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GAMEDAY LINKS: Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Box Score New Orleans Hornets 19 24 29 19 91
Play by Play Los Angeles Lakers 21 23 21 28 93
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Gasol leads Lakers past Hornets, 93-91

By BRETT MARTEL


Posted Apr 09 2012 8:00PM

NEW ORLEANS (AP) Pau Gasol had 25 points and nine rebounds, and the Los Angeles Lakers overcame Kobe Bryant's absence to beat the New Orleans Hornets, 93-91 on Monday night.

Bryant missed his second straight game with a sore left shin, but Ramon Sessions helped pick up the slack with 17 points, including a 3-pointer that put the Lakers ahead by six with 26 seconds left. Andrew Bynum added 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Lakers, who snapped a two-game skid.

Carl Landry had 20 points and 11 rebounds, and Marco Belinelli scored 20 points for New Orleans, which led by as much as eight points in the fourth quarter, before the Lakers stormed back.

Greivis Vasquez added 18 points and 11 assists for the Hornets, hitting a career-high five 3-pointers on six attempts.

Chris Kaman had 16 points and five blocked shots, but committed his fifth foul with 6:04 left and had to sit for nearly four crucial minutes as New Orleans lost to the Lakers by six or fewer points for the third time in three meetings.

Gasol and Bynum helped the Lakers control the paint, as Los Angeles outscored New Orleans 42-28 inside and outrebounded the Hornets 46-35.

New Orleans stayed closed thanks in part to 9 of 15 shooting from deep, with Belinelli hitting four 3s.

After trailing by as much as nine points in the second quarter, the Hornets surged ahead by nine in the third period after a 12-4 run that included a 3 by Vasquez and a three-point play by Al-Farouq Aminu on a driving layup.

The lead was still at nine after Jason Smith's floater late in the third quarter, but the Lakers quickly cut it to 72-68 on Sessions' driving layup shortly before the end of the period and Metta World Peace's 3 to open the fourth.

The Hornets did not wilt right away as they often have this season, thanks to Belinelli, who scored seven straight Hornets points on a bail-out jumper at the shot clock buzzer, a double-pump jumper and a 29-foot 3 late in the shot clock to make it 79-71.

Soon after, a rare sellout crowd was chanting: "Beat L.A!"

That was right about the time the Hornets started missing shots and the Lakers stormed back.

Steve Blake drained a 3 from the corner and sank an off-balance floater off the glass during a 15-2 run that also included two inside buckets by Bynum. World Peace's 3 put Los Angeles back in front 89-86 with 1:31 left, then Sessions added a 3 to make it 92-86, and New Orleans could not quite recover, despite World Peace nearly turning the ball over with a long inbound pass to the Lakers' back court with 1.2 seconds left. Smith got his hand on the pass but could not corral it.

Gasol had 15 points in the first half, when the Lakers led by as much as nine on Troy Murphy's jumper that made it 40-31. Vasquez then hit the first of his 3-pointers and Kaman followed with a jumper, igniting a 12-2 run that included a second 3 by Vasquez and Kaman's jumper, The surge briefly put the Hornets in the lead before Gasol's jumper, which beat the halftime horn, put the Lakers back in front 44-43.

Notes: Hornets G Eric Gordon was out with back stiffness that had lingered since New Orleans' previous game. ... The Hornets used their NBA-high 23rd different starting lineup this season. Aminu started along with Kaman, Smith, Belinelli and Vasquez. Trevor Ariza did not play because of what Hornets coach Monty Williams described as a move to get more playing time for younger players like Aminu and Lance Thomas. ... Devin Ebanks started at point guard with Bryant on the bench in a dark suit. Ebanks finished with six points in 26 minutes. ... Saints general manager Mickey Loomis sat on the baseline near the Hornets' bench. Earlier in the day, his eight-game suspension was upheld in on appeal by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in connection with the Saints' bounty scandal. ... Sitting across from Loomis on the other baseline was actor Christoph Waltz, who plays a German bounty hunter in Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained," which currently filming in New Orleans. Leonardo DiCaprio, who also stars in the film, sat in courtside seats. ... Announced attendance was 17, 275, the fourth sellout of the season.


