NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, March 31st (All times eastern)
New Orleans Hornets (13-38) at Los Angeles Lakers (31-20), 3:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Los Angeles Lakers will resume a four-game homestand versus the New Orleans Hornets today, hoping to rebound from a failed test against Western Conference-leading Oklahoma City.
The Lakers lost the opener of the residency to the Thunder on Thursday thanks in large part to Southern California native Russell Westbrook, who scored 36 points as Oklahoma City dominated LA in the second half en route to a 102-93 win at Staples Center.
The Lakers had won three of four entering the game and sported a 20-4 home record, but were outscored 58-44 after the break to suffer the loss.
Andrew Bynum, who was benched by coach Mike Brown for attempting an ill- advised three in Tuesday's win over Golden State, responded with 25 points and 13 rebounds. Kobe Bryant had 23 points but was a dismal 7-of-25 from the field.
Former Lakers point guard Derek Fisher scored seven points in his return to LA. He was dealt to Houston at the trade deadline before being bought out by the Rockets and signing with the Thunder.
Fisher, who played 13 of his 16 NBA seasons and won five NBA titles with Los Angeles, sounded relieved to be on the Thunder.
"I have great memories here," he said, "but it's fun to play on a team that has no pressure on them to win. It's refreshing. It's not a championship-or- bust mentality. It's a good feeling."
The Lakers led by as many as 12 early on and were up 49-44 at the break, but Oklahoma City opened the third quarter with an 11-0 run in what proved to be a lopsided second half.
"The way we gave up baskets in the third quarter was difficult to watch," said Brown.
The Lakers, who will also face Golden State and New Jersey on their residency, are currently the third seed in the West but are eight games behind OKC and just one game ahead of the Clippers for the Pacific Division lead.
The Hornets, meanwhile, are at the bottom of the West standings at 13-38 and fell to 1-2 on a five-game road trip by losing in Portland, 99-93, on Thursday.
Marco Belinelli matched his career-best with a 27-point performance and Carl Landry poured in 24 but it was not enough for New Orleans, which was without center Chris Kaman for a fourth straight game due to an illness and has dropped three of four overall.
"You look at the guys' effort, the way we fought, the way we hung in there all night. We had a bad stretch in the third -- gave up some layups and costly threes -- but our guys just fought the whole night," said Hornets coach Monty Williams.
The team also announced that swingman Trevor Ariza, who is out with a sore right ankle, will likely miss the remainder of the trek that will finish in Phoenix on Sunday.
The Lakers have won five straight and eight of nine over the Hornets, including a 107-101 overtime win in the Big Easy back on March 14. The Hornets have lost five in a row at the Lakers.
03/31 10:56:22 ET