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GAMEDAY LINKS: Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Box Score Los Angeles Lakers 28 20 27 33 108
Play by Play New Orleans Hornets 28 39 26 9 102
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Lakers vs. Hornets
Arena Link: Jodie Meeks
Block of the Night
Lakers' Amazing Comeback
Nightly Notable
Kobe's Go Ahead Jumper
Clutch Block by Howard
Special Delivery
Kobe Bryant Postgame
Oop to Dwight
Howard's Huge Slam
Kobe to Dwight

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Bryant, Lakers roar back against Hornets, 108-012

By BRETT MARTEL


Posted Mar 07 2013 12:49AM

NEW ORLEANS (AP) No matter how bad this season may look by the Lakers' lofty standards, it should be obvious by now that Kobe Bryant isn't remotely close to giving up.

Bryant scored 13 of his 42 points during a 20-0 run in the last 6:22 of the fourth quarter, and Los Angeles overcame a 25-point deficit to fend off the New Orleans Hornets, 108-102 on Wednesday night.

The vintage performance featured about every shot in Bryant's extensive repertoire, from off-balance jumpers angling way from the hoop, to quick-strike transition 3-pointers, to driving layups as he was fouled. He also kept his teammates involved with 12 assists, and by the time the stirring comeback was complete, the Lakers had not only staved off potential embarrassment, but also emerged increasingly confident about their playoff chances.

"I believed we were going to win it the whole time," Bryant said. "The most important thing for me was to bring my teammates along with me. I had to force the game upon them a little bit and change the momentum and get everybody believing we could do this together."

The Hornets were still ahead by 21 in the final minute of the third quarter when Greivis Vasquez's 3-pointer made it 93-72, and even after the Lakers had whittled their deficit to 12, the Hornets went up 102-88 on Robin Lopez's dunk with 6:47 to go. But the Hornets would not score again, and Bryant, who also had 12 assists, began to take over with help from Jodie Meeks, who hit two of his five 3-pointers during the final surge to finish with 19 points.

"This game brought us closer together as a team," said Dwight Howard, who had 20 points, 15 rebounds and four blocks, including a key rejection of Lopez's attempted game-tying shot in the final 30 seconds.

"This is what it takes when you're playing for the playoffs and then when you're in the playoffs, fighting through games like this and it just shows our character. We had a tough one last night, we started out on a bad note tonight, but instead of giving up, we kept fighting until the end."

Bryant, who injured his right elbow in a loss at Oklahoma City on Tuesday night but played through it to score 30, scored 25 points in the second half in New Orleans. He had 18 in the final quarter as the Lakers (31-31) pulled back to .500 and remained within 1 1/2 games of the last playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Bryant's driving layup with 1:34 left tied it at 102. He then pulled up for a 10-foot fade to put the Lakers ahead with 36 seconds left.

"It's tough games like this that really strengthen the bond between us players and that's really what the playoffs is about," Bryant said. "You have adversity. It's about who's going to stick together and who's not going to break."

Metta World Peace added 11 points for the Lakers, many of whom lingered in the locker room after the game, along with coach Mike D'Antoni, to watch Dallas hold on to beat Houston - another result that helped Los Angeles.

"It was a big win tonight and it will be a nice ride home," D'Antoni said. "Then Friday you have to play another game (against Toronto)."

Eric Gordon scored 18 for New Orleans but missed all five shots in the fourth quarter. Vasquez had 15 points and 12 assists, but missed all six of his shots in the final period. Ryan Anderson scored 14, while Lopez had 13 points and 11 rebounds.

Hornets coach Monty Williams was at a loss to explain why the Hornets completely came apart during the final minutes, winding up with only nine points in the final period while giving up 33.

"We just couldn't execute, and once it started to roll that way it's hard to stop that momentum," Williams said. "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."

Anthony Davis added 13 points for New Orleans but played less than a minute of the fourth quarter because of Williams' decision to leave Anderson in the entire period.

"Ryan was knocking down shots," Williams said. "He spaces the floor so much that it gives Greivis and Eric room to operate. So, that's a call I made."

Al-Farouq Aminu had 12 points and 16 rebounds, and Austin Rivers had 10 points on 5-of-6 shooting, but did not play in the second half after breaking a bone in his right hand. Team officials say he'll miss 4-6 weeks.

The Lakers came in with a nine-game regular season winning streak against New Orleans, but when Howard's rim-rattling dunk put Los Angeles ahead 8-4, that was the largest lead the Lakers would have until the final seconds.

After the first quarter ended in a tie at 28, the Hornets then turned in their best single quarter in the entire season.

New Orleans scored 39 points in the second quarter, giving them a season-high 67 points at the half.