Copyright 2012 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited

Lakers take on the New Orleans Hornets Saturday, March 31st at Staples Center at 12:30PM. Catch all the action on Fox Sports West, NBA TV, and 710ESPN.



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View More Photos
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Points Gasol 25, 10-21
Rebounds Bynum 11, 4 OFF 7 DEF
Assists Sessions 6
Steals Sessions/Gasol 1
Blocks Gasol/Barnes 2
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POSTGAME QUOTES



Mike Brown:

(On the win)
“I thought that our composure was there, which was fun to watch our guys have (tonight). Throughout the course of the game, I thought we made big play after big play. I thought, having our composure, (that) the tempo was there. Having (the Hornets) at 91 points is more our speed or more in our favor when it gets there. We had big play after big play after big play. Matt (Barnes) had a three in the corner late in the game. That was the right shot. Metta (Peace) had a three off the bench at the top of the floor that I thought (was big). Steve Blake’s (play) was huge. I thought that Steve played very well the entire game. The play of the game, in my opinion, was the steal by Matt Barnes with 1.2 seconds to go. If he wouldn’t have stolen that, we might have lost.”

(On Steve Blake)
“I thought that his aggressive play on both sides of the floor (was great). I thought that he was aggressive offensively. I thought that he was aggressive defensively. He came up with some big shots down the stretch, too. I thought that his aggressive play was a factor (tonight).”




Steve Blake:

(On his key shot in the lane):
“I think Drew (Bynum) had a double team in the post and it was a kick out with a swing. I felt that they were closing out hard and I just wanted to drive the close out and I was able to get down and get a nice little runner out of it.”

(On the win):
“We just stayed the course. We kept getting the ball inside and making good reads. We knocked down our shots. They hit a lot of tough shots on us when we were playing good (defense). You have to give them a lot of credit for that. We stayed the course, got the ball inside and played good (defense). I needed that win. It felt good to feel what it is like to play good again, make some shots, and just be out on the court longer. I was happy tonight and I hope to build on it.”




Metta World Peace:

(On the win):
“It was the offense. It was the tempo, you know. (It was) our tempo. We missed some shots, okay. We had a couple of turnovers, alright. Stay with our tempo. Don’t panic. That was all point guards. Our point guards did an excellent job. That’s why they had no fast break points. It wasn’t the defense. It was the offense.”

(On the last play of the game):
“I’m a math major. Jason (Smith) was not getting that ball. 1.3 seconds. I’m a math major. It’s an easy calculation. Matt (Barnes) was going to get the ball no matter what.”




Monty Williams:

(On last play of the game):
“We have to check the substitution on that play. I don’t think Matt Barnes was supposed to be in the game. Coaches in the locker room were saying he was just standing down there and jumped on the floor. Jason was confused on who he was supposed to guard. Metta (World Peace) throws the ball and for a split second Jason took his eye off the ball. But you are not expecting that kind of pass. It is certainly not Jason’s fault. I thought Metta made a bad pass and it just worked out for them.”

(On fourth quarter):
“We just didn’t have what we have been talking about, the closer down the stretch. I thought our guys did a decent job. They hit some tough three’s. Some of those shots were contested. If they missed those shots in their film sessions, they probably would say those were bad shots. I thought we had some questionable decisions down the stretch. I think as Greivis (Vasquez) learns to play the point guard position, I have talked about swinging for singles instead of home runs. Chris (Kaman) had a tough shot at the basket where he got blocked. Chris was about as efficient as he can be. He just got in some foul trouble. I thought our guys played really well tonight. We just gave up a twenty-eight fourth quarter.




Jason Smith:

(On the final play):
“I was looking for the fifth guy on the floor. Ron Artest (Metta World Peace) was really adamant about trying to get the ball in quick. I couldn’t find that fifth guy, but I knew they were doing something tricky. They ran that play, and I don’t even know who was in the corner, but he was just hiding over there. They didn’t get the ball in because they didn’t know who was on the floor. I thought they were going to throw it up, so I was going to wait for him to react, and he just rolled it out there. I didn’t see anything. I heard the crowd, so I thought it was in the air, but it was just rolling right in front of me, and he had gotten a step on me. I just couldn’t get there quick enough.”

(On if he was surprised by the strategy on the final play):
“It was a smart play. There were only 1.2 seconds left on the clock, so as soon as they touch the ball, it’s hard to foul in that situation. It was a smart play on their part.”

