Lakers vs New Orleans: Pau Gasol lifts Lakers past Hornets
Lakers 101, Hornets 95 (final)
Pau Gasol scored a season-high 34 points and finished with 10 rebounds to help the Lakers win the first of seven games on this trip.
Kobe Bryant had 32 points and nine rebounds in a game the Lakers had to dig down on defense in order to win.
Chris Paul led the Hornets with 21 points and 15 assists.
Gasol made 13 of 17 shots in dominating the New Orleans big men in the lane and from the perimeter.
He converted eight of nine free throws, had three assists and contributed one blocked shot and one steal while turning the ball over only once. The Lakers had a season-low four turnovers in the game.
Bryant made 10 of 21 shots and all eight of his free throws.
Hornets power forward David West, who made seven of 10 shots in the first half, finished with 16 points after shooting one of five in the second half.
Hornets 82, Lakers 81 (end of third quarter)
The Lakers couldn't stop Chris Paul in the third quarter, and that's why they trailed entering the final quarter.
Paul had 13 points and six assists in the third.
Paul had 19 points and 14 assists through three quarters.
Lakers 56, Hornets 50 (end of first half)
By halftime, Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant were the main guys for the Lakers.
Gasol had 19 points on eight-for-11 shooting and Bryant had 18 points on six-for-nine shooting. Andrew Bynum chipped in six points and five rebounds for L.A.
The Lakers shot 56.4% from the field in the first half.
But the Lakers' lead was sliced to just six points at the half after Marcus Thornton made a three-pointer at the buzzer.
David West made seven of 10 shots to lead New Orleans with 14 points. He also leads all rebounders with nine. Chris Paul has been held to six points on two-of-four shooting although he has eight assists.
Lakers 27, Hornets 19 (end of first quarter)
With Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol leading the way, the Lakers opened an eight-point lead after the first quarter.
Bryant had eight points, four rebounds and three assists.
Gasol had 10 points and three assists.
The Lakers shot 52.2% from the field.
The Lakers have left behind Thursday night's loss to the San Antonio Spurs at Staples Center and are concentrating on playing the New Orleans Hornets on Saturday night.
The plan is to slow down Hornets All-Star guard Chris Paul, who is averaging 16.6 points, 9.6 assists and 2.6 steals a game.
They also want to get the ball inside to seven-footers Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol against the undersized Hornets.
--Broderick Turner, reporting from New Orleans
Photo: Lakers power forward Pau Gasol drives to the basket against Hornets power forward David West in the first half Saturday. Credit: Derick E. Hingle / US Presswire