Hornets sting Lakers in Game 1Apr 17, 2011 - 11:56 PM Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) - Chris Paul finished with 33 points, 14 assists and seven rebounds, leading the Hornets in a stunning 109-100 defeat of the Lakers in Game 1 of their Western Conference quarterfinal series.
Carl Landry added 17 points for the Hornets, who earned the seventh seed in the West. They are back in the playoffs under first-year coach Monty Williams after going 37-45 last season.
New Orleans opened this matchup with a win thanks to Paul, who scored 17 of his points in the fourth quarter, and an NBA playoff-low three turnovers.
"I'm glad our guys came to play," Williams said. "We had to be strong and courageous. We got our biggest win of the year."
Kobe Bryant had 34 points for the two-time defending champion Lakers, who won all four games against New Orleans during the regular season, and will try to even the best-of-seven matchup Wednesday.
But they fell short Sunday for many reasons, including a sub-par performance by Pau Gasol. He shot 2-for-9 and finished with eight points and six rebounds.
"I just couldn't get into a good rhythm," Gasol said.
Gasol did lead the Lakers in assists, with six, though they had only 17 overall. During the regular season, Los Angeles went 1-9 when it had 17 or fewer assists.
Gasol's performance was also part of a larger failure by the Lakers to get inside for points. They held a 41-33 rebounding advantage, grabbing nine offensive boards, but scored only 34 points in the paint.
Conversely, the Hornets scored 52 points in the paint and shot 52 percent overall. Moreover, their offense delivered when it mattered most -- in the fourth quarter of a close game.
New Orleans led by as many as 12 on the way to a 55-47 halftime advantage. But while the Hornets didn't trail after the first quarter, they didn't pull away completely as the Lakers stayed close.
Los Angeles pulled even on two Bryant free throws with three minutes left in the third quarter, and was within 73-72 heading into the fourth.
But New Orleans started pouring in points. Willie Green hit a floating jumper with 8:44 left to cap a five-point burst and give the Hornets an 84-76 lead. Paul then hit consecutive jumpers with under five minutes left for a 94-87 advantage.
Los Angeles was able to stay within striking distance for most of the quarter, and two free throws from Ron Artest made it a 96-92 game with three minutes to play.
However, the next Hornets run broke the Lakers' back. Jarrett Jack, who finished with 15 points off the bench, banked in a jumper to start the burst. Paul scored the next four and Landry closed it with two foul shots with 1:07 on the clock, making it a 104-92 game.
Bryant missed three shots and turned the ball over once during the stretch, which essentially decided the outcome -- or at least formalized an outcome that was decided over the previous few quarters.
After the game, Gasol, Bryant and Lakers head coach Phil Jackson all cited similar reasons for the loss. The Lakers failed defensively while the Hornets were more aggressive from the start and played according to their own tempo.
However all the factors combined, they added up to the same thing for Los Angeles -- a 1-0 series deficit.
"I'm disappointed, surprised, and we were the ones responsible for that to happen," Gasol said.
Hornets reserve center Aaron Gray scored 12 points, but left the game late in the fourth quarter after suffering an apparent ankle injury...Artest ended with 16 points and 11 boards for LA. Starting center Andrew Bynum, who suffered a bone bruise in his right knee last week, ended with 13 points, while Lamar Odom added 10 points off the bench...Before Sunday, Jackson had a 15-0 record when his team played at home in Game 1 of a playoff series...The Lakers are 12-22 all-time after losing the first game of a seven-game series.
- NEW ORLEANS: 109
LOS ANGELES: 100
Apr 17 6:08 PM
- NEW ORLEANS: 73
LOS ANGELES: 72
End of 3rd
Apr 17 5:24 PM
- NEW ORLEANS: 55
LOS ANGELES: 47
Apr 17 4:36 PM
- NEW ORLEANS: 26
LOS ANGELES: 24
End of 1st
Apr 17 3:57 PM
- NEW ORLEANS: 0
LOS ANGELES: 0
1st Quarter - 12:00
Apr 17 3:32 PM
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