|Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant (24) tries to shoot over New Orleans Hornets center Chris Kaman (35) in the first half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Wednesday, March 14, 2012. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)|
Bryant leads Lakers past Hornets in OT, 107-101
For the second night in a row, the Lakers climbed out of a double-digit hole in the second half to force an extra period. On Tuesday night, they came back from 17 down to win at Memphis in double-overtime. The Hornets also led by as many as 17 late in the second quarter and 15 in the second half.
The Lakers needed only one extra session in New Orleans, taking the lead on Derek Fisher's jumper in the final minute and going ahead 102-99 on Metta World Peace's steal and fast-break layup.
Andrew Bynum added 25 points and 18 rebounds for Los Angeles, while Pau Gasol had 18 points and 10 rebounds.
Jarrett Jack scored 30 points, while Chris Kaman had 21 points and 12 rebounds for New Orleans, which has dropped six of seven games.
Bryant scored seven of his points in overtime, starting with a fast-break dunk as he was fouled by Marco Belinelli, whose desperate jersey grab was unable to slow the Lakers star down. The basket marked Los Angeles' first lead since 17-16 in the first quarter.
Bryant later added a difficult driving floater as he drifted across the lane to put the Lakers ahead 98-95. The Hornets briefly came back to regain a 99-98 lead on Trevor Ariza's jumper with 1:21 left before Los Angeles went back in front for good.
Fisher finished with 11 points and Matt Barnes 10 for the Lakers, who outrebounded New Orleans 44-34.
Greivis Vasquez added 15 points and Belinelli 10 for New Orleans, which lost despite outshooting Los Angeles 51.8 percent (44 of 85) to 45.1 percent (37 of 82).
The Lakers' comeback began with World Peace's first basket of the game early in the third quarter. Bryant added six points on what became a 14-4 run capped by Gasol's jam.
The Hornets weren't ready to fold just yet, though. Vasquez's free throws and transition 3 opened a 7-0 spurt early in the fourth quarter, and the Hornets clung to the lead until Gustavo Ayon fouled Bryant behind the 3-point line with 19.3 seconds left. Officials ruled Bryant was in a shooting motion, giving him three free throws. Bryant made them all to tie it at 93, and neither team could score again in regulation, with Bryant's attempted game-winner from the corner rimming out as time expired.
The Hornets shot nearly 61.5 percent in the first half (24 of 39) -- the highest first-half percentage allowed by the Lakers all season -- and held a double-digit lead through most of second quarter. Jack hit his first eight shots and had 17 points before halftime. Vasquez, hit his first four shots, as the starting and backup point guards combined to open 12 of 12.
Kaman also had 13 of his points in the first 24 minutes.
Bryant had 14 points in the first half, including a soaring double-pump jam as he was fouled. But Bryant missed seven of his first 11 shots and also had a swished 3-pointer at the end of the first quarter disallowed because his up-fake delayed his release until after horn.
Consecutive baskets by Jack put New Orleans up by as much as 17, at 54-37, late in the second period. The Lakers scored the last three points of the quarter on Bryant's technical free throw and two more foul shots by Gasol, who had 12 points in the half.
Notes: This marked the first meeting of the teams this season. They meet again March 31 in Los Angeles and April 9 in New Orleans. ... Several celebrities who are filming in New Orleans showed up to see the visit by Hollywood's longtime favorite team. Actor Don Johnson sat along the sideline next to New Orleans celebrity chef John Besh. Samuel Jackson sat along the baseline near the Lakers' bench. ... Announced attendance was 17,272, the second-largest home crowd of the season. ... Jack's scoring total marked the first time a Hornets player has scored 30 in a game this season.