Hot shooting and terrific play from guards Chris Paul and Marco Belinelli in the first half gave the New Orleans Hornets a 55-47 halftime lead over the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 1 of their first round NBA playoff series at Staples Center. It could have been worse, as in a double-digit deficit, but Ron Artest hit a 44-foot three-pointer at the halftime buzzer to cut the lead to eight. Kobe Bryant led the Lakers with 16 points in the first 24 minutes.
Paul carved up Derek Fisher and the Lakers' defense for a first half double-double, with 11 points and 10 assists. Belinelli chipped in with 10 points, including two threes, for the Hornets, who shot 58.5% in the opening half. New Orleans only committed two turnovers in the first half.
Artest scored seven points and grabbed eight rebounds in the first half for the Lakers, who shot just 42.1% from the field in the first half. The Lakers outrebounded New Orleans 22-18. Pau Gasol had a quiet first half for the Lakers, shooting just 1-for-5, scoring four points and grabbing three rebounds.
Andrew Bynum had eight points, six rebounds, and a blocked shot in the first half, but also committed three fouls, which could limit his minutes in the second half. Trey Johnson, the Lakers' unheralded pickup from the D-League, actually played six minutes, scoring three points and grabbing three rebounds.
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