Paul, Hornets top Lakers, snap five-game skidDec 7, 2006 - 6:18 AM LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- While Kobe Bryant played on one leg, Chris Paul finally got the New Orleans Hornets back on their feet.
Paul had 26 points and 11 assists and Rasual Butler scored 20 points as the Hornets snapped a five-game losing streak with a 105-89 victory over Bryant and the sluggish Los Angeles Lakers.
Tyson Chandler collected 10 points and 12 rebounds for the Hornets, who shot 48 percent (44-of-92) from the field and grabbed 20 offensive rebounds.
"Energy. I mean we just played a lot harder than we played in the previous three or four games," Hornets coach Byron Scott said. "The last game we lost to Chicago (Friday) I thought we played hard and really competed. And (Wednesday) was the same thing."
"Penetration, it's a killer. The offensive rebounding was a critical factor in the game," Lakers coach Phil Jackson. "It was because of the penetration the team had created so much help that we were out of position to rebound."
Bryant left Monday's win over Indiana in the third quarter after rolling his right ankle on the foot of Pacers forward Jeff Foster while attempting an acrobatic layup. On Wednesday, the superstar guard scored 24 points on 10-of-17 shooting.
"My ankle feels all right. It's sore," Bryant said. "I'll go home and get treatment and sleep with one eye open. I couldn't run like I usually do or explode and get to the basket. Things like that. There are holes in the defense that I make sure that I capitalize on the next time we play them."
However, the Hornets were one step ahead all night. Paul, who came in leading the team in scoring (18.3) and assists (9.2), got into the paint at will, making 11-of-22 shots and setting up his teammates for easy buckets.
"I guess I just try to have fun," Paul said. "I think my teammates and my coaches really have the ultimate confidence in me and I just appreciate them for letting me play."
"You won't be seeing that (Paul) too often," Bryant said. "There aren't too many dudes like Chris Paul that get in the paint like that. We won't be seeing that too many times this year."
Butler benefited from his point guard's unselfish play, getting many uncontested shots. He was 9-of-17 from the field and 2-of-6 from the arc but commended his team's effort.
"We just came out with the same energy. We tried to bump it up a little bit because we still didn't win the last game (vs. Chicago)," Butler said. "But he did a great job increasing our confidence and letting us know that we played hard."
Lamar Odom scored 20 points and Luke Walton added 11 for Los Angeles, which shot 49 percent (36-of-73) but was outrebounded, 49-31.
NEW ORLEANS 105
LA LAKERS 89 FINAL
Dec 7 12:51 AM
NEW ORLEANS 75
LA LAKERS 71 END, 3RD QTR
Dec 7 12:19 AM
NEW ORLEANS 54
LA LAKERS 52 HALFTIME
Dec 6 11:34 PM
NEW ORLEANS 30
LA LAKERS 34 END, 1ST QTR
Dec 6 11:05 PM
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