Kobe Bryant missed 18 of 21 shots but made an important one to help the Lakers beat the severely undermanned New Orleans Hornets, 88-85, Saturday at Staples Center.
Bryant drilled a three-pointer over Jarrett Jack with 20.2 seconds to play to give the Lakers the lead for good, 86-85.
He missed his first 15 shots of the game and did not makes his first basket until a 17-footer with 7:30 left in the fourth quarter. He set two personal records for inaccuracy. He never missed more than 13 consecutive shots in any game and never missed more than 11 shots to start a game until Saturday.
He finished with 11 points for the Lakers (32-20). As he went to the bench for a timeout with 2.5 seconds left and the Lakers up by three, Bryant punped his right fist, stuck out his tongue and exhaled through puffed cheeks.
Pau Gasol blocked Jason Smith’s three-point attempt at the buzzer to preserve the Lakers’ victory.
The Hornets have the worst record in the Western Conference and used only eight players because of injuries and personal reasons. They played without Trevor Ariza, Chris Kaman, Carl Landry, Emeka Okafor, Gustavo Ayon and Eric Gordon.
Jack had 18 points for New Orleans (13-39).
Gasol had 21 points and Andrew Bynum added 19 for the Lakers, who had lost three of their last four games at Staples Center.