In another must win game, the Lakers played with fire Tuesday night against the New Orleans Hornets, hanging on to win 104-96.
Kobe Bryant only scored seven points in the first three quarters, but saved his best for last, scoring 23 points in the fourth quarter. On TWC SportsNet, Mike D’Antoni praised Bryant’s efforts, but wasn’t too thrilled with how close the game was:
“That’s what he does. We have one of the best closers in the game. That’s why we can be a dangerous team. During the first half the energy wasn’t there and we played with fire.
The Hornets ended the first half on a 17-3 run and lead the Lakers by five going into the second half. Pau Gasol finished the game with a double-double, scoring 22 points and grabbing 11 rebounds as he rounds into playoff form.
D’Antoni praised Gasol’s effort tonight and liked the way he and Dwight Howard were playing:
I would like him to play less minutes but liking how he’s working w/ Dwight.
In his past three games, Gasol is averaging 17.6 points and 11 rebounds while looking more and more comfortable in D’Antoni’s system. Gasol was aggressive with his moves to the rim and knocked down numerous mid-range jump shots.
Overall, D’Antoni was pleased with the way the team responded to their lack of energy, but doesn’t like that it’s been a trend all season. D’Antoni talked about the team’s defense:
“Overall they only got 96 points, not bad on D, started real slow. Gave them hope and expended more energy than we should’ve.”
The Lakers play tomorrow night in Portland and since they played an inferior opponent on Tuesday it would’ve been nice to give Bryant, Gasol and Howard extra rest going into tomorrow night’s game. With that being said, tomorrow is another must-win game and the Lakers can’t let the Blazers hang in the game like they did tonight against the Hornets.
In case you missed it, be sure to check out Dwight’s hustle in our Play of the Week!
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