NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Monday, April 9th (All times eastern)
Los Angeles Lakers (35-22) at New Orleans Hornets (15-41), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Los Angeles Lakers will not have Kobe Bryant in the lineup when they continue a three-game road trip tonight against the New Orleans Hornets.
Bryant is bothered by an injured left shin and had been playing 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 but has been ruled out tonight. He remains 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.
On the injury front New Orleans announced that guard Jarrett Jack will miss the remainder of the season because of a stress fracture in his right foot.
Jack has already been sidelined for the team's past three games because of the injury. In 45 games, including 39 starts, this season, Jack averaged career highs of 15.6 points, 6.3 assists and 3.9 rebounds.
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.
04/09 13:46:34 ET