Friday , Mar , 23 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Kobe scores 50 as Lakers hold off Hornets

New Orleans, LA (Sports Network) – Kobe Bryant scored 50 points, his fourth
straight with at least as many points, as the Los Angeles Lakers held off New
Orleans/Oklahoma City at the New Orleans Arena.

Bryant has been in the zone over Los Angeles’ last four games — all wins. He
became just the second player in NBA history to post four straight games of at
least 50 points, finishing 16-for-29 from the floor, 2-for-5 from beyond the
arc, and 16-for-16 from the charity stripe.

“Just getting in a good groove,” Bryant said. “Putting myself in position to
see the basket. I am seeing the basket.”

With a 20-foot jumper at the 5:13 mark of the fourth quarter, Bryant joined
Wilt Chamberlain as the only players to score 50 points or more in four
straight contests. Bryant had 65 last Friday against Portland, then posted 50
versus Minnesota on Sunday, and had a 60-point performance in the Lakers’
121-119 win over Memphis on Thursday.

“We knew Kobe [Bryant] was going to have one of those nights,” New
Orleans/Oklahoma City coach Byron Scott said. “He’s just so good. He’s such a
competitor and he lives in the moment. This is the moment right now with a
playoff-type atmosphere, playoff-type basketball. We knew he was going to come
out and play like that.”

Lamar Odom posted 15 points and 10 rebounds for Los Angeles, which moved two
games ahead of Denver for sixth overall in the West. Kwame Brown added 10
points for the Lakers, who improved to 15-21 on the road this season, and
begin a five-game homestand on Sunday against Golden State.

Tyson Chandler posted 22 points and 22 rebounds to become the first player
since Anthony Mason (12/11/96) to put up at least 20 and 20 in a home game for
the Hornets, who played for the sixth and final time this season in New
Orleans. They were 3-3 at the New Orleans Arena this campaign.

Chris Paul notched 28 points and 12 assists for the Hornets, who had a two-
game winning streak snapped and are 10th overall in the West, 1 1/2 games
behind the Clippers for the eighth spot in the standings. Devin Brown added 14
points for New Orleans, which is 20-14 as the host this season.

The Hornets attained an early advantage by converting eight straight free
throws for a 27-21 lead with 2:32 remaining, and led 31-29 heading into the
second.

Trailing 54-48 with two minutes to go in the second, the Hornets went on a 9-2
spurt sparked by a Brown trey 15 seconds later for a 57-56 halftime edge.

After Desmond Mason’s layup 32 seconds into the second half, LA took off on a
25-6 burst and Bryant’s trey with 4:55 left put the Lakers ahead 81-65. The
Hornets trimmed their deficit only slightly down the stretch for an 87-75
margin heading into the fourth.

The Hornets started to rally, opening the fourth on an 11-5 run capped by a
pair of Jannero Pargo three-pointers for a 92-86 deficit with 7:10 to go. But,
the Lakers responded on a 13-8 run to seal their fourth straight win.

Game Notes

Chamberlain scored at least 50 points in seven straight games while with the
Lakers during the 1961-62 season…The Hornets have beaten the Lakers twice
this season, just falling short of the three-game series sweep. Los Angeles,
though, has won eight of the last 11 in the series.

LAL NOH