Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) - Kobe Bryant finished with a game-high 30 points as the Lakers topped the Hornets, 102-84, at Staples Center.
Pau Gasol posted 23 points and 16 rebounds, while Andrew Bynum scored 13 for Los Angeles, which has won seven straight and 15-of-16. Ron Artest added 11 points and Lamar Odom and Shannon Brown both contributed eight points off the bench.
Carl Landry paced the Hornets with 24 points and 10 rebounds. Emeka Okafor added 14 points and 11 rebounds, while Chris Paul posted 10 points and nine assists in the loss.
"(The Lakers) are the defending champions, they came out with length and attacked the basket," Hornets coach Monty Williams said. "In the second half we played better, we just couldn't make a shot in the first or second half."
Bryant began his night with an 11-point outburst in the first quarter as the Lakers took a 30-19 lead into the second. LA maintained its pace in the second quarter as its took a 57-41 lead into halftime.
The Lakers lead remained in double-digits in the opening minutes of the third quarter. However, Marco Belinelli canned a short jumper with 6:35 remaining to cut New Orleans' deficit to 64-55.
"We had a good defensive night tonight," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "Our bench struggled and when (New Orleans) got it back to nine points I put the starters back in and they closed."
LA responded by scoring the games next eight points, and after trading baskets for the next few minutes, the Hornets ended the quarter on a 6-0 run to trail 74-63 entering the fourth quarter.
Willie Green hit a short jumper two minutes into the fourth to start a 6-0 New Orleans run that got it close. Quincy Pondexter's basket cut the Hornets' deficit to 78-72, but the Lakers quickly responded and, after a layup by Bryant with 2:28 remaining, their lead was back to double-digits, 92-82.
Bryant's layup started a 10-2 run to close out the game as New Orleans finished the game 1-for-7 from the field.
Belinelli finished with nine points...Both teams went 3-of-17 from beyond the arc.
For more information on tonight's game, be sure to read Silver Screen and Roll.