Hornets.com postgame: Lakers 103, Hornets 87
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer
Lakers (9-10), Hornets (5-12)
It was over when… Kobe Bryant sank a hanging fadeaway jumper from the right baseline to give the Lakers a 94-75 lead with about 5:30 remaining. After trailing by a point at halftime, the Lakers used a third-quarter surge to take command. The Lakers ended a two-game losing streak while dropping the Hornets to 1-3 on their current five-game homestand. New Orleans wraps up the stretch by hosting league-best Memphis (13-3) on Friday.
Hornets MVP: Unless the Hornets get roster-wide performances similar to Monday’s game vs. Milwaukee, Ryan Anderson probably will need to produce prolific offensive games on a nightly basis. He did so Wednesday, racking up 31 points on 12-for-21 shooting, but it wasn’t enough. Two days after the Hornets had six players reach double-figure scoring against the Bucks, only three players achieved the feat vs. the Lakers. Along with Anderson’s 31, Greivis Vasquez added 16 and Robin Lopez had 15, but the bulk of their points came in the first half.
Hornets Sixth Man of the Game: Xavier Henry consistently attacked the interior of the Lakers’ defense, resulting in an eight-point, six-rebound outing in 19 minutes of action. The swingman also notched three assists and one steal. Overall though, it was a forgettable evening for the reserves, who shot a combined 5-for-24 from the field. Henry and Lance Thomas (2-for-2, 5 points) were the only subs to score more than one basket.
The buzz on… a momentum-killing start to the third quarter. After outplaying the Lakers for extended stretches of the first half, the Hornets took a 48-47 lead into the locker room. Los Angeles completely turned around the game in the initial few minutes of the second half, however, going on a 13-0 run that made it 60-48. For anyone who’s watched the Hornets this season, it probably shouldn't come as much of a surprise that New Orleans now ranks last out of 30 NBA teams in average third-quarter scoring margin, at minus 3.7 (the worst NBA teams in the first, second and fourth quarters are Orlando, Toronto and Cleveland, respectively). The Hornets are above average in the first quarter (13th) and the fourth quarter (sixth), but also struggle in the second period (26th), adding to the evidence that the middle segment of games have been most problematic. “Not many things surprise me with our team because we are going to go through stretches like that,” head coach Monty Williams said, referring to Wednesday’s third quarter. “We have so many guys who have never been in that situation and don’t understand when you have a team like the Lakers on a back-to-back on your home floor, you have a chance to keep it competitive, if you do certain things…. I just didn’t think our defense was there, especially that first five or six minutes of the third quarter. Our defense kind of left us in the third quarter, and they took advantage of it.”