for this game

West, Paul combine to help Hornets squash Lakers

Jan 7, 2009 - 7:14 AM By John Reger PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- The New Orleans Hornets had lost to the Los Angeles Lakers twice already this season, but David West and Chris Paul made sure it didn't happen a third time.

The two combined for 72 points and led the Hornets over the Lakers, 116-105, on Tuesday.

Paul, who dished out 15 assists without a turnover, took control in the first half - scoring 23 of his 32 points in the first half, while West added 15 of his season-high 40 in the final quarter.

"That's what we do, we are sort of like a 1-2 punch," Paul said. "Then, other guys come in and hit some big shots."

The previous two meetings were at home for the Hornets, who lost by an average of 10.0 points in those contests.

It was a lot closer in the third meeting.

The Hornets tied the game at 99-99 midway through the fourth quarter on a 3-pointer by Rasual Butler and then took a 101-99 lead on a pair of free throws by David West, who extended the lead with a jumper that gave New Orleans the lead for good.

West also capped a decisive 15-0 spurt with a jumper with 4:48 left to make it 109-99 - the Hornets' largest advantage of the game.

"I just talked about defending," Hornets coach Byron Scott said about the run. "We tried to change it up. We just tried to made them shoot tough shots that were contested."

"Well, they out-played us in the fourth quarter," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "I thought we burned a lot of energy in the third trying to catch up and stay ahead after getting behind early."

The Lakers began the contest by missing their first five shots and shooting 9-of-22 in the first quarter, allowing New Orleans to build a six-point lead by the end of the period.

The Hornets couldn't beat the Lakers in two home games earlier in the season but built up a five-point halftime lead.

New Orleans kept that advantage for all but one possession in the second quarter.

"We knew we had to come out and, at least, keep it close in the first half," West said. "We were able to do that and more."

The only time the Lakers had the lead in the first half was when Lamar Odom hit a 3-pointer at 6:29 in the second quarter. Odom, though, was lost for the rest of the game and possibly longer when he hyper-extended his right knee at 3:03 of the same quarter.

Odom, who will have and MRI on the knee Wednesday morning, injured it when he landed awkwardly with a rebound under the Hornets' basket.

The Lakers began with an 11-4 run in the third quarter thanks to an outburst from Bryant, who scored 20 of his 39 points in the third quarter.

They then tied the game at 80-80 on a running hook by Pau Gasol and took an 85-83 lead when Derek Fisher made the team's sixth 3-pointer of the quarter. Bryant made four of them and was 6-of-6 from the arc in the first three quarters.

"We had good looks," Bryant said. "We just didn't take advantage of them in the fourth."