Going into this first round series, the consensus was that the Lakers had too much size for the Hornets to handle. Tuesday night, that came to fruition as Andrew Bynum scored 18 points and grabbed 10 boards, leading the Lakers to a 106-90 victory over the Hornets in Game 5, and a 3-2 series lead. Heading into tonight's contest, the health of Kobe Bryant was also in question, after he badly hurt his left ankle and foot in Game 4. Bryant, however, answered those questions with this:
This was one of two vicious dunks by Kobe on the night, as he attacked the rim on several occasions, scoring 19 points on 8-of-13 shooting. The Hornets started out on fire, shooting 81% in the first quarter to take a 32-23 lead after 12 minutes. However, the Laker defense came alive after that. The Lakers outrebounded the Hornets 42-25 on the night, and limited New Orleans to a mere three offensive rebounds.
Telling Stat: In Game 4, Chris Paul's 27 points and 13 rebounds matched the output of Bynum and Pau Gasol. In Game 5 tonight, Bynum, Gasol, and Lamar Odom combined for 25 rebounds, matching New Orleans' entire team total.
The Lakers will look to close out the series on Thursday night in Game 6, a 5 p.m. PDT game that will be televised by TNT and KCAL.
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