Gameday: Lakers 104, Hornets 96

GAMEDAY LINKS: Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Play by Play New Orleans Hornets 22 28 20 26 96
Box Score Los Angeles Lakers 27 18 25 34 104

Lakers beat Hornets 104-96 to stay in hunt


Posted Apr 10 2013 1:31AM

LOS ANGELES (AP) Kobe Bryant fueled a desperate rally with 23 of his 30 points in the fourth quarter, and the Los Angeles Lakers beat the New Orleans Hornets 104-96 on Tuesday night to keep their playoff hopes alive.

Pau Gasol had 22 points and 11 rebounds, and Dwight Howard added 19 points to help the Lakers move a half-game ahead of Utah for the eighth and final Western Conference playoff spot. The Jazz lost to Oklahoma City 90-80 earlier in the evening, but they hold the tiebreaker over the Lakers, who have four regular-season games left.

Eric Gordon scored 22 points, making 10 of 11 free throws, before fouling out in the final seconds to lead five Hornets in double figures. Anthony Davis added 18 points and 14 rebounds, Ryan Anderson had 14 points, and Greivis Vasquez had 11 points and 11 assists.

Metta World Peace returned for the Lakers less than two weeks after undergoing left knee surgery and had four points in 15 minutes as they won their third in a row at home.

Bryant put on his usual show in the fourth quarter that began with the teams tied at 70-all. He scored the Lakers' first seven points for a 77-70 lead, drawing chants of "Kobe! Kobe!"

The Hornets ran off six in a row to take an 82-80 lead. Bryant answered with two straight jumpers before Davis'

basket tied the game for the last time at 84-all.

From there, the Hornets were outscored 20-12.

Antawn Jamison, who finished with 13 points, scored five in a row for an 89-84 lead. But Bryant kept the Lakers going with another five straight, including a steal of Gordon that he capped with a fastbreak driving finger roll.

The Hornets led by six early in a back-and-forth third that ended in a 70-all tie. Gasol scored six straight points to pull the Lakers into the first tie of the quarter. Davis picked up his fourth foul for the Hornets, and Howard got called for his fourth late in the third.

Jamison and Bryant hit back-to-back 3-pointers for the Lakers only to have Brian Roberts tie it up on a running finger roll.

The Lakers led by 10 points in the second quarter when the Hornets closed on a 17-2 run, including 14 in a row, to lead 50-45 at the break. Gordon scored 13 of their points, including the first six.

NOTES: Lakers F Earl Clark was in a car accident after morning shootaround, but he wasn't hurt and didn't want to discuss it before the game. ... The Lakers have swept the last three season series with the Hornets, and have won the last five season series overall. ... The Lakers play at Portland on Wednesday. They are 5-10 in the second game of back-to-backs this season, and have yet to go 2-0 in a set of back-to-backs. ... The Hornets are 1-3 on their five-game Western trip that ends on Wednesday at Sacramento. ... Lakers G Steve Nash missed his fourth straight game with a hamstring injury. ... Former Laker Gary Payton, who made the basketball Hall of Fame this week, attended the game.

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

View More Photos

Points Bryant, 30
Rebounds Davis (NOH), 14
Assists Vasquez (NOH), 11
Steals Bryant, 5
Blocks Gasol, 3


Mike D'Antoni:

On what he saw from Kobe Bryant in the fourth quarter:
“That he closed the game up. I would have liked for him to do that in the first quarter, and maybe we could have got some rest, but it is what it is. He closes, and we’ve got one of the best closers in the game. We could be a dangerous team. I just thought that the first half, collectively, our energy defensively wasn’t quite there; especially the first six minutes of the first quarter. We played with fire a little bit. Overall, giving up 96 points isn’t bad defensively, but at the same time we just started off really slow defensively and let them get out of the gates, and we gave them hope. Now, we had to expend a little more energy than we should have.”

