Lakers aim to regroup in road matchup with Hornets
After finally getting back to .500 for the season, the Los Angeles Lakers fell hard to the Oklahoma City Thunder in OKC on Tuesday night.
The Lakers can even their record if they have a short memory. L.A. heads to the Big Easy Wednesday night to meet the New Orleans Hornets at New Orleans Arena.
Kobe Bryant hurt his elbow in the 122-105 loss to the Thunder. He got hit in the elbow in the first quarter, left for some treatment and returned to score 30 points.
"This one lingered with me all night," admitted Bryant.
Officially, the Lakers called it a bruised funny bone. Bryant is expected to be available for Los Angeles in their quest to get back to .500. They now trail the Utah Jazz by 2 1/2 games for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Against the Thunder, Steve Nash scored 20, Metta World Peace netted 16 and Earl Clark had a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Dwight Howard only managed six points, but pulled down 16 boards before fouling out.
The Lakers only forced two Oklahoma City Thunder turnovers compared to their 16. OKC scored 22 points off Lakers' miscues and credit L.A., at least it had two points off the two Thunder turnovers.
The Hornets have lost three of their last four and six of their last eight. New Orleans will complete a three-game homestand with the Lakers on Wednesday and the stay at home has been a mixed bag.
The Hornets started with a 100-95 victory on Friday over the Detroit Pistons, but came back on Monday and lost to the Orlando Magic at home. The Magic were 7-21 on the road at that point.
New Orleans allowed 36 points in the first half, then surrendered 34 points in the third and 35 in the final frame to fall 105-102.
"It was terrible. There's no other way to slice it," Hornets coach Monty Williams said about his team's defensive effort in the second half. "We gave up 69 points in a half, against a team that played last night and had a two- hour flight. That, to me, is not something that we should be proud of at all. Even if we had won that game, I would still be upset about our defensive effort."
Anthony Davis, Eric Gordon and Greivis Vasquez all had 17 points and Davis pulled down 15 rebounds and blocked four shots. Ryan Anderson was the only other Hornets player in double figures.
The Lakers have won nine in a row against the Hornets, including both encounters this season. L.A. has taken five straight in New Orleans.