(On how they’ve played the Lakers recently):
“We always play good with them. We keep it close. We have a lead, and we let the lead go. It’s a disappointing loss. We had a lot of guys play well, but we still didn’t come out with a win.”

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Lakers-Hornets Preview

By ALAN FERGUSON


Because of a kick to the shin when he last faced the New Orleans Hornets, Kobe Bryant might have to miss the rematch.

The superstar's status is up in the air as the visiting Lakers try to continue their recent success against the Hornets and avoid matching their longest losing streak of the season Monday night.

Bryant tried to play through tenosynovitis - an inflammation in a sheath that surrounds one of the tendons in his left leg - but was a late scratch from a 125-105 defeat in Phoenix on Saturday. That ended his consecutive games streak at 138.

He suffered the injury on an inadvertent kick during an 88-85 home win over New Orleans on March 31, but hit a key 3-pointer with 20 seconds left and appeared in the next four games. The NBA's leading scorer, though, was noticeably limping near the conclusion of a 112-107 home loss to Houston on Friday even though he had 28 points.

"He's been playing with this and it's not getting any better," trainer Gary Vitti said. "Really the only way to stop it is to shut him down. That's why I put him in a (protective) boot."

Pau Gasol tried to make up for Bryant's absence by scoring a season-high 30 points and grabbing 13 rebounds against Phoenix. Andrew Bynum contributed 23 points and 18 boards, but the Lakers (35-22) forced only three turnovers for the game and gave up a combined 75 points in the middle quarters.

"Whether Kobe is here or not, the way I look at it is we shoot (48.5) percent and score 105 points," coach Mike Brown said. "Earlier in the year, if you tell me we could get to 105, 106 points in a game, at that percentage we win, I am going to Vegas and betting on that one. Our problems are defensive."

The 125 points allowed were a season high and the third straight game in which Los Angeles has given up 108 or more. Those performances have the Lakers on the verge of their first three-game skid since Jan. 19-22.

A matchup with New Orleans, which is scoring 89.4 points per game, would seemingly be a good way to help end those defensive issues. However, the Hornets (15-41) are averaging 98.7 points since the return of Eric Gordon from right knee surgery.

Gordon, though, had only 10 points on 3-of-12 shooting in a 99-90 home win over Minnesota on Saturday, a day after his best performance in five games this season - 31 points in a 128-104 loss at San Antonio.

With his teammate struggling, Jason Smith stepped up with a career-high 26 points and 10 rebounds during the opener of a season-high, five-game homestand. Chris Kaman added 21 points and 10 boards as New Orleans bounced back from its most lopsided defeat of the season and recorded consecutive home wins for the first time.

"Coach (Monty Williams) got us riled up," Smith said. "He got on us a lot because the way that we played in the San Antonio game was embarrassing to say the least."

The Hornets now look to win back-to-back games for the first time since winning a season-high three straight Feb. 13-17.

New Orleans, though, has lost six straight and 12 of 14 to the Lakers. The Hornets led by 17 during the most recent home matchup March 14, but Los Angeles won 107-101 in overtime as Bryant scored 33.


Copyright 2012 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited


4/07/12
L PHX 125, LAL 105
4/06/12
L HOU 112, LAL 107
4/04/12
W LAL 113, LAC 108
4/03/12
W LAL 91, NJN 87
4/01/12
W LAL 120, GSW 112
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Probable Starters
Lakers
#15 World Peace SF #1 Ariza
#16 Gasol PF #14 Smith
#17 Bynum C #35 Kaman
#3 Ebanks SG #10 Gordon
#7 Sessions PG #21 Vasquez
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Lakers Kobe Bryant
(tenosynovitis, left shin) is day-to-day.
Andrew Bynum
(sprained left ankle) is probable.
Ramon Sessions
(sprained left shoulder - ac joint) is probable.
Jordan Hill
(sprained MCL, right knee) is questionable.
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Jarret Jack
(right foot sprain) is questionable.
Chris Johnson
(concussion) is out.
Emeka Okafor
(sore left knee) is out.
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Game 1: 3/14 - LAL @ NOH W 107 - 101
Game 2: 3/31 - NOH @ LAL
Game 3: 4/09 - LAL @ NOH
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