Roundup: Kobe Bryant-less Lakers sneak by Hornets
Bryant missed his second consecutive game with a sore left shin, but Ramon Sessions helped pick up the slack with 17 points, including a three-pointer that put the Lakers ahead by six with 26 seconds left. Andrew Bynum added 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Lakers, who ended a two-game skid.
Greivis Vasquez added 18 points and 11 assists for the Hornets, hitting a career-high five three-pointers on six attempts.
Chris Kaman had 16 points and five blocked shots but committed his fifth foul with 6:04 left and had to sit for nearly four crucial minutes as New Orleans lost to the Lakers by six or fewer points for the third time in three meetings.
Gasol and Bynum helped the Lakers control the paint, as Los Angeles outscored New Orleans 42-28 inside and outrebounded the Hornets 46-35.
New Orleans stayed close, thanks in part to 9-for-15 shooting from deep, with Belinelli hitting four threes.
After trailing by as many as nine points in the second quarter, the Hornets surged ahead by nine in the third period after a 12-4 run that included a three by Vasquez and a three-point play by Al-Farouq Aminu on a driving layup.
The lead was still at nine after Jason Smith‘s floater late in the third quarter, but the Lakers quickly cut it to 72-68 on Sessions’ driving layup shortly before the end of the period and Metta World Peace‘s three to open the fourth.
The Hornets did not wilt right away as they often have this season, thanks to Belinelli, who scored seven consecutive Hornets points on a bail-out jumper at the shot clock buzzer, a double-pump jumper and a 29-foot three-pointer late in the shot clock to make it 79-71.
Soon after, a rare sellout crowd was chanting: “Beat L.A!”
That was about the time the Hornets started missing shots, and the Lakers stormed back.
Steve Blake drained a three from the corner and sank an off-balance floater off the glass during a 15-2 run that also included two inside buckets by Bynum. World Peace’s three put Los Angeles back in front 89-86 with 1:31 left, then Sessions added a three to make it 92-86, and New Orleans could not quite recover, despite World Peace nearly turning the ball over with a long inbounds pass to the Lakers’ backcourt with 1.2 seconds left. Smith got his hand on the pass but could not corral it.
Thunder 109, Bucks 89
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Russell Westbrook scored 26 points and Oklahoma City won its second consecutive game, beating Milwaukee in a game that featured seven technical fouls and an ejection of Bucks backup forward Larry Sanders.
Sanders was being hit with a pair of technicals in the second half, while Mike Dunleavy, Brandon Jennings and coach Scott Skiles also were assessed technicals for Milwaukee. Oklahoma City’s Nazr Mohammed and Serge Ibaka also were called for technicals.
Kevin Durant added 19 for the Thunder, who broke a three-game losing streak with a victory against the Toronto Raptors on Sunday. Oklahoma City came into Monday’s game trailing the San Antonio Spurs by percentage points for the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference.
Magic 119, Pistons 89
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Jason Richardson hit six three-pointers and scored 22 points, J.J. Redick had 20 points and Orlando eased past Detroit.
All five Orlando starters reached double figures in the Magic’s first win against the Pistons this season.
The Magic also were playing without backup point guard Chris Duhon, who was suspended for the game for conduct detrimental to the team.
Tayshaun Prince led Detroit with 21 points and eight rebounds.
The Pistons lost their third consecutive game since a three-game winning streak. Detroit concludes a four-game road trip against the Charlotte Bobcats on Thursday.
Rockets 94, Trail Blazers 89
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Goran Dragic scored 22 points and Houston completed a perfect four-game road trip.
Houston (32-25), jockeying for playoff position in the Western Conference, has won six of its last eight games overall.
LaMarcus Aldridge had 20 points and six rebounds for Portland (27-31), which trailed by as many as 14 points. The Trail Blazers, who are seeing their playoff hopes dwindle, have gone 7-8 since firing coach Nate McMillan.
Jazz 91, Spurs 84
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Devin Harris scored 25 points, including 11 in a row in the fourth quarter as Utah halted San Antonio‘s 11-game winning streak and boosted its playoff hopes.
Paul Millsap added 18 points for the Jazz, who avenged a 114-104 road loss Sunday to the Spurs.
The Jazz (30-28) are injury riddled, but the Spurs (40-15) were short-handed in a different way, choosing not to bring stars Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili for the rematch. Coach Gregg Popovich wanted that trio, averaging 46.8 points, to rest.
Pacers 103, Raptors 98
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Danny Granger and George Hill scored 18 points each as Indiana took an early lead and held off Toronto.
Paul George had 15 points and Leandro Barbosa added 14 to help the Pacers win for the fourth time in their last five games. Hill, making his first start of the season in place of injured Darren Collison, also had seven rebounds and four assists.
Linas Kleiza scored 18 points — all in the fourth quarter — as the Raptors tried to rally from a 15-point deficit at the start of the period. David Anderson had 17 points and Amir Johnson 16 for Toronto. Ed Davis added 11 points and 10 rebounds and Ivan Calderon had 14 assists.
Suns 114, Timberwolves 90
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Shannon Brown had 17 points and seven rebounds and Phoenix’s reserves outscored Minnesota’s 66-27.
Markieff Morris led the backups with 21 points and Steve Nash had 14 points and five assists for the Suns, who have won five of their last six games and 11 of 16 to surge back into the playoff picture. They started the day one game behind the Denver Nuggets for eighth in the West.
Kevin Love had 25 points and 13 rebounds for the Timberwolves, who have lost six in a row. They have lost 22 consecutive April games, dating to 2009.
J.J. Barea had 16 points, but the Wolves’ massive defensive problems continued with the Suns shooting 57%.
Nuggets 123, Warriors 84
DENVER (AP) — Rookie Kenneth Faried had season highs of 27 points and 17 rebounds and Denver never trailed in its most lopsided win of the season.
The 39-point margin exceeded Denver’s previous high of 29 points against Sacramento on Jan. 25, and coincided with the return of Danilo Gallinari. He helped pick up the offense by scoring 15 points in his first game since breaking his left thumb against the Dallas Mavericks on March 19.
Wizards 113, Bobcats 85
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Jordan Crawford scored 20 points and Washington got 67 points from its bench in a matchup of the NBA‘s two worst teams.
James Singleton had 18 points and 12 rebounds and Cartier Martin chipped in with 19 points as the Wizards (13-44) swept the three-game season series from the Bobcats. John Wall was held to two points but had 12 assists.
Corey Maggette scored 23 points for the Bobcats (7-48), who lost their 12th in a row.
It might have been a new low in Bobcats history, losing by 28 points at home to the second-worst team in the league.
On the positive side, the Bobcats took a step closer to securing the worst record in the league and the best chance at the No. 1 pick in NBA draft lottery on May 30.
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