(Sports Network) - The Los Angeles Lakers may not have Kobe Bryant in the
lineup when they continue a three-game road trip tonight against the New
Bryant is bothered by an injured left shin and has played through the pain,
but the five-time champion opted to sit out Saturday's 125-105 loss at
Phoenix. Bryant, who leads the Lakers with 28.1 points per game, is listed as
day-to-day and is three steals (1,721) shy of Magic Johnson's franchise
record of 1,724.
The Lakers have dropped two in a row since winning four straight and kicked
off the trek with a tough loss to the Suns. The 125 points allowed were a
season high and Pau Gasol led Los Angeles with a season-best 30 points on 14
of 25 shooting and 13 rebounds. Andrew Bynum had 23 points and a game-best 18
boards, while Devin Ebanks started for Bryant and posted 12 points.
"It's the same old, same old that's happened to us the last 8 out of 10 games
or so," Lakers head coach Mike Brown said. "We haven't quite figured out how
to play at the pace of this new pace that we're playing at and defend at the
same time. And that's the way Phoenix plays. They like a high tempo or a fast
paced game with a lot of possessions and they've done that for years."
Metta World Peace and Ramon Sessions finished with 19 and 11 points,
respectively, for the third-seeded Lakers, who are 12-16 away from home and
just a half-game ahead of the Clippers for the Pacific Division lead.
The Lakers will close out the road trip Wednesday at San Antonio.
New Orleans is playing out the string and will resume a five-game homestand
tonight. It opened the residency with a 99-90 victory over struggling
Minnesota, as Jason Smith had a career-high 26 points, 10 rebounds and three
steals to lead the way.
"I just tried to come out with a lot of energy," Smith said. "We tried to
redeem ourselves from last night in that horrible loss. I thought that we came
out and played with a lot of energy and got a big win tonight."
Chris Kaman added 21 points, 10 boards and four blocks for the Hornets, who
got 11 points and 10 assists from Greivis Vasquez and improved to 7-21 in the
Big Easy this season.
The Hornets will also host the Kings, Jazz and Grizzlies, and have lost the
first two matchups with the Lakers in 2011-12. Los Angeles has won six
straight and 13 of the previous 16 matchups with the Bees, and is unbeaten
in the past three trips to New Orleans.
The Sports Network