For the seventh straight game the Lakers posted a double digit victory, this time squashing the Hornets, 110 – 99. Andrew Bynum was too much for the undersized New Orleans big men, dropping in 21 points on 9-10 shooting, along with 9 rebounds. Four out of the five Lakers starters scored in double figures (Bryant 18, Artest 16, Gasol 14) except for Derek Fisher who chipped in with 7 assists and 5 steals on the night instead. Overall, it was a well balanced attack by the Lake Show as the bench members were able to contribute allowing the starters to put the ice on early, keeping it on for the duration of the game!
The first quarter of tonight’s game was not nearly as dominant as the previous six in which the Lakers had jumped on their opponents early. Tonight the Hornets came out with equal aggression and energy from the tip, matching the Lakers step for step until the final seconds of the first quarter where the Lakers took a four point lead. The final minute of the first was capped off by an electrifying move as Lamar Odom went coast to coast and posterized Hilton Armstrong on the other end (Video Below). As the second quarter started however it was apparent that the Lakers were ready to take care of business and put away the Hornets, throttling them as they scored 31 points to only 15 for the New Orleans. Once halftime hit and the Lakers had pushed their lead to 20 points, the game seemed to be all but over and the refrigerator door was closing.
The second half was on cruise control for the most part, as the Lakers starters worked through a fairly evenly matched third quarter, holding their 20 point leading heading into the 4th. The Hornets simply could not match the Lakers as their energy was all but gone coming out of the locker room. It is one thing to play the Lakers even for a quarter or two, but playing from behind (especially double digits) is too tall a task for most teams in the NBA to handle. The reserves finished out the game, and nearly gave back the entire lead as the final minutes were ticking off the clock. A pair of Darren Collison free throws cut the lead to only 10 points, however the bench managed to sink one final bucket and force a turn over which sealed the win. In the final minute of the game it was clear that the Hornets were looking to get out of town with some pride in tact. One way to manage that…deprive the Staples Center faithful of their FREE TACOS. The Hornets begun to call time outs, and even foul when the game was clearly out of reach. In the end Jordan Farmar blocked his former UCLA teammate Collison, sealed the win and the Tacos were safe, even if only by one point.
The Lakers play next against the Miami Heat on Friday @ Staples Center. Look out for the next installment in the Road to the Repeat game preview series that morning! Don’t forget to follow @LakersNation on Twitter for our live twittercast of each and every Lakers game.