NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Monday, March 29th (All times eastern)
Los Angeles Lakers (54-19) at New Orleans Hornets (34-40), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Los Angeles Lakers continue their quest to wrap up the top seed in the Western Conference Monday when they visit the Big Easy to take on the New Orleans Hornets.
The Lakers won for the eighth time in nine tries Saturday and improved to 2-1 on their five-game road trip when Pau Gasol recorded 30 points on 11-of-17 shooting and added eight rebounds and four blocks, as Los Angeles dropped the free-falling Houston Rockets, 109-101.
The Lakers more than recovered from a 91-75 drubbing at the hands of Oklahoma City on Friday, as they shot 57.5 percent from the floor to send the Rockets to their fourth straight loss.
Kobe Bryant, who had just 11 points on Friday, finished with 17 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists for the Lakers, who own a six-game lead over Dallas for the top spot in the Western Conference with nine games remaining.
Lamar Odom contributed 13 points and 13 rebounds, while Derek Fisher and Jordan Farmar chipped in 15 and 14 points, respectively, in the victory.
"Overall, considering how we played [Friday], we rebounded nicely on both ends of the floor," Bryant said. "I think defensively we played aggressive in the first half, and we had a little bit of a let up in the second half."
The Hornets, meanwhile, were officially eliminated from postseason competition on Saturday after Brandon Roy shot 12-for-14 from the floor to end with 28 points, as the Trail Blazers improved their own playoff standing and simultaneously eliminated New Orleans with a 112-101 win.
Rookie Darren Collison was 10-for-10 from the floor to lead the Hornets with 22 points. He fell one made field goal shy of setting the franchise record for consecutive made in a game.
David West came up with 18 points, Emeka Okafor scored 14 and Chris Paul continued to work his way back into form with 10 assists and seven points in the loss, the Hornets' 12th in the last 15 games.
"It was an incredible performance by Portland especially as far as execution and high level play. Roy played extremely well, as usual," Hornets head coach Jeff Bower said.
The Lakers have won three straight over New Orleans, including a pair of games played in LA this season.
03/29 10:39:34 ET