New Orleans, LA (Sports Network) – Chris Paul capped his triple-double with an assist on Jarrett Jack’s big jumper with 9.3 seconds remaining, as the New Orleans Hornets held off the two-time defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers, 93-88, in Game 4 of their Western Conference quarterfinal set.
Jack followed up his jumper with three free throws to account for his only five points of the game for the Hornets, who bounced back from a 100-86 loss on Friday to even the series at 2-2.
“We’ve been talking about being strong and courageous since the playoffs started about our guys fighting for everything that we’re going to receive, we’ve got to take it. Chris Paul, that was one of the better performances I’ve ever seen in the playoffs,” Hornets head coach Monty Williams said. “A lot of guys have performances where they score. He scored. He dished it out. He rebounded. He made tough, tenacious plays.”
Game 5 of the series will be back in LA on Tuesday.
Derek Fisher’s driving layup with 1:53 to play got the Lakers within three, 85-82.
Willie Green responded with a free throw at the other end to make it a four- point game. Bryant then drew a double team and passed down low to an open Gasol, who failed to catch the ball. Gasol immediately fouled Paul, who made two foul shots to make it an 88-82 game with 1:12 to go.
Gasol made up for his mistake with a jumper in the lane while being fouled. He got his own rebound after missing the free throw, but Gasol was off the mark with a jumper.
Paul grabbed the defensive rebound before losing control of the ball. A mad scramble led to a jump ball with 45.6 seconds remaining. The basketball went right to Ariza, who dribbled down the left side of the court. Ariza passed off to Green, who made a contested layup, but Ariza was called for offensive goaltending.
Lamar Odom made two shots at the charity stripe to make it a two-point game with 33.6 ticks left on the clock.
But Jack’s big shot at the other end essentially put the game away. Bryant played good defense on Paul, who passed the ball to Jack at the foul line. Jack’s fadeaway shot hit nothing but net to give the Hornets a 90-86 lead with 9.3 seconds to go.
Gasol’s slam was followed up by two Jack free throws to keep it a four-point contest. Bryant missed a three-pointer before Jack made 1-of-2 from the line to seal the victory.
“Well, it’s a series now,” Lakers head coach Phil Jackson said. “We punked out there on the court tonight.”
The Lakers led for a majority of the first quarter and took a 25-22 edge into the second.
But New Orleans scored the final 12 points of the second frame to grab a 49-45 lead at the half.
A tight third quarter resulted in the Hornets taking a 69-67 edge into the fourth.