Rivers, playing more aggressively and confidently than usual, opened the period with a driving layup that ignited a 7-0 run that included Anderson's 3. Later, Rivers spun into the lane and pulled up for a short jumper, then added two more floaters in what turned into a 27-6 run. Gordon hit three 3s during the spurt.

Aminu's free throws capped the run, which gave New Orleans its largest lead at 63-38.

Bryant settled the Lakers down by taking the ball inside and getting to the foul line, scoring six straight. He finished the quarter with a driving layup as he was fouled to give him 17 points and pull Los Angeles to 67-48 at halftime.

Notes: The Hornets have not beaten the Lakers in the regular season since March 29, 2010, in New Orleans. ... Vasquez has 23 double-doubles this season. ... Those sitting courtside included actor Robert DeNiro (who sat next to Hornets owner Tom Benson), Baltimore Ravens receiver Jacoby Jones, Saints coach Sean Payton and new Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. Earlier in the day, Jones, a New Orleans native, represented the Ravens when the club donated a pair of Harley Davidson motorcycles to the New Orleans Police Department in an expression of gratitude for the security protection the club received during Super Bowl week.

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



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View More Infographics
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Points Bryant, 42
Rebounds Aminu (NOH), 16
Assists Bryant and Vasquez (NOH), 12
Steals Howard, 3
Blocks Howard, 4
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POSTGAME QUOTES



Mike D'Antoni:

On the comeback win:
“I think Dwight really started to smother the pick and roll. We couldn’t give him much help, because you can’t leave (Ryan) Anderson and you can’t leave (Eric) Gordon. He smothered some balls and that started to turn the tide. Then stuff happened. Some of the shots they were making earlier, they didn’t make. That stuff happens, but we fought through it and that’s just a testament to these guys.”

On the team win:
“We had a lot of guys that contributed. Jodie Meeks was really big on both ends. He made some big plays on Gordon on defense and hit some big threes when Kobe set him up.”

On this win bringing momentum:
“We know what we have to do. If you lose, you still have to pick it up. If you win, you still have to pick it up, so it doesn’t change anything. It was a big win tonight and it will be a nice ride back home. Then Friday, you have to play another game.”

On the half time discussion:
“We just talked about playing with more determination, and they know that. We were a step slower and they were a step faster. They were just beating us. Give them credit. They were shooting it well and we just couldn’t catch up to them. Then for whatever reason, adrenaline kicked in or whatever, the horses smelled the barn and they ran back in there.”




Kobe Bryant:

On wins like tonight strengthening the team:
“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.”

On the win:
“It was really competitive. You could kind of sense the moment of change, the competitiveness, and guys picking each other up “I just talked about looking at it as an opportunity, looking at it as a challenge and taking it head on. We just took it play by play.”




Metta World Peace:

On playing well with five fouls:
“I wasn’t really thinking about the fouls. I was more thinking about just playing good defense. I took a couple of fouls early, which I wish that I had never have taken. I just focused on good defense. That was it.”

On Dwight Howard’s play down the stretch:
“Amazing. He timed it perfectly.”

On the comeback win:
“It’s definitely something that we can build on. It’s the first year playing together as a group, so for us to pull out a game like this, it shows that you are building something.”




Monty Williams:

On the game falling apart in the fourth quarter:
“They forced the issue, kept attacking the basket; it’s the same song we have to keep the ball in front of us. That falls on my shoulders. I’ve got to figure out ways teach the guys to guard the ball. I was really disappointed in the fact that we didn’t execute down the stretch. I thought that we had some costly turnovers, obviously, and we missed a lot of cheap shots around the basket, layups and finish plays. We had a chance to win and that’s all you can ask for. We did not get the benefit of experience tonight because we just don’t have a lot as a group together, but yet I keep going back to the fact that we had a chance to win. I have to look at the film and make sure that I am on point with my thought process. I just saw the ball going to the basket, going to the basket, and they were in our lane all night in the second half. (The Lakers) had 46 points in the paint. I bet a number of those came in the second half.”

On if it’s surprising that the offense was unable to score in the last 6 or so minutes with as good as they looked in the first half:
“When you look at those offensive possessions, how many times did we have a layup or a dunk that for whatever reason we couldn’t complete? I thought Eric (Gordon) had a nice look at the back of the rim. One time Greivis (Vasquez) threw it to Robin (Lopez) and he just fumbled the ball. Sometimes that stuff happens; there is no way to explain that. We just couldn’t execute, and once it started to roll that way it’s hard to stop that momentum. But nine points in the fourth quarter, I want to look at it and see what kind of looks we brought. Our guys fought, we just couldn’t come away with a win. It was defense again. That is the thing that bothers me more than anything. 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. ”




Al-Farouq Aminu:

On diagnosing what went wrong in the fourth quarter:
“I think it’s a lot of our inexperience and execution. Those were the two main things. We didn’t execute down the stretch. Coach (Williams) always emphasizes to us that we have to be able to do that, especially to beat a team like them that has a lot of veterans, has been in a lot of situations like that like the playoffs and that type of environment. We just have to do a better job.”

