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.
For more Lakers news and information, be sure to read the SB Nation blog Silver Screen and Roll.