The Lakers fell behind after halftime and required a big fourth quarter and missed final shot to pull off the 88-85 victory. Bryant did not sink a shot or score a point until the final seven minutes of the game. He ended up with 11 points and five assists, going 3-for-21 from the floor, including just 1-for-8 from three-point range. The one three-pointer he converted ended up being the difference in the game, putting the Lakers ahead with just 0:20 left in regulation.
Pau Gasol led the way for the Lakers in this one, finishing with 21 points and 11 rebounds.
After the first half of play, the Los Angeles Lakers lead the New Orleans Hornets by a score of 43-39 at home in the STAPLES Center. The Lakers are looking to bounce back from a Thursday night loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Hornets are trying to avoid losing four of their last five games.
The Lakers are definitely looking to get Bryant more involved in the second half as they are definitely looking to avoid giving up the top spot in the Western Conference's Pacific Division to the Clippers, who are nipping at their heals.
The Los Angeles Lakers look to get back into the win column on Saturday afternoon, hosting the New Orleans Hornets at Staples Center. Here are the relevant details of Saturday's NBA Western Conference battle:
Records: Lakers (31-20); Hornets (13-38)
Location: Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles
Time: 12:30 p.m. PDT
TV: Fox Sports West, with Bill Macdonald and Stu Lantz on the call.
Offensive Efficiency: Lakers, 105.0 points per 100 possessions (14th in NBA); Hornets, 100.4 (27th)
Home vs. Road: The Lakers are 20-5 at home this season though they have lost three of their last four games at Staples Center. The Hornets are 8-17 on the road, which is better than their 5-21 home record in New Orleans this season.
Series History: The Lakers have won their last five meetings with New Orleans overall, and they have also beaten the Hornets in each of their last five meetings at Staples Center.
Rare Saturday Home Game: The Clippers played Friday night at Staples Center and do so again Saturday night, which meant the Lakers get the afternoon slot today. Just playing at all on a Saturday at home is rare for the Lakers, who usually occupy the Friday-Sunday night slots at home. This is just the 10th Saturday home game for the Lakers since the start of the 1998-1999 season and the first non-holiday Saturday home game since a 91-89 win over the Los Angeles Clippers on January 17, 2004.
Division Race Heating Up: The Lakers own a one-game lead in the Pacific Division over the Clippers with 15 games remaining. The Lakers have eight home games and seven road games remaining, with one of the road games at Staples Center against the Clippers. The Clippers have six home games and nine road contests left on their schedule.