Lakers 104 - Hornets 96 (end of regulation)
Kobe Bryant scored 23 points in the fourth quarter to push the Lakers past the feisty New Orleans Hornets, 104-96.
Bryant nearly matched the Hornets’ scoring for the period, falling three short of New Orleans’ 26 points. The Lakers All-Star guard had just seven points after three quarters but finished the game with 30.
The Lakers shot 50.6% from the field and Pau Gasol stepped up with a big game — 22 points and 11 rebounds. Dwight Howard was limited with foul trouble but finished with 19 points on nine-of-13 shooting and six rebounds.
Antawn Jamison contributed 13 off the bench. Metta World Peace, who returned just 12 days after knee surgery, scored four points in 15 minutes but had a game-high +/- of 12 points.
The Hornets were led by Eric Gordon who scored 22 points on 6-of-13 shooting and 10-of-11 from the free-throw line. Greivis Vasquez had a double-double with 11 points and 11 assists.
Rookie Anthony Davis also had a double-double with 18 points and 14 rebounds along with four assists.
The Lakers (41-37) move into eighth place after the Utah Jazz lost at home against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Unless the Jazz lose another game, the Lakers need to win the four games left on their schedule starting with the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday night. In 15 tries, the Lakers have yet to win on consecutive nights.
The Hornets fall to 27-51.
Lakers 70 - Hornets 70 (end of third quarter)
In a must-win game, the Lakers caught up to tie the Hornets after three quarters at 70-70.
Pau Gasol went to work in the post and has scored 20 points on 9-of-14 shooting through three quarters. Dwight Howard had 15 points on 7-of-11 shooting but has committed four fouls.
The Lakers have shot 48.3% from the field so far, and turned the ball over just two times in the third.
Eric Gordon led the way for the Hornets with 16, but scored just one in the third. New Orleans shot 43.1% from the floor but hit 11-of-12 from the free-throw line.
Kobe Bryant has scored just seven points with five assists and four turnovers in 29 minutes.
Hornets 50 - Lakers 45 (halftime)
The Lakers extended their lead to 10 early in the quarter, seemingly taking control of the game. The Hornets responded with 14 straight to take the lead.
Eric Gordon ended the half with a three-point play to put New Orleans up 50-45.
Gordon led all scorers with 15 points as his team shot 45.5% from the field.
The Lakers shot 41.9% and committed nine turnovers. They were led by 12 points from Pau Gasol and 11 from Dwight Howard.
Kobe Bryant scored just four points. He also had three assists and three turnovers.
Lakers 27 - Hornets 22 (end of first quarter)
The Lakers finished the first quarter against the New Orleans Hornets with a their biggest lead, 27-22.
Led by nine points from Dwight Howard (4-of-4 shooting), the Lakers shot 45% from the field. Earl Clark got the start at small forward in place of Jodie Meeks. Kobe Bryant started at shooting guard instead of the three.
Metta World Peace made his return from knee surgery, hitting his first three-point attempt.
The Hornets were led by Anthony Davis with six points while shooting 38.1% from the field as a team.
The Lakers (40-37) host the New Orleans Hornets (27-50) on Tuesday at Staples Center in one of five remaining “must-win” games.
Metta World Peace is expected to return just 12 days after knee surgery for a torn meniscus. Steve Nash is still out with an injured hamstring.
If the Oklahoma City Thunder wins in Utah on Tuesday, the Lakers can climb back into eighth place in the Western Conference with a win.
For a more in-depth breakdown, check out Preview: Lakers vs. Hornets.