The Los Angeles Lakers are beginning to turn things around, winning their third straight game Friday night, 101-97 over the New Orleans Hornets at Staples Center. It was the fifth win in six games for the Lakers. Kobe Bryant continued his assault on the record books, moving up to ninth on the all-time scoring list.
Next on the list for Kobe is Hakeem Olajuwon, and barring injury Bryant should end up in sixth place on the all-time scoring list by the end of the season. That will make for an interesting scoring list, with Kobe one spot behind Shaquille O'Neal in the annals of NBA history. The Lakers host the New York Knicks Sunday night at Staples Center.
Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) - Kobe Bryant scored a game-high 25 points and Pau Gasol contributed 21 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists, as the Lakers dropped the Hornets, 101-97, at Staples Center. Bryant, dealing with a well-documented knee injury, shot 10-of-19 from the field and passed Hall-of-Famer Oscar Robertson into sole possession of ninth place on the NBA's all-time scoring list.
Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom each chipped in 17 points, with the latter adding 13 rebounds in the win, Los Angeles' third straight following a 2-4 stretch. David West ended with 23 points and 12 rebounds to pace New Orleans, which was coming off a seven-point home loss to Golden State on Wednesday. Chris Paul logged 12 points and 10 assists in defeat.
Marco Belinelli netted 17 points, and his three-pointer cut the Hornets' deficit to 95-92 with 1:41 left in regulation. Bryant got a left-handed runner to fall the next time down, and West missed a short hook shot at the other end. Bryant then had his mid-range jumper blocked, but the loose ball caromed to Derek Fisher to extend the possession.
Gasol made two from the foul line with 33.9 seconds remaining for a 99-92 advantage, and the Lakers held on down the stretch. Gasol scored 11 points in the first quarter to pace the Lakers to a 27-24 lead. The Hornets trailed, 51-46, at halftime but embarked on an 8-0 run midway through the third for a 62-61 lead following a Belinelli three-pointer.
The Lakers rallied with eight straight points of their own a little later. A Bryant free throw, which tied him with Robertson on the scoring list, capped the stretch and resulted in a 73-67 cushion with 2:10 left. Bryant added two more field goals in the final 1:09, including a running bank shot in the closing seconds for an 80-71 edge. The hosts played front-runner throughout the fourth but couldn't pull away until the final minute.
Bryant has 26,720 career points and trails eighth-standing Hakeem Olajuwon by 226 points....Los Angeles forward Matt Barnes suffered a sprained knee in the first half and did not return. He is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Saturday...Ron Artest played over 36 minutes and scored 12 points for LA, which shot 51-percent from the field...The Hornets' Trevor Ariza posted 17 points, seven rebounds and six assists against his former club...Emeka Okafor had 13 points and pulled down 13 caroms in defeat.
The Los Angeles Lakers look to extend their winning streak to two games tonight, as they return home to face the New Orleans Hornets at Staples Center. Kobe Bryant continues to move up the all-time scoring list, with Oscar Robertson in his sights tonight. It's only fitting that on the night Kobe may pass one of the greatest point guards of all-time, the Lakers welcome to town the current best point guard in the NBA.
Chris Paul is fully healthy this season, after missing 37 contests last season. Paul this season leads the NBA in PER, the rating system devised by John Hollinger of ESPN. Paul is averaging 16.7 points per game, is third in the league with 9.8 assists per game, and leads the NBA with 2.9 steals per game. He is shooting a career-high 45.1% on three-pointers this season as well.
Bryant is 16 points short of passing Robertson for ninth place on the NBA all-time scoring list. Bryant, who passed Dominique Wilkins for 10th place Tuesday night against Detroit, has scored 26,695 points in his illustrious career, compared to 26,710 points for the Big O. Kobe is also leading all NBA players in All-Star voting, for the February 20 game to be held at Staples Center.
Lakers center Andrew Bynum made his first start of the season against the Hornets, in a 103-88 win on December 29. Since joining the starting lineup, the Lakers are 4-1, and Bynum is averaging 12.4 points and 9.0 rebounds in just under 28 minutes per contest as a starter, making 64.3% of his field goals. Meanwhile, Lamar Odom has taken to the sixth man role just fine, averaging 15.4 points and 7.2 rebounds off the bench.