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(Wednesday, March 6th)
Final Score: LA Lakers 108, New Orleans 102
New Orleans, LA (Sports Network) - Kobe Bryant and Jodie Meeks carried Los Angeles to a stunning fourth-quarter comeback, as the Lakers escaped New Orleans with a miraculous 108-102 triumph over the Hornets.
Bryant and Meeks combined for 30 points in the fourth quarter, which began with New Orleans leading by 18.
Despite playing with a sore elbow, Bryant netted 42 points, 18 coming over a final 12 minutes that saw the Lakers outscore a stunned Hornets club, 33-9.
Bryant also dished out 12 assists, while Dwight Howard finished with 20 points, 15 rebounds and four blocks, including a pivotal rejection of Robin Lopez down the stretch. Meeks scored 19 points for LA, which was in a daze from its double-digit loss at Oklahoma City on Tuesday before rallying.
New Orleans led by as many as 25 in the first half, but did not score in the final 6:47 to drop its 10th straight meeting with the Lakers.
Seven Hornets scored in double figures, led by Eric Gordon's 18 points.
New Orleans was in front by a healthy 100-83 margin with eight minutes remaining when Meeks hit a 3-pointer to start what wound up being a crowd- quieting 25-2 flurry to end the game.
Meeks hit two more from long range during the surge and Bryant added 13 points, including the last eight.
"You could kind of sense the moment of change, the competitiveness, and guys picking each other up," said Bryant, who posted his sixth 40-point game this season.
Bryant's drive to the bucket tied things at 102-102, and Gordon stepped out of bounds with 49 seconds on the clock. Bryant followed with a deep go-ahead jumper from the left wing, and at the other end Howard blocked Lopez going up for a dunk along the baseline.
Coming out of a timeout, Bryant somehow got behind the defense for an uncontested slam and a 106-102 lead. A turnover and missed 3-pointer by Gordon on the next two Hornets possessions essentially sealed their fate.
"I was really disappointed in the fact that we didn't execute down the stretch," Hornets head coach Monty Williams said. "(It) is tough to swallow."
A back-and-forth opening 12 minutes ended even at 28-28, but the second frame was all Hornets, who erupted for 39 points in the frame.
An Al-Farouq Aminu dunk capped a quarter-opening 14-4 run, and a 19-2 flurry a little later -- highlighted by three Gordon 3-pointers -- made it a 63-38 affair.
New Orleans held a 67-48 lead at the break and prevented the Lakers from any sustained runs in the third. It was a 93-75 difference heading to the fourth.
The 25-point lead was the second largest blown by the Hornets in franchise history ... The Hornets shot 52 percent from the field over the first three quarters and made just 17 percent (4-of-23) in the fourth ... The Lakers shot 63 percent (12-of-19) in the fourth and scored 12 points off six turnovers ... Hornets guard Greivis Vasquez recorded his 23rd double-double of the season with 15 points and 12 assists ... Lopez and Aminu also recorded double- doubles, with Lopez logging 13 points and 11 boards and Aminu checking in with 12 and 16.
03/06 23:28:53 ET
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