NBA Odds: LA Lakers at New Orleans Hornets
By: Willie Bee
Saturday, April 23, 2011
Order appears to have been restored in the playoff series between the Los Angeles Lakers and New Orleans Hornets whose stunning Game 1 victory is but a distant memory now.
Kobe Bryant scored 30 points and Pau Gasol netted seven of his 17 in the final quarter to help the Lakers pull away for a 100-86 Game 3 win Friday night at New Orleans Arena. The triumph gave Los Angeles a 2-1 lead in the series that resumes Sunday evening in the Crescent City.
TNT will begin its broadcast at 6:30 p.m. (PT), the second game on its Easter lineup following Game 4 of the Magic, Hawks series from Atlanta.
Bryant scored 10 of his 30 in the first quarter, his first bucket negating New Orleans' only lead of the game a little more than two minutes into the contest. Los Angeles was in control from that point on to easily cover the five-point spread.
Kobe's final two points with about 1:30 left in the fourth gave the Lakers their largest lead at 100-82 and also sent 'over' 181½ backers to the pay station. Bryant's effort marked the 80th time in his career he has scored at least 30 in a postseason game.
Gasol finished with 10 rebounds to go with his 17 points with Andrew Bynum also registering a double-double (14 points, 11 rebounds). Nine of the duo's 21 boards came on the offensive end of the court.
Carl Landry led the Hornets with 23 points while Chris Paul added 22. The pair hit 15-of-25 from the field but got little help from the rest of their teammates who converted on just 18-of-47 attempts (38.2 percent).
Los Angeles' first cover in the series was triggered by Gasol's effort after the 7-foot Spaniard was all but absent from the first two games of the series. He had 16 points combined in Games 1 and 2 on 4-of-19 shooting and totaled just 11 rebounds in those contests.
"It was a much better game on my part," Gasol noted after the win, making the understatement of the evening.
The final was the second 'over' of the series following the Hornets' big Game 1 upset, 109-100 as 11-point dogs. Los Angeles' 87-79 Game 2 win as 11½-point chalk fell short of the 185½-point closing number.
With Gasol's game back on track and having the large cushion, Lakers coach Phil Jackson had the luxury of resting Bynum much of the final quarter. The sixth-year center continues to be troubled by his injured right knee but is expected to start and play in Sunday's matchup.
New Orleans came out of the game healthy but facing a must-win at home in Game 4. The lack of scoring off his bench and the Lakers' dominance on the glass all three games have Hornets coach Monty Williams searching for answers as his club tries to even the series before heading back to LA.
After taking Monday off, the teams pick up the action in Game 5 at Los Angeles' Staples Center on Tuesday. TNT has that broadcast beginning at 7:30 p.m. (PT).