Hornets Down Lakers At The Hive

Posted: March 15, 2008 in Hornets

The Hornets opened up a little slow and found Kobe Bryant to be a little bit of a challenge early, but the Bees ultimately were able to pull away from the Lakers in the third quarter with good defense and nice play from Chris Paul, good 3-pt shooting from Peja, and fantastic bench play, a regular stat nowadays, and won 108-98 to pull within a half game of both the Lakers and the 21-in-a-row Rockets in the Very, very crazy and tight Western Conference. Chris Paul led the scoring with 27 pts. and had 17 assists. David West had an unusually low scoring night scoring only 12 pts. but did play on a questionable ankle the entire game. In fact, he re-aggravated it in this game; his status now is unknown. Chris Paul also went down in the game on an ankle; he, unlike West, finished the game and said afterward when asked about his ankle, “I’m good, we’ll see tomorrow, but right now, I’m just ready to eat.” Attendance was 18,199, the largest sellout of the season (very nearly 100% capacity).

Field Goals Rebounds
pos min fgm-a 3pm-a ftm-a +/- off def tot ast pf st to bs ba pts
C.Paul G 42:47 9-19 2-5 7-12 +12 0 4 4 17 4 4 2 0 0 27
M.Peterson G 13:26 3-6 1-4 0-0 +1 0 1 1 1 4 1 1 0 0 7
D.West F 37:53 4-10 0-0 4-4 +13 2 12 14 2 2 1 4 2 0 12
P.Stojakovic F 35:34 5-16 5-9 0-0 +9 1 3 4 2 0 1 1 0 0 15
T.Chandler C 36:25 7-9 0-0 0-2 0 9 11 20 2 3 0 3 2 0 14
J.Pargo   22:46 3-8 2-5 3-4 +5 0 2 2 2 1 0 1 0 2 11
J.Wright   19:17 4-6 1-1 0-0 -1 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 0 0 9
B.Wells   17:01 3-7 0-0 1-2 +2 3 3 6 1 4 0 1 0 0 7
M.Ely   11:35 3-3 0-0 0-0 +10 2 2 4 1 2 0 0 0 0 6
R.Bowen   03:16 0-0 0-0 0-0 -1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0

(Recap from Yahoo Sports, not NBA.com)

NEW ORLEANS (AP)—The Los Angeles Lakers lost a starting center who accounts for nearly 20 points a game, then lost their edge despite Kobe Bryant’s best efforts.

Chris Paul had 27 points and 17 assists to help the New Orleans Hornets beat the Lakers 108-98 Friday night in what could prove to be a costly game for both teams.

Paul hobbled to the finish after hurting his left ankle on a failed drive to the hoop with 2:31 to go. Lakers center Pau Gasol and David West, however, did not make it to the final horn.

Gasol sprained his left ankle while stepping on Vladimir Radmanovic’s foot in the first quarter and needed help getting to the locker room. He was on crutches after the game, saying he didn’t want to put any weight on it in hopes of keeping the swelling down.

“It swelled up pretty good. We’ll know more tomorrow,” Gasol said. “We’re going to make sure there’s no damage to the ligaments, at least not too bad. I hate sitting out … I want to be back as soon as I can.”

West had 12 points and 14 rebounds for New Orleans, but limped off the floor with just under seven minutes remaining, twisting his right ankle while playing through a left ankle sprain that kept him out for three games last week.

Hornets head coach Byron Scott said he was unsure of West’s condition. However, Scott said Gasol’s departure changed the game.

“It changed big time because of the fact that now we don’t have to think about him on that post or double-team him,” Scott said. “It gave Tyson (Chandler) more of a free rein to guard different guys.”

Bryant had 36 points and nine assists for Los Angeles, which lost for only the third time in 17 games. He walked dejectedly to the locker room with 15 seconds left after fouling out. Lamar Odom had 15 points and 13 rebounds for the Lakers, who won by 29 points when they visited New Orleans on Jan. 9. Los Angeles had not yet acquired Gasol back then, but did have a healthy Andrew Bynum. Without either this time, they shot only 38 percent.

Bryant said Gasol’s departure changed the Lakers’ approach, but 9-for-30 3-point shooting is what really did them in.

“We knock a couple of those shots down and now their defense has some decisions to make,” Bryant said. “We missed a lot of shots. We had some open opportunities. We just didn’t make them, but we have great shooters on this team and I have no doubt that we’ll bounce back.”

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