How do you top last season's memorable victory over the Lakers at Staples Center, when Peja Stojakovic drilled a team-record 10 three-pointers and Chris Paul set a second franchise record with 21 assists in the same game?
How about a career-high tying, 40-point eruption this time from David West? How about 32 points and 15 assists from Chris Paul? The Hornets' pair of All-Stars teamed up to produce huge individual games and overpower the Lakers. New Orleans (21-10) ended the Lakers' 15-game home winning streak, prevailing despite a tremendous 39-point outing by Kobe Bryant.
This was the Hornets' best victory of the season and one of the most entertaining games played in the NBA so far in 2008-09. New Orleans trailed 92-89 through three quarters, but turned up its defensive effort in the final stanza, to the tune of a 27-13 edge. West poured in 27 second-half points, repeatedly drilling 20-footers over Lakers defenders.
"We feel if we play ball the right way, we feel like we can play with anybody," West said, after going 14-for-23 from the field and 12-for-13 from the foul line.
Paul did the majority of his offensive damage in the first half, posting 23 of his 32 points prior to intermission. New Orleans led 61-56 at halftime, after Bryant drilled a long three-pointer at the second-quarter buzzer, one of the 2008 MVP's six treys. Bryant had a nearly identical night as West from the field, going 14-for-22, but was also 6-for-7 from beyond the arc.
To the Hornets' credit, they held Bryant to only two points in the fourth quarter. Bryant's teammates shot well for much of the night, draining 10 three-pointers (L.A. was 16-for-34 on treys as a team), but went cold late.
HORNETS POSTGAME QUOTES
On the Hornets defensive effort:
Well we had to pick it up defensively. Kobe was hitting everything he was throwing up and they made a bunch of threes and I dont think our guys got discouraged. We understood we were trying to keep them out of the paint as much as possible. I think we matured from the last time we played them. 4th quarter, David West was big and Chris Paul was big so we got some great performances from our two stars.
On only allowing one offensive rebound in the late 4th quarter:
Defense was our focus, we tried to switch it up and we tried to play Kobe straight up most of the game but he just got it going so towards the end and we figured that we had to get it out of his hands as much as possible. Well live with Ariza and some of their other guys shooting shots but it ended up working out for us.
On their approach against the Lakers and Hornets overall effort:
Well we talked about that we have to have 48 solid minutes of focused basketball against this team. We cant have any lapses of going 4-5 minutes of not scoring and I thought for the most part we were able to continue to do that throughout the game. We knew that we were going to have score a lot of points, theyre a great offensive basketball team. But the last two games that we played them we stood around and allowed them to guard us. So tonight we had a lot more movement and guys were in attack mode early and we stayed that way for the entire game.
On their teams mentality after the win against Lakers:
Our character has been tested the last two times we played them and like I said earlier I thought over there they probably felt that we couldnt beat them and I thought that we had to try to prove a point to not only them but to ourselves that we can beat this team and that we can play with them. Tonight we came out and we played a lot harder, we were a lot more aggressive on both ends and we got the win.