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 West, Paul lead Hornets past Lakers 116-105

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PostSubject: West, Paul lead Hornets past Lakers 116-105   Wed Jan 07, 2009 4:03 pm

LOS ANGELES(AP) Somebody had to play defense in Tuesday night's Hornets-Lakers game.The Hornets finally did in the fourth quarter, and it proved decisive.David
West scored 15 of his 40 points in the final period to outscore Los
Angeles by himself, and New Orleans beat Los Angeles 116-105 to snap
the Lakers' 15-game home winning streak.The Lakers led 92-89
entering the fourth quarter before shooting just 5-of-21, including
3-of-11 from 3-point range while being outscored 27-13."We had
to pick it up defensively,'' Hornets coach Byron Scott said. "Kobe
(Bryant) was hitting everything he was throwing up and they made a
bunch of 3s. Defense was our focus. We tried to switch it up and we
tried to play Kobe straight up most of the game, but he just got it
going so toward the end and we figured that we had to get it out of his
hands as much as possible.''Bryant led the Lakers with 39 points
and seven assists, but scored only two in the fourth quarter, shooting
1-of-6 after going 13-of-16, including 6-of-6 from 3-point range in the
first three quarters."After the third quarter, they pretty much weren't going to let me get a shot off,'' Bryant said. "Shots didn't go for us.''West
shot 14-of-23 from the floor and 12-of-13 from the foul line in
matching his career high. He also grabbed 11 rebounds as the Hornets
(21-10) won for the 16th time in 21 games and avenged two losses to the
Lakers in New Orleans earlier this season."We felt pretty
confident that if we were somehow able to slow (Bryant) down, we would
have a good chance to win,'' West said. "We needed this one tonight.
The first two times we played these guys, they jumped on us.''The
Lakers beat the Hornets twice earlier this season - both times in New
Orleans. The teams play for the fourth and final team this season Feb.
20 at Staples Center."Now we have a chance to split,'' West said.West
scored nine points during a 15-0 run that gave the Hornets a 109-99
lead with 5:24 remaining. Derek Fisher's 3-pointer with 4:37 left ended
a Lakers scoring drought of nearly four minutes, but the Hornets
increased their pressure on Bryant and weren't threatened after that."He
was rolling,'' Hornets star Chris Paul said of West. "When he's going
like that, we are going to feed him the rest of the game. He was
hitting all types of shots - floaters in the lane, step-backs, and
that's why he's an All-Star.''So is Paul, and he showed why with
32 points, 15 assists, three steals and no turnovers in 44 minutes.
Tyson Chandler added 12 points and eight rebounds, and Rasual Butler
had 10 points and six rebounds for the Hornets, who shot only 5-of-14
from 3-point range to the Lakers' 16-of-34, but won anyway."I
just didn't think we executed well enough,'' Lakers coach Phil Jackson
said. "I thought we burned a lot of energy in the third, trying to
catch up and stay ahead after getting behind early in the third
quarter.''Fisher added 19 points and six assists for the Lakers,
who had their six-game winning streak snapped. They're 18-2 at home
this season and their 27-6 overall record is tied with Cleveland for
the best in the NBA."We were out of flow pretty much all night
defensively,'' Bryant said. "Offensively, I thought we did OK and got
shots that we wanted, but defensively we weren't able to corral them
like we normally have the last few times we've played them. Everybody
wants to talk about offense; defense is where you win or lose games.''The 116 points were the most scored by New Orleans this season and the second-highest total given up by the Lakers.Already
without third guard Jordan Farmar (left knee) and starting forward Luke
Walton (right foot), the Lakers lost sixth man Lamar Odom late in the
second quarter with a hyperextended right knee. Odom, who had 12 points
and three rebounds in 13 minutes, is scheduled to have an MRI on
Wednesday, and he'll miss Wednesday night's game at Golden State.West
scored six points during a 10-4 run early in the third quarter that
extended New Orleans' lead to 75-67. But Bryant made three 3-pointers
in a span of 93 seconds and Fisher added another as the Lakers
outscored the Hornets 25-10 for a 92-85 lead.Bryant shot 8-of-9
including 4-of-4 from 3-point range for 20 points, and Pau Gasol made
all three of his shots and all four of his free throws for 10 points in
the third period. Those 10 points were all Gasol would score. He also
had eight rebounds and five assists.Notes: F Melvin Ely,
hampered by sore right ankle, returned to action after missing four
games and was the first player off the New Orleans bench. He went
scoreless in six minutes. ... Vladimir Radmanovic, who started the
first 20 games of the season, returned to the Lakers' lineup due to the
absence of Walton, who missed his second game and is expected to be
sidelined at least two weeks. Radmanovic had three points in 24
minutes. ... Chandler returned to action after serving a one-game
suspension for an altercation with Portland's Joel Przybilla last
Friday night. With Chandler out, the Hornets lost 105-100 at Denver on
Saturday night to snap their four-game losing streak. ... The Lakers
hadn't allowed an opposing player to score more than 23 points in their
previous seven games. West and Paul surpassed that total with plenty to
spare in this game.

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