On Pau Gasol’s play tonight:
“Really good. He’s been playing at a very high level, and I think he keeps getting in a little bit better shape as we go on. Too many minutes for him, but with Dwight [Howard]’s foul trouble it was really necessary. I’d like to get him cut down a little bit, but we have to win games right now.”

On what he saw from Metta World Peace tonight:
“Good; somebody who hadn’t played for a couple of weeks, but he didn’t seem as if he was limping or anything. He’ll keep getting back into it little by little. Whatever he can give us helps, and the minutes he gave us were good minutes.”

On not being able to maintain the lead throughout the game:
“Well, there were some lapses defensively. But, to me it’s how you start the game, and the tone you set. We gave them a chance; we gave them hope. They’ve got some good players. Eric Gordon, you can play really good defense on him, and you can’t stop him sometimes. Ryan Anderson is the same way. You can be right up in his grill. You just don’t mess with the game. You come out and you knock them out because everybody is playing hard defensively, you run the floor, and do everything; then you see what happens. We’ve done it all year. We play around a little bit and see if we can coast for a while and maybe it will work. Then, we get our backs up against the wall and have to play twice as hard to get a win. It’s been our M.O. We’ll go on to the next one.”

On Kobe Bryant guarding Eric Gordon in the second half:
“He took the challenge and he did it. It’s not something you want for him, to expend all of his energy offensively and defensively, but he took the challenge of stopping [Eric] Gordon. He felt he was the only one who could do it, and he did it.”

Pau Gasol:

On the game:
“We had to step up our energy, our aggressiveness and our determination out there so that’s what we did in the second half. We came out a little flat in the first half and we just had to step it up.”

“I am trying to be aggressive, be decisive and make plays. Make sure I am productive and do my job.”

“[Kobe] was aggressive in the fourth. He waited a whole to be aggressive. I think it is good when he doesn’t have to be as aggressive in the first three quarters and then he takes over in the fourth. He was a key factor for us to win this game.”

“We need to dig in and come out aggressive and make sure we don’t make mistakes out there. They are a young team and are always going to play hard against us and they gave the game their best shot. We need to make sure we are ready to go from the beginning and play 48 minutes.”

Kobe Bryant:

On the game:
“I really was just trying to pace myself. I know fatigue comes in when you play so many minutes. So, I really just tried to lay back and manage the game and turn it on at the right time. There are certain times I can turn it on, but then the fourth quarter comes around and their defense is all set and I am a little heavy on the legs and it doesn’t work out in my favor, so I just had to flip it a little bit.”

“That is never going to happen. [Pau] is never going to take 15-20 shots. His personality is that he will always be in the thirteen range even when he was in Memphis and he was the go to guy. He is just too unselfish of a player. But, there will be certain nights where he can carry the offence and he did tonight. But, he wasn’t on the shooter ball. He was play-making and doing everything we needed him to do and we just put him on the block and he went to work.”

“It is really just about me making shots. That is really all it is. It is not really the defense. Like tonight, they keyed in on my penetration, but I know I could range over the defense and get the shot. So, with games like this, when the jumper is falling, you have fourth quarters like I had.”

Antawn Jamison:

On tonight’s game:
“We’d do a good job as far as getting a couple stops here and there but you got to give them credit as well because they are a scrappy team and they’re pretty relentless as well. We did a good job as far as getting some stops and converting some baskets on the offensive end, then we’d go into a [low] where communication wasn’t there or we’d take some bad shots offensively and they kept creeping back in it.”

On Kobe Bryant’s 23 point 4th quarter:
“It’s unbelievable. Like you said, you’re so accustom to trying to stop him and you know what he’s capable of doing, but as a teammate, especially for me, he never seems to surprise you. Like you said, to score 23 points [in the 4th quarter] is typical Kobe [Bryant], typical things that he’s accustom to doing.”

Dwight Howard:

On tonight’s game:
“They did a good job of fighting us. We missed a lot of easy shots tonight but I think it was pretty effective wearing down there bigs, especially late in the game, so we just got to continue to play inside-out.”

