Behind a red-hot offense, Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers have been rolling along. The New Orleans Hornets, meanwhile, owe an improved defense to their undefeated start.
Bryant and the Lakers try to win their third straight on Tuesday when they host the Hornets, who are looking to match the best start in franchise history.
After losing to Houston 95-93 in their season opener last Tuesday, Los Angeles has scored 119 points in each of its last two games - both wins.
The Lakers (2-1) defeated defending Pacific Division champion Phoenix by 21 points on Friday, and beat reigning Northwest Division champ Utah 119-109 on Sunday.
Los Angeles connected on 55.8 percent of its shots against the Jazz, and ranks among the best shooting teams in the league at 51.7 percent.
"We're playing the right way," said Jordan Farmar, who had 12 points Sunday. "We're not (just) getting wins, so everything is good. ... We're playing hard defensively, we're sharing the ball, we're playing our style, we're screening for each other, we're making the extra pass. The wins are just a product of the way we're going about our business."
The Lakers have managed to put all of the trade talk surrounding Bryant behind them, and have instead been feeding off the play of the nine-time All-Star.
"Our guy starts everything," Farmar said. "Kobe is playing the right way."
Bryant finished with a game-high 33 points against the Jazz, and is averaging 31.3 points and 8.0 rebounds this season. He hit 13 of 19 shots on Sunday, and scored six points in the final 4 1/2 minutes to secure the victory.
The two-time NBA scoring champ is averaging 33.9 points in his last seven games against the Hornets. In his last appearance versus them, Bryant scored 50 points in a 111-105 victory on March 23 - the fourth straight game he had at least 50.
Despite winning the last meeting, the Lakers lost two of three to New Orleans in 2006-07 to drop the season series for the first time since 1995-96. In their only matchup at Staples Center, New Orleans handed Los Angeles one of its worst home defeats of the season, 105-89 on Dec. 6.
The Lakers, though, have won nine of their last 11 home games over the Hornets.
New Orleans (3-0) is coming off a 93-88 victory over Denver on Sunday to move within one victory of matching the franchise's best start, set last season.
The Hornets held the Nuggets to a season-low 36.7 percent shooting, and opponents are averaging 90.3 points through three games.
"Our training camp was all about improving our defense," said Chris Paul, who had 15 points and 11 assists on Sunday. "Our defense was a reason we didn't make the playoffs the last two years. We could always score with the best teams in the league. We just couldn't make defensive stops."
Paul is averaging 18.7 points and 9.7 assists this season, and in two games against Los Angeles last season, he averaged 27.0 points - his highest against any opponent.
Tyson Chandler, who had 12 points and 17 boards against Denver, had one of the best games of his career in the Hornets' loss to the Lakers last March, scoring 22 points while grabbing 22 rebounds.
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