Lakers Swat Down Hornets 98-80, Advance To Conference Semi-Finals

Kobe Bryant knocked down a game high 24 points Thursday night and Andrew Bynum recorded a double-double with 18 points as the Los Angeles Lakers knocked the New Orleans Hornets out of the Post Season as they won game six of their first round series 98-80. The Lakers after winning the series by a 4-2 margin will now move on to the Western Conference Semi-Finals while the Hornets move on to the golf course. Carl Landry paced the team from New Orleans with 19 points in front of the crowd at New Orleans Arena. Although both teams were offensively challenged in the first half the Lakers scored 58 points in the final 24 minutes of play to clinch the victory.

Both teams seemed like they left their offense in the locker room during the first quarter. Derek Fisher would hit an outside jumper with 1:25 left to play and the Lakers would hold the lead at 18-16 when the period came to an end. Los Angeles would expand their advantage during the second as Lamar Odom split a pair at the line with 53 seconds remaining and as the contest reached the half they would be on top 40-34.

Los Angeles found their shooting touch when they returned to the court for the third but the same could not be said for the Hornets. With New Orleans offense stuck in neutral the Lakers would take full advantage of the situation and pull ahead during the period. Heading into the fourth Los Angeles would lead by double digits at 69-57. The Hornets never came close to mounting a challenge in the final quarter as the Lakers won the game handily.

Bryant had 24 points, 3 steals, 2 assists and a rebound while Bynum put up 18 points, grabbed 12 boards, 2 blocks, 1 assist and 1 steal. Gasol scored 16 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 blocks while Odom added 14 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists.

Landry knocked down 19 points and had 2 rebounds in the loss for the Hornets. Trevor Ariza scored 12 points, 5 assists and 5 rebounds while Chris Paul ended his season with a double-double with 10 points, 11 assists, 8 rebounds and 2 steals. The Lakers now wait to play in the next round of the Western Conference Playoffs.

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