Lakers vs New Orleans: Lakers stop three-game losing streak, beat Hornets
Lakers 103, Hornets 88 (final)
Finally, they could smile, laugh and enjoy themselves.
Finally, they could breathe a sigh of relief.
Finally, the Lakers won, breaking a three-game losing streak that left some of them wondering where this team was headed.
With Andrew Bynum starting at center and Lamar Odom coming off the bench, the Lakers opened a lead as big as 24 points before easing to the finish line.
Bynum played almost 30 minutes, the most he has played in the eight games he has played in since returning from right knee surgery.
He had 18 points on eight-for-12 shooting, six rebounds and one blocked shot.
Odom had a strong game, leading the Lakers with 24 points on 10-for-15 shooting.
Kobe Bryant had 20 points on eight-for-14 shooting.
Chris Paul led the Hornets 20 points and seven assists.
Lakers 83, Hornets 60 (end of third quarter)
The Lakers began to pound the Hornets in the third, opening a 24-point lead.
But then Kobe Bryant picked up his fourth foul midway through the third and the Lakers seemed to lose some of their intensity.
They soon picked it right back up, opening a 23-point lead entering the fourth.
The Lakers ended the third with Lamar Odom making a three-pointer.
Lakers 59, Hornets 41 (end of first half)
They shared the basketball, which made it easier for the Lakers to make shots.
By the end of the first half, the Lakers had 15 assists on 23 baskets.
The Lakers shot 69.7% from the field in the first half, opening a 20-point lead at one point in the second quarter.
Lamar Odom, coming of the bench, had 11 points on four-for-five shooting.
Kobe Bryant had 11 points on four-for-eight shooting.
Derek Fisher led the Lakers with five assists.
The Hornets were hurt even more when power forward David West went down with an ankle injury, forcing him to the locker room with 4:18 left in the second.
Lakers 26, Hornets 23 (end of first quarter)
The Lakers were on fire in the first quarter, shooting 75% from the field, making 12 of 16 shots.
Still, the Lakers led by just three points at the end of the quarter because they turned the ball over seven times.
Andrew Bynum, making his first start of the season, had six points on three-for-four shooting.
Kobe Bryant (three for five) and Pau Gasol (two for two) also had six points in the first.
Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said there could be changes with the starting lineup.
Well, there was.
Center Andrew Bynum returned as a starter and Lamar Odom went back to the bench when the Lakers faced the New Orleans Hornets on Wednesday night.
This is Bynum's eight game back after he missed the first 24 regular-season games recovering from right knee surgery.
The Lakers have lost three in a row and are looking for a spark.
They must hope Bynum can provide it with his play down low.
Bynum made all four of his shots against the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday night, but he was just two for eight from the free-throw line.
-- Broderick Turner, reporting from New Orleans