NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, January 29th (All times Eastern)
New Orleans Hornets (15-29) at Los Angeles Lakers (19-25), 10:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Kobe Bryant has become the main facilitator recently for the Los Angeles Lakers and will try to assist his team for a third straight time Tuesday versus the New Orleans Hornets in the finale of a three-game homestand.
Bryant has dished out 14 assists in each of the past two matchups with the Utah Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder, and posted 21 points in Sunday's 105-96 triumph over high-scoring OKC at Staples Center. The future Hall of Famer, who scored 14 points in the win over the Jazz, has also pulled down nine rebounds in consecutive games.
Bryant has handed out 14 or more assists seven times in his storied career.
"I'm trying to evolve and find out what we need as a ball club. I can take a lot of pressure off of Steve (Nash) to have to play-make all of the time," Bryant said postgame. "Instead of me being a finisher, it's really facilitating, drawing the defense, and making plays. I game plan for it, and it seems to be working."
Nash had 17 points, Pau Gasol added 16 and Metta World Peace tallied 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Lakers, who improved to 14-10 at home and received eight points and 10 boards from Dwight Howard. Howard was in foul trouble most of the game.
Following Tuesday's meeting with New Orleans, the Lakers will embark on a seven-game road trip against Phoenix, Minnesota, Detroit, Brooklyn, Boston, Charlotte and Miami.
On the injury front for the Lakers, guard Steve Blake is probable versus the Hornets after undergoing abdominal surgery. He hasn't played since Nov. 11.
New Orleans will try to stay consistent when it resumes a five-game road trip Tuesday in Hollywood.
The Hornets won for the eighth time in 12 tries with Sunday's 91-83 triumph at Memphis behind Ryan Anderson's seven 3-pointers for a game-best 22 points. Jason Smith had 16 points in the win.
"We just need to play a complete game. When we do, we play great like we did tonight," Anderson said. "We didn't have any lulls. We fought and did a great job tonight. We really stuck to the game plan and played great."
New Orleans is 8-14 away from the Big Easy and will also visit Utah, Denver and Minnesota on the sojourn.
The Hornets suffered a 103-87 home setback to the Lakers on Dec. 5 this season and have dropped eight straight, 11 of 12 and 15 of the past 18 meetings between the Western foes. New Orleans is winless in six straight as the visitor in this series.
01/29 10:38:05 ET