Tuesday , Mar , 30 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

Sizzling Lakers welcome Hornets to LA

Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) – The streaking Los Angeles Lakers try to
continue their meteoric rise tonight, when they host the New Orleans Hornets
at the Staples Center.

Los Angeles has ripped off eight straight wins and has won 20 of its last 25
contests overall. The Lakers have fought their way into the third spot in the
West — just two games behind conference and Pacific leader Sacramento.

On Sunday, the Lakers continued their hot streak with 91-84 victory over the
Utah Jazz at the Staples Center. Karl Malone burned his former team, posting
19 points and 13 rebounds in the victory.

Malone faced his former team for the first time after spending the first 18
years of his illustrious career in Utah. The Lakers are 27-6 this season when
Malone is in the lineup.

Kobe Bryant poured in 34 points to pace the Lakers in the victory. Gary Payton
chipped in 17 points and Shaquille O’Neal contributed 11 points and 14 boards
for the Lakers in the win.

Payton picked up his 8,000th career assist midway through the third quarter.
He is sixth on the all-time list. Meanwhile, Bryant was 17-of-21 from the foul
line and Los Angeles was 34-of-49 as a team (69 percent).

Los Angeles has won eight straight and 10 of 11 its last home games. For the
season, the Lakers are an impressive 30-5 at the Staples Center.

New Orleans has been in a bit of a free fall lately, dropping two straight and
eight of its last 12 contests overall. The Hornets unbelievably remain fourth
in the East — one game ahead of fifth place Milwaukee.

The Hornets were unable to get things back on the winning track Friday night,
as they fell 99-94 to the Phoenix Suns at the New Orleans Arena. Darrell
Armstrong and Jamaal Magloire each netted 22 points for the Hornets. Armstrong
had eight assists and Magloire hauled in a game-high 14 boards.

All-Star guard Baron Davis missed his second straight game after spraining his
left ankle in Tuesday’s win over the Detroit Pistons. According to reports,
Davis is expected to be sidelined up to three weeks.

The Hornets, who are starting a five-game Western Conference road trip, have
dropped eight straight and 10 of their last 11 contests in foreign gyms.
For the year, New Orleans is 13-21 on the road.

New Orleans actually won the first meeting between these teams this season,
114-95, along the Bayou on November 7. However, the Lakers have won eight of
10 and 10 of 13 meetings between these clubs. The Hornets have lost five of
their last seven road contests against the Lakers.