Lakers lose to New Orleans, 108-100
New Orleans Hornets 108, Lakers 100 (final)
This was not a good loss for the Lakers -- not when they are trying to get some momentum heading into the Western Conference playoffs and certainly not when they are playing a New Orleans Hornets team that is headed home for the summer.
The Lakers now are 2-2 on a five-game trip that ends Wednesday night in Atlanta. With eight games left in the regular season, the Lakers need to get their act together.
Down 17 points in the fourth, the Lakers never got closer than five points. They didn't look inspired until they got into a big hole Monday night.
The Lakers trailed, 85-68, after a three-point play by Emeka Okafor early in the fourth quarter.
It wasn't long after that Lakers Coach Phil Jackson took Kobe Bryant out of the game for his first rest of the second half with 9:02 left and the Lakers trailing by 15 points.
By the time Bryant returned with 5:44 left, the Lakers had cut their deficit to six points after Bryant rebounded a missed Jordan Farmar free throw and scored down low.
The Lakers were now back in the game, but they couldn't come all the way back.
Pau Gasol had 26 points and 22 rebounds, tying his career high. Bryant had 31 points.
Chris Paul had 15 points and 13 assists for the Hornets and David West had 20 points.
-- Broderick Turner, reporting from New Orleans
Photo: Lakers center Pau Gasol looks for a shot opportunity in the lane against Hornets center Emeka Okafor in the first half Monday night. Credit: Sean Gardner / Associated Press