Kobe Bryant’s value to the Los Angeles Lakers was never more evident than in Saturday's loss at Phoenix. With the league's leading scorer sitting out his first game of the season, the Lakers offered little resistance and were waxed by the Suns 125-105.
Los Angeles, which holds a half-game lead over the Clippers atop the Pacific Division, may be without Bryant again as it seeks to avoid a third straight loss when it visits the New Orleans Hornets on Monday.
@ New Orleans
When: 8:00 PM ET, Monday, April 9, 2012
Where: New Orleans Arena, New Orleans, Louisiana
TV: 8 p.m. ET, KCAL (Los Angeles), CST (New Orleans)
Los Angeles Lakers (35-22): Bryant had played in 138 consecutive games before a painful left shin injury forced him to the bench. He will be re-evaluated Monday, but team trainer Gary Vitti said rest is the only remedy. Pau Gasol scored a season-high 30 points and grabbed 13 rebounds and Andrew Bynum added 23 and 18 boards against the Suns. It was the fifth double-double in six games for Gasol, who had 21 points and 11 rebounds in a come-from-behind win over New Orleans on March 31.
New Orleans Hornets (15-41): New Orleans also leaned on its inside game in a 99-90 victory over Minnesota on Saturday. Forward Jason Smith scored a career-high 26 points and snared 10 rebounds while center Chris Kaman went for 21 points and 10 boards. Kaman missed the last matchup with the Lakers, but had 21 points and 12 rebounds in an overtime home loss to Los Angeles on March 14. Eric Gordon, who just returned from injury, has averaged 15.9 points in his career against the Lakers.
The Lakers have won four straight
against the Hornets, but had to rally from 17 and 10 points down in the two
victories this season.
2. Hornets guard Jarrett Jack, averaging 15.6 points per game, has missed three straight games with a sprained foot.
3. The Lakers allowed a season-high point total against the Suns and their bench was outscored 58-10.
NBA BASKETBALL PREDICTION: Lakers 90, Hornets 88
andrew bynum - chris kaman - eric gordon - gary vitti - jarrett jack - jason smith - kobe bryant - los angeles lakers - new orleans arena - new orleans hornets