Hornets Fall To Lakers
The Hornets have been terrific at home and the Lakers went into Wednesday on a three game losing streak. Neither trend held up as LA defeated New Orleans 103-88. The Hornets lost their second straight game by 15 points.
Chris Paul had 20 points and Marco Belinelli scored 15 for the Hornets, who lost their second straight by double digits after falling 113-98 at Minnesota two nights earlier.
"One day we're playing well and everybody is getting it going and the next day we could be somebody's little brother," Hornets forward Trevor Ariza said. "If we want to win and do something in this league, we can't be like that. ... We played really soft today. That's the bottom line."
It didn't help that David West twisted his left ankle late in the first half. He tried to play through it, but finished with only eight points in 28 minutes.
Los Angeles led by 20 late in the second quarter and kept the lead above 20 for significant stretches of the second half. The Lakers shot 58.6 percent (41 of 70) for the game. Los Angeles also finished with a whopping 44-24 advantage in rebounds, and the Hornets' seven rebounds in the first half tied a Lakers all-time opponent-low for a half.
"We were overwhelmed," Hornets coach Monty Williams said. "They are a great team and hit a lot of tough shots."
Energized by a boisterous sellout crowd, the Hornets started respectably. Paul had 11 of his points in the first quarter to keep the game close early. Gasol's 13-foot jumper gave the Lakers a 26-23 lead at the end of the period.
New Orleans started to unravel early in the second quarter with primarily reserves on the court.
Perhaps the biggest difference between the Hornets success at home and struggles on the road is bench play, and defense. Wednesday night at the Hive, the Hornets played like they were at the Staples Center.