Hornets Lose Game 5
The Lakers won the battle of rebounds, second chance points, and turnovers, against the Hornets. As a result, L.A. defeated New Orleans 106-90 in Game 5 Tuesday night at the Staples Center to gain a 3-2 series advantage. Here is more from the AP and espn.com, followed by more blogging from Scott.
Kobe Bryant scored 19 points and threw down two stirring dunks on a sprained left ankle, and the Los Angeles Lakers pushed the New Orleans Hornets to the brink of first-round playoff elimination with a 106-90 victory in Game 5 on Tuesday night, taking a 3-2 series lead. Andrew Bynum had 18 points and 10 rebounds, and Pau Gasol added 16 points as the two-time defending NBA champions roared back from a slow start in a pivotal game for their threepeat hopes with another dramatic playoff performance by Bryant, who injured his ankle in Game 4.
Trevor Ariza scored 22 points, Marco Belinelli added 21, and Chris Paul had 20 points and 12 assists for the seventh-seeded Hornets, who have lost three of four since their stunning Game 1 victory. Ariza hit five 3-pointers, but managed just six points in the second half as the Lakers took control of the game and perhaps the series.
The Hornets led by 9 after the first quarter. The lead never grew, as the Laker bench put together at 10-0 run while Chris Paul was on the bench. Much like Game 3, the game was close until the fourth quarter when the Lakers simply wore down the undersized Hornets.
New Orleans was outrebounded by 17. They only had 2 second chance points while the Lakers had 22. The Hornets turned the ball over 19 times. Considering those numbers, it's amazing they only lost by 16.
"We won the battle of 'hustle points' tonight," explained Laker coach Phil Jackson in postgame. "We didn't win that battle in the last game."
Game 6 is set for New Orleans on Thursday. The Hornets are going to have to win the battle of "hustle points" as they did in Games 1 and 4. It's the only way they can hope to defeat defending champs.