GAMEDAY LINKS: Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Box Score New Orleans Hornets 14 25 28 18 85
Play by Play Los Angeles Lakers 20 23 18 27 88


Lakers beat Hornets 88-85 on Bryant's late 3

By BETH HARRIS


Posted Mar 31 2012 3:28PM

LOS ANGELES (AP) Kobe Bryant hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 20 seconds left, after starting the game with 18 straight misses, and the Los Angeles Lakers rallied to beat the last-place New Orleans Hornets 88-85 on Saturday.

It was just the third field goal of the game for Bryant, who finished with 11 points on 3 of 21 shooting as the Lakers ended a two-game skid at home. Pau Gasol had 21 points and 11 rebounds, and Andrew Bynum added 19 points and 10 rebounds, while Ramon Sessions had 10 points and 10 assists.

Bryant was 0 for 7 on 3-pointers before making his only one. He had five assists, three rebounds and four fouls in 39 minutes. He endured the worst start to a game in his career, having previously missed his first 13 shots against San Antonio on Dec. 28, 2010.

Jarrett Jack had 18 points and 10 assists for the Hornets, but he missed a go-ahead bank shot with 4.9 seconds left.

Jason Smith added 17 points and 10 rebounds, and former Clipper Al-Farouq Aminu had 10 points for the Hornets, who lost playing their second straight game with just eight players available because of injuries. Trevor Ariza, Carl Landry, and Chris Kaman all sat out, while new father Gustavo Ayon and Emeka Okafor weren't with the team.

The Lakers' anemic bench still got outscored by the Hornets' three reserves, 26-19. As a team, the Lakers went 32 of 77 from the floor, playing poorly for much of the game until being rescued by Bryant's late heroics.

The Lakers trailed 75-65 before he hit a 17-foot jumper over Marco Belinelli with 7:52 remaining for his first field goal. Bryant followed on the next possession with a fadeaway jumper and got fouled, making the free throw to get his team within seven after sitting out the first four minutes of the fourth.

Bryant stepped to the line with 58 seconds left after Jack was called for a blocking foul. He made the first and missed the second, leaving the Lakers trailing 85-83 and the fans in agony. Their voices rose in a cheer when he finally made his first basket, and groaned on every subsequent miss.

Greivis Vasquez missed a 3-pointer with 31 seconds to go, setting up another signature closing moment by Bryant. He was 0 for 7 in the first half, missing four 3-pointers while dishing out five assists.

The Lakers opened the game on a 20-6 run before New Orleans scored the final eight points to trail 20-14. Steve Blake sparked the Lakers' bench with three 3-pointers in the second while Barnes scored four in a row to extend their lead to 41-30. But the Hornets closed with a 9-2 run and trailed 43-39 at halftime.

NOTES: Before the game, Bryant met with Lakers fan Allene Wynn of suburban Pacoima, fulfilling the 104-year-old woman's wish. She attended as a guest of the team and pulled no punches with Bryant, telling him, "You need to play better." ... The Lakers played their first non-holiday home game on a Saturday in the regular season since Jan. 17, 2004. ... The Lakers are 2-0 against the Hornets this season, having rallied from 17 points down on the road to win 107-101 in overtime earlier this month.


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.







View More Photos


Points Gasol 21, 8-14
Rebounds Gasol 11, 2 OFF 9 DEF
Assists Sessions 10
Steals Bryant 3
Blocks Gasol/Bynum 2


POSTGAME QUOTES



Mike Brown:

Lakers coach Mike Brown on today’s game:
“Obviously it was a tough game for us. But, it was great to see us stay with it, no matter if we got down two or got down ten and to continue to try and execute down the stretch. To me, it was a great team performance in the sense that it was not an easy game, it was a game that we had to fight for for 48 minutes, and we found a way to get it done. You talk about 32 buckets and 28 assists on the 32 buckets, even though we didn’t score and the percentage doesn’t look like it, we had some great possessions offensively. Andrew, I thought, was huge for us. He got the double-double, most that in the second half. Kobe took some great shots. The shots he took normally go in. It’s ironic, he takes 8 threes and the one three he makes gives us the lead. It’s just his willpower and his ability to do great things throughout the course of the game, no matter how the flow of the game was or is. And then, Sessions with the double-double, finding guys out on the floor, making the game easier for a lot of guys. And then our bench with the energy that it brought in terms of Josh [McRoberts], Matt [Barnes] and Steve [Blake] knocking down the three threes. So, a lot of good performances from our guys. We just kind of found a way to win.”

Lakers coach Mike Brown on the team’s home record:
“You know, our home court record is good, but I don’t know how many times, even at home, I could sit down with ten minutes to go in the game and undo my tie and cross my feet. We’ve got a good record, we’ve won games, but we haven’t been beating teams by 15 or 20 whether we’re at home or on the road. So, it’s been a dog fight for us all the time.”

