Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 3)

Series starts 11/9

Game 1: Tuesday, November 9th
Game 2: Sunday, November 28th
Game 3: Wednesday, December 22nd

Lakers 106

(3-2, 1-1 away)

Hornets 98

(0-4, 0-3 home)

Coverage: COX

7:00 PM ET, November 9, 2004

Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, LA

1 2 3 4 T
LAL 22 30 35 19106
NO 19 16 21 4298

Top Performers

LAL: K. Bryant 31 Pts, 8 Reb, 4 Ast, 1 Blk

NO: J. Magloire 18 Pts, 11 Reb, 3 Ast, 2 Stl

Hornets off to worst start since first year in Charlotte

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Kobe Bryant kept making free throws and Caron Butler kept hitting big shots for the Lakers, leaving New Orleans coach Byron Scott wondering when the Hornets would get their first win of the season.

Bryant hit all 14 of his free throws and finished with 31 points to lead the Lakers to a 106-98 victory Tuesday night that dropped the Hornets to 0-4 for the first time since 1989-90, when the team was still new in Charlotte.

Butler added 23 points on 10-of-14 shooting, including a game-sealing steal and dunk after the Hornets, once down by 33, pulled to 98-91 inside the last two minutes.

"They had the momentum, so I felt like I had to get a steal or a big rebound," Butler said. "I got the steal and the rest is history."

Butler scored 22 Sunday in a victory over Atlanta, but also mildly sprained his left ankle. If he was still in pain, it didn't show.

"He's been great ... just being a part of the system and slashing and running and going to the open spot," Lakers coach Rudy Tomjanovich said. "He's a valuable player."

Chucky Atkins hit his first four shots -- all 3-pointers -- and finished with 18. Lamar Odom had 12 points, the last coming on a double-clutch runner as the shot clock ran out late in the fourth quarter, helping to stem the Hornets' comeback attempt. Then with 1:07 left, he blocked a shot by Lee Nailon, who had scored 10 second-half points to help the Hornets get back in the game.

Scott, who won championships as a player with the Lakers, is the third Hornets coach in as many seasons. He was brought in to institute the hustling, fastbreak style that he used so effectively in coaching the New Jersey Nets to consecutive NBA Finals appearances. So far, his new team is struggling to adjust.

The Hornets had trouble getting inside against Los Angeles and shot only 30 percent through the first three quarters. The Lakers outscored them 32-22 in the paint.

Scott was frustrated the Hornets, who outscored the Lakers 42-19 in the final period, seemed so lackluster through the middle of the game.

"I don't know what we're waiting on," Scott said. "We're not good enough to come out and kind of see what the other team is going to do. We have to play like we did the last 10 minutes. We've got to play harder than our opponent in order to have a chance to win."

Los Angeles started to take control midway through the second quarter, shortly after Hornets center Jamaal Magloire, who finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds, got an offensive rebound and muscled in a short leaner that pulled the New Orleans to 35-31.

Bryant then hit a pair of free throws that started a 17-4 Lakers run to close out the first half.

The Lakers then went on a 13-0 run early in the third quarter, capped by three more free throws from Bryant, to make it 68-38. Shortly after, Butler was left unguarded after he faked a pass and pulled up left of