Thursday, November 13, 2008
Sports NewsMayfield's Mutterings: A 'Wicked' weekend

Fisher, Bryant lead Lakers past Hornets

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[November 13, 2008]  NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher each scored 20 points, and the Los Angeles Lakers improved to 7-0 with a 93-86 victory over the New Orleans Hornets on Wednesday night.

The Lakers never trailed and led by as much as 23 before nervously holding on against a team that is expected to be one of their chief rivals for Western Conference supremacy.

DonutsBryant drained a clutch 3-pointer while tightly guarded by James Posey with 1:08 left to make it 86-80, and the Lakers held on from there.

Chris Paul had 30 points and 13 assists for New Orleans (4-3).

Andrew Bynum's 8-foot turnaround jumper gave the Lakers a 79-63 lead with just under six minutes to go. But the Hornets used a frantic 17-4 run, during which Paul scored 11 points and assisted on three other baskets, to pull to 83-80 on Paul's floater off the glass with 1:33 left.

The fans were on their feet, urging on the defense, which appeared to be on the verge of getting another stop when Bryant's difficult 3 as the shot clock wound down hit the back rim and dropped straight through.

Soon after, Fisher made a key steal from David West and the Lakers never allowed the Hornets to get within one possession again.

Bynum and Pau Gasol each scored 14 for Los Angeles, and Trevor Ariza added 10 points. Bynum also had four blocked shots, setting the tone with a block on Hornets center Tyson Chandler on the game's opening possession.


West had 21 points and 12 rebounds. Peja Stojakovic had 10 points but was only 3-of-13 shooting. Chandler had 10 rebounds.

The Lakers dominated most of the game, taking a 28-17 lead on Jordan Farmar's jumper as the first quarter ended. The basket ignited a 12-2 run that gave Los Angeles a 38-19 lead on Sasha Vujacic's jump shot.

Poor shooting prevented the Hornets from making a sustained run in the first half. Paul kept feeding Stojakovic for open perimeter attempts, but Stojakovic couldn't get any to fall, missing his first eight shots.

Fisher's jump shot from just inside the 3-point line capped a 6-0 Lakers run to close out the second quarter and give Los Angeles a 51-30 lead at halftime.

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The Hornets showed signs of making a game of it early in the third quarter, but only briefly. Stojakovic finally found his shooting touch, hitting a pair of 3s during an 11-2 run that also included a pair of alley-oop dunks by Chandler, both set up by Paul.

Fisher's running jumper stemmed New Orleans's surge, then Bynum scored inside before Fisher hit a 3 and the Lakers began to pull away again, leading 69-46 after Bynum scored inside.

Notes: The best start to a season in Lakers franchise history is 11-0 in 1997-98. ... Bryant moved within three points of Larry Bird on the NBA's career scoring list. Bird scored 21,791 points with Boston. ... Paul extended to seven games his record streak 20-point, 10-assist games to start a season. ... Fisher came in averaging 9.5 points. ... Paul has had a steal in 90 straight games, the longest active streak in the NBA. ... The Lakers are 2-0 in the second of back-to-back games.

[Associated Press; By BRETT MARTEL]

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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