On why the Lakers held them scoreless for so long in the fourth quarter:
“Like I said, we had execution problems. At that point in the game, we have to be more sound with our execution and that’s why tomorrow and on days where we get to practice, it’s important for us. We just have to keep fine-tuning our plays, and we’ll get better.”




Roger Mason:

On the Lakers turning up the intensity in the fourth quarter:
“They are a veteran team. We are a young team. They’ve been in a lot of situations like this, and as a group, we haven’t, so they definitely turned it up. We didn’t have an answer.”

On being shut out offensively for the final six minutes in the game:
“I don’t have an answer for that. We missed some shots. Obviously, they made shots and went on a run there. It was really disappointing, but we can’t make excuses. We didn’t get the job done as a team. We’ll have to look at the tape. We’ll have to keep working and keep getting better.”

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LAKERS-HORNETS PREVIEW

By NICOLINO DIBENEDETTO

Posted Mar 06 2013 2:37AM

The Los Angeles Lakers are under .500 again, and poor play on the road continues to be a problem.

A meeting with the New Orleans Hornets gives them an opportunity to change that.

The Lakers will try to return to the break-even point Wednesday night and continue their dominance of the last-place Hornets.

Expected to be a leading title contender, Los Angeles (30-31) is instead one of the league's biggest disappointments, sitting 2 1/2 games back of Utah for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

The Lakers have lost 20 of 30 road games, including four of the last six, a stretch during which they've surrendered 109.3 points. In contrast, they have limited opponents to 97.8 per contest during a 10-2 run at home.

Los Angeles fell again on the road Tuesday, losing 122-105 to Oklahoma City. However, the team avoided what would've been a devastating blow when Kobe Bryant returned from a right elbow injury that forced him to leave the game for roughly 4 1/2 minutes.

"Every time you try to bend your elbow or extend it, there's a little resistance and there's a lot of pain," Bryant said.

The Lakers have already spent parts of this season without center Dwight Howard, guard Steve Nash and forward Pau Gasol - all of them All-Stars - but Bryant is planning to stay in the lineup.

"I'm going to keep playing," Bryant said. "This is the critical part of the season."

Bryant sure is performing like it, averaging 34.0 points on 54.8 percent shooting - 14 of 29 from beyond the arc - over the past six games after overcoming the elbow injury to score 30 versus the Thunder.

Facing New Orleans (21-40), which is at the bottom of the Southwest Division, may be just what the Lakers need to begin a strong stretch.

They've won 15 of the past 17 meetings with the Hornets, and kept that dominance going by beating them for a ninth straight time Jan. 29, winning 111-106 at home.

Los Angeles has also won five straight in New Orleans, including a 103-87 rout on Dec. 5.

The Hornets have dropped six of eight after squandering a 17-point, second-half deficit en route to a 105-102 loss to Orlando on Monday.

"It was terrible. There's no other way to slice it," coach Monty Williams said. "We gave up 69 points in (the second) half against a team that played last night and had a two-hour flight. That, to me, is not something we should be proud of at all. Even if we had won that game I would still be upset about our defensive effort."

Williams should be pleased with Anthony Davis, who had 17 points, 15 rebounds and four blocks against the Magic in his first game since missing two with a left shoulder sprain.

The rookie forward had 18 points in the most recent meeting with the Lakers, but was out with an ankle injury for the latest home matchup.

Ryan Anderson had 31 points and nine boards in Davis' place Dec. 5. Back on the bench, the forward managed 13 points and two rebounds Monday.

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.

Probable Starters .
  Lakers    
  #15 World Peace SF #0 Aminu  
  #6 ClarkPF #23 Davis  
  #12 Howard C #15 Lopez  
  #24 Bryant SG #10 Gordon  
  #10 Nash PG #21 Vasquez  


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Lakers Kobe Bryant
(ulnar nerve contusion, right arm) is probable.
Pau Gasol
(strained plantar fascia, right foot) is out.
Jordan Hill
(torn labrum, left hip/herniated disc) is out.
Dwight Howard
(torn labrum, right shoulder) is probable.
Metta World Peace
(right ankle injury) is day-to-day.
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Hornets Jason Smith
(torn right labrum) is out.
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12/05 - LAL 103 @ NOH 87
01/29 - NOH 106 @ LAL 111
03/06 - LAL @ NOH
04/09 - NOH @ LAL
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