Lakers battle for playoff spot continues against Hornets

The Jekyll and Hyde season for the Los Angeles Lakers will continue Tuesday when they welcome the New Orleans Hornets to Staples Center.

The Lakers are still fighting for a playoff spot and sit one-half game behind the Utah Jazz for the final postseason berth in the West.

Los Angeles had won three in a row and four of five games, but suffered a 109-95 loss to the rival Clippers on Sunday. The Lakers had won the Pacific Division the last five years, but it was the Clippers' turn this season.

Kobe Bryant finished with 25 points, 10 assists and seven boards for the Lakers, who will play four of their last five games at home and also received 25 points from Dwight Howard. Pau Gasol added 12 points and 13 rebounds.

"Give them credit, they hit big shots, they played well. They're very athletic, they're long and they're good. They were quicker to the ball than we were," Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni said of the Clippers.

The Lakers are 25-12 at home and have won two straight as the host. Steve Nash has missed three straight games and is doubtful versus the Hornets because of a series of ailments (hip, ankle, back). Metta World Peace (left knee surgery) is listed as probable and hasn't played since March 25 at Golden State. The Lakers are 4-2 since World Peace went down with a knee ailment.

New Orleans will resume a five-game road trip Tuesday and improved to 11-27 as the guest with Sunday's 95-92 triumph at Phoenix.

Hornets rookie Anthony Davis had 20 points and both Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson scored 17 points for New Orleans, which halted an eight-game road losing streak to win for just the second time in the past six tries.

"I think we did what we needed to do to get a win. I didn't like our fourth quarter defense but you can expect a run from any team in the NBA," Hornets coach Monty Williams said.

The Hornets will close out the road trip (1-2) Wednesday at Sacramento and will try to avoid another series sweep at the hands of the Lakers, who have won the first three matchups this season, 10 in a row overall and 17 of the last 20 contests against New Orleans.

New Orleans has dropped seven in a row and 13 of 16 games at the Lakers.