on this team with strong character and we have a lot of pride. We gave the best we could and it was all we had considering the situation."