On the 4th quarter defense:
“Just communication. They ran a lot of plays to where they were pulling the bigs out and throwing the lob over the top so it was very tough to defend, but we did a better job late.”

Monty Williams:

On the game:
“Obviously you’re sore because you lost. That’s my take and I’m always thinking about the things we could have done to win the game. I thought we had a couple of chances to get the ball and we just threw it away. I thought we competed like crazy tonight and that’s what we’ve got to do in an environment like tonight. Kobe [Bryant] you know he had those 7 straight points, but I didn’t think that was the game. I thought the game was won after that when we couldn’t capitalize on some of the mistakes they made. One time Pau [Gasol] falls on the ground and we lose [Antawn] Jamison and he gets a layup and one time Ryan [Anderson], his intention was great, but we lose Jamison again he attacks the basket and they get a block, an ‘and-one’. Those are the plays that kind of stick out for me. Kobe is going to be Kobe. He’s going to knock down shots, but you have to be sure that you find the other guys and make sure they don’t hurt you.”

On his team’s effort:
“Our guys fought all night long and that’s what I want from them, is to compete and give ourselves a chance every night because we play hard. Our execution down the stretch wasn’t bad tonight, I just thought they did some things from a physical standpoint that took us out a little bit in the 4th quarter.”

On their run in the second quarter:
“It looked like we just competed. I got Eric [Gordon] back in the game, AD [Anthony Davis] and Robin [Lopez] had a presence in the paint. Outside of that it wasn’t anything strategic I just thought we brought our level up a little bit. When Eric is going like that not many people can guard him and when he’s attacking the basket it makes it easy for us.”

On Kobe Bryant and if he thought about putting Eric Gordon on him when he got hot:
“No because we’ve dealt with this restriction with Eric [Gordon] all season long so we have to be mindful of that. But you could put Saran Wrap on Kobe and I don’t know if that’s going to change anything. Xavier [Henry] was right there each shot. The one time Kobe shot a rainbow, I don’t know what you do about that. The three he hit, Xavier was right in his face. So to say ‘put someone else on him’, I think you guys are just reaching because you’re not coaching. In those situations you just have to try not to let him get the ball. I think that’s the key and it’s hard to even do that.”

Ryan Anderson:

On the late fourth quarter:
“We’re a relentless team. We’ve been in this situation so we’re going to battle until the end. That’s what we do. That’s what this team is built for. We have a lot of character in this locker room. We just went out and tried to fight back in the game as best as we could and we fell a little short.”

On Kobe Bryant:
“They had a big run and he really led it. He’s Kobe Bryant, one of the best players in the NBA. He’s a tough player to guard and sometimes there’s nothing else you can do, he had a hand up. We had multiple guys doubling him and he just made smart plays. I think as a group they move the ball abnormally well without turning the ball over. They made smart plays. They are really dangerous when they move the ball.”

Anthony Davis:

On Hornets performance tonight:
“We played a great Laker team. I think we played hard with a lot of energy and a lot of toughness for the whole game. It was a great game and Kobe started making shots getting the lead, great contest. They did a great job. Kobe came in and deepened the floor, knocked down shots and they got the lead but I think we did a great job throughout the whole game.”

On defensive battle against Pau Gasol:
“He’s a great player. I tried to play as hard as I can and keep him off the sweet spots but he still made plays.”

Eric Gordon:

On Hornets 14-nothing spurt:
“I think mostly we were just playing really good defense, getting stops, just pushing it and going. We played high-tempo, fast-paced, and it’s something that we need to do more often.”

On Kobe Bryant:
“He’s tough. He had a lot of tough shots to get him going. Whenever you hit a few in a row it’s almost hard to stop. He had a lot of tough shots and when he gets to the free-throw line it’s a whole different ball game.”



Posted Apr 08 2013 10:00PM

The Los Angeles Lakers don't have much margin for error if they hope to make an eighth straight playoff appearance, but they should be pretty confident in their ability to beat the New Orleans Hornets.

Getting Metta World Peace back should make them feel even better.

World Peace is expected to return from a torn meniscus nearly a month earlier than anticipated Tuesday night at Staples Center as the desperate Lakers look for an 11th straight win over the Hornets.

Los Angeles (40-37) won 11 of its first 14 after the All-Star break to grab a one-game lead for the Western Conference's eighth seed, but it's slipped a bit over the last three weeks. Sunday's 109-95 loss to the Clippers was the Lakers' fifth in nine games, and after Utah's 97-90 win at Golden State later that night, Los Angeles found itself a half-game behind the Jazz for the final playoff spot.

Utah also owns the tiebreaker.

"We've got a bigger challenge than worrying about beating the Clippers in one game," Kobe Bryant said. "... Our concern is playing well in order to get into the playoffs, get guys healthy, and go in there and see what we can do."

Steve Nash is likely to miss his fourth straight with a hamstring injury on Tuesday, but the Lakers should get a surprise return from World Peace. The mercurial forward suffered his knee injury March 25 at Golden State and Los Angeles believed he'd be out until early May - if the Lakers were even still playing then - but he's been cleared to go after recovering from surgery in less than two weeks.

"We've got a chance to make a push for this championship run," World Peace told reporters Monday after practice at the Lakers' training complex. "We all need it. All the guys under contract, injured or not injured, we all need each other to make a run at this thing."

Los Angeles could certainly use an additional 3-point threat, and World Peace averages a team-best 2.0 per game, shooting 34.7 percent overall from beyond the arc. The Lakers are shooting 31.8 percent from long distance in this nine-game stretch, with Bryant shooting a woeful 17.9 percent (7 of 39).

Efficiency from deep hasn't been an issue for Los Angeles against New Orleans this season. The Lakers are shooting 40.

4 percent beyond the arc in three wins over the Hornets (27-50) - hitting at least 11 3s in each victory - and they're shooting 48.1 percent overall in their 10 straight victories over New Orleans.

Reserve guard Jodie Meeks has been the big contributor from deep in this season's series, hitting 11 of 23 from long distance while averaging 13.7 points.

Bryant had 42 points in a 108-102 win at New Orleans last month, scoring 13 of those during a 20-0 closing run as the Lakers overcame a 25-point deficit.

The Hornets head to Staples for the fourth game of a five-game road trip, but they should feel somewhat good about themselves after winning away from home Sunday for the first time since the All-Star break. Anthony Davis had 20 points as New Orleans beat Phoenix 95-92 for its first road win since Feb. 11.

"It was good to get a win so people can stop talking about how many we lost on the road in a row," coach Monty Williams said. "Our guys feel good about beating a team in their place."

Ryan Anderson has averaged 20.3 points in the three meetings against the Lakers, while Greivis Vasquez has averaged 15.3 points and 12.0 assists.

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 .
  #24 Bryant SF #0 Aminu  
  #16 GasolPF #23 Davis  
  #12 Howard C #15 Lopez  
  #20 Meeks SG #10 Gordon  
  #5 Blake PG #21 Vasquez  

Lakers Kobe Bryant
(bone spur, left foot) is probable.
Pau Gasol
(strained plantar fascia, right foot) is probable.
Jordan Hill
(torn labrum, left hip/herniated disc) is out.
Dwight Howard
(torn labrum, right shoulder) is probable.
Antawn Jamison
(sprained right wrist) is probable.
Steve Nash
(strained right hamstring) is doubtful.
Metta World Peace
(lateral meniscus tear, left knee) is questionable.

Hornets Jason Smith
(torn right labrum) is out.
Austin Rivers
(fractured right hand) is out.

12/05 - LAL 103 @ NOH 87
01/29 - NOH 106 @ LAL 111
03/06 - LAL 108 @ NOH 102
04/09 - NOH @ LAL

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