Lakers coach Mike Brown on team’s performance today:
“I thought defensively—they scored 85 points on 42% shooting—we did a pretty good job on that end of the floor. Offensively, we had 88 points on 42% shooting, I thought Kobe took some great looks. When Kobe goes 10 for 21 maybe it’s not as close, but I thought offensively we executed fine. I thought we set screens, I thought we spaced the floor the right way, I thought everybody took the right shots. We had a few turnovers in the first half that I thought effected our game, we came back in the second half with six turnovers, but they only scored three points off those six turnovers. So we did a better job with our floor balance. Overall, I liked the shots that we took, they just didn’t go in and that has a lot to do with our low percentage.”




Andrew Bynum:

Lakers’ Andrew Bynum on how the team got it together for the fourth quarter:
“I made a couple shots and Kobe hit the game winner. We just had to play some defense.

Lakers’ Andrew Bynum on whether Kobe was down on himself tonight:
“Kobe never gets down on himself. That’s crazy. I don’t have that opinion of him.

Lakers’ Andrew Bynum on his play during the first quarter:
“I touched the ball quite a lot. I wanted to get 10 assists [in the first] so I was passing but you know I didn’t up getting [10 assists]. I passed the ball a lot to help my teammates.”




Ramon Sessions:

Lakers’ Ramon Sessions on playing hard against sub-.500 teams:
“It’s just a matter of being consistent for 48 minutes. New Orleans came out as the undermanned team and we took them lightly. But, it’s like I tell [the Lakers] when I came in with Cleveland, this was our championship coming here playing in the Staples Center so teams are coming in playing hard and we just have to be consistent and play hard too.”

Lakers’ Ramon Sessions on the Hornet’s defensive strategy zone defense:
“That’s dictating how good our offense is man to man. They definitely came out in the zone and we kind of got stagnant for a while but down the line we were able to get the stops we needed. Offensively, man to man, it’s tough to guard. So it’s one of those things that zone is a little more helpful for undermanned teams.”




Kobe Bryant:

Lakers’ Kobe Bryant on his decision to take the 3-pointer at the end of the game:
“I’m stubborn. That’s probably what it is. If I were to miss that shot, everybody would have killed me. It was a two-point game and we could have easily thrown the ball to Drew or Pau.”

Lakers’ Kobe Bryant on his mentality to take that kind of shot despite struggling all game:
“You have that kind of attitude, that kind of determination or stubbornness and that’s what gets teams over the hump to win multiple championships.”

Lakers’ Kobe Bryant on his offensive performance today:
“I had good shots. Fatigue might have something to do with it, but I had good shots --- good shots out of the rhythm of the offense, but none of them went down. At that point, you have to be patient and just focus on the last quarter and focus on getting some good shots.”

Lakers’ Kobe Bryant on how he managed to stay confident despite not shooting well:
“You have to figure out ways to work through it. I have a great team here and a lot of support and I really pushed myself defensively tonight to get after the guys. Sometimes you have to sacrifice a little bit of the offense and the stamina that you have to defend because that’s what we believe is going to get us to a championship.”




Monty Williams:

Hornets coach Monty Williams’s opening statement:
“Our guys do what they do every night. It’s no surprise that we fight and give ourselves a chance to win. They played with class and guys were out there hobbling and limping around and still playing. The thing that is disappointing to me is we have got some guys on our team that could give us more but they are sitting there watching. That’s the bottom line. It’s hard to describe that in this day and age I’ve got Jason Smith out there, knees hurting, hip, Lance [Thomas] with ice all over his body, Jarrett Jack has an ankle [sprain] and they just give it up every single night. Those eight guys just made me a proud coach tonight.”

Hornets coach Monty Williams on how the team is going to maintain motivation for tomorrow’s game:
“You just want to play the game that way. Hopefully, give yourself a chance to win down the stretch. I’m more concerned about the health of those guys that played tonight, a few guys that were limping. A couple of guys have never been in that situation. Chris Johnson making shots for us down the stretch. I’m sure he’s never been in that situation against the Lakers. Lance Thomas, the same deal. So, I hope and pray that we have the kind of effort tomorrow.”

Hornets coach Monty Williams on Jarrett Jack’s last shot:
“I’m really proud of Jarrett Jack. A of guys run from that shot. He had a shot at the end and he’ll make that shot nine times out of ten. It just didn’t go his way. But, I’m more concerned with the heart to take that shot says a lot about who he is and he’s playing on a bum ankle. That to me says a lot about who Jarrett is.”




Jarrett Jack:

Hornets’ Jarrett Jack on guarding Kobe on the Lakers last possession:
“I figured he hadn’t shot the ball well all game so I figured he would try and get to the basket. He pulled up, I tried to contest the best I could, and he hit a tough shot.”

Hornets’ Jarrett Jack on his shot on the Hornets last possession:
“I just played it off the glass wrong. I got to the spot I wanted and we got the matchup we wanted. I was expecting Bynum to come over as well. I just shot it off the glass a little too hard, but we got exactly to where we wanted to be at.



Jason Smith:

Hornets’ Jason Smith on the Hornets final possessions:
“We got some good looks at the end. Greivis had a good look from the three point line and Jack did a good job getting to the rim. Sometimes those shots just don’t go your way. They didn’t go our way today, but we just have to fight through and get ready for tomorrow.”

Hornets’ Jason Smith on the loss:
“We put ourselves in a good position the entire game. We continued to fight and show aggression. With 8 guys, it’s tough to go against the Lakers. We hung together, we fought, and everybody on the bench was cheering for everybody. It was a tough one.”

Hornets’ Jason Smith on Kobe Bryant’s struggles from the field before his last shot:
“He is Kobe Bryant. He is going to find a way to score and he’s going to will his team to win. He’s an amazing, hall of fame player. It’s tough any night you go against the Lakers, and tonight just wasn’t our night.”






Hornets-Lakers Preview

By MATT BECKER


Kobe Bryant pointed to transition defense as the biggest reason the Los Angeles Lakers were unable to slow down the Western Conference's top team last time out.

The Pacific Division-leading Lakers should have better luck in that department Saturday night against an offensively challenged New Orleans Hornets team that will likely be shorthanded.

Facing high-powered Oklahoma City on Thursday, Los Angeles (31-20) allowed the Thunder to score 25 fast-break points in a 102-93 loss. Oklahoma City, one of the league's highest-scoring teams, got 12 of those fast-break points in the third quarter when the Lakers were outscored 34-19.

"It's just the transition baskets and giving them opportunities that hurt us," Bryant said.

While Los Angeles struggled to keep Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant in check, it doesn't seem like it should have as much trouble containing New Orleans.

The Hornets (13-38), who are one of the league's worst scoring teams at 89.2 points per game, are last in fast-break scoring at 8.9 per game. Making matters worse, New Orleans could be without three of its top five scorers in Jarrett Jack (sprained right ankle), who averages a team-best 15.6 points, Chris Kaman (flu) and Trevor Ariza (sore right ankle). Kaman, who averages 13.3 points, has been sidelined for four straight games, while Ariza, averaging 11.0 points, has missed three of four.

The Hornets, led by Jack's 30 points, took the Lakers to overtime in their lone meeting March 14 at New Orleans Arena, but Los Angeles was coming off a double-overtime win in Memphis the night before and fatigue could have been a factor. Bryant finished with 33 points, while Andrew Bynum added 25 and 18 rebounds to lead the Lakers to their fifth straight win in the series and eighth in nine games.

Bynum is coming off an encouraging performance against Oklahoma City finishing with 25 points and 13 rebounds for his first double-double in six games. The All-Star center, who is tied for third in the league with 32 double-doubles, seemed to be motivated from being benched for the final nine minutes of Tuesday's win over Golden State.

While Bynum could be turning the corner, Bryant had another rough night. He ended with 23 points on 7-of-25 shooting - the fifth time in seven games he shot less than 39.0 percent.

That typically spells trouble for the Lakers, who are 7-11 when he shoots 39.0 percent or less compared to 24-9 when he eclipses that mark. The 14-time All-Star has shot better than 43.3 percent in each of his last 10 games against the Hornets.

New Orleans arrives in Los Angeles to conclude a four-game road trip after Thursday's 99-93 loss to Portland, its third in four games. Marco Belinelli had 27 points and Carl Landry scored 24 for the Hornets, who had eight players available for the game.

"My guys fought and that's all you can ask," coach Monty Williams said. "We've got eight guys going up against a talented team and it goes down to the wire, there's not much you can say about your team. We had a chance to win and just didn't pull it out when we needed it."

Belinelli, who averages 11.8 points, and Landry, who averages 12.5, are each coming off back-to-back 20 point performances.


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 Al-Farouq Aminu  
  #16 Gasol PF #24 Landry  
  #17 Bynum C #14 Smith  
  #24 Bryant SG #8 Belinelli  
  #7 Sessions PG #21 Vasquez  



Lakers Jordan Hill
(sprained MCL, right knee) is questionable.

Gustavo Ayon
(personal) is out.
Trevor Ariza
(sore right ankle) is out.
Eric Gordon
(right knee contusion) is doubtful.
Jarrett Jack
(right ankle sprain) is questionable.
Chris Kaman
(illness) is questionable.
Emeka Okafor
(sore left knee) is out.


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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