Extra! Extra! (3.27)
It's all about creating space between the Lakers and anyone looking to snatch their playoff spot, which is why last night's 105-94 win over the Hornets can't be taken lightly. A four game winning streak coincided with creating a four game cushion between themselves and NO/OKC. Actually, cushion might be the wrong word, since the Purple and Gold can't afford to get soft during these final ten games. "Soft" also wouldn't describe the play of Kwame Brown, whose recent offensive prowess continued despite suffering an early bloody bloody nose. Smush Parker's thumb and Kobe Bryant's back joined Kwame's shnoz on the in-game casualty list. Throw in the ankle Andrew Bynum sprained before the game, and it's been a fairly painful 24 hours. Luckily, no ouchie appears terribly serious, but enduring all that discomfort for a loss would have sucked. Perhaps even the Hornets felt L.A.'s pain, because their second half numbers were bad enough to suggest they were trying to hook the Lakers up. Or they just can't play a second half to save their lives. But NO/OKC did show a little pride, even if you wouldn't know it from the box score. With five seconds left and the game in hand, Sasha Vujacic inexplicably went for a lay up as opposed to just running down the clock. His own teammates didn't seem to mind Speedy Claxton's reaction.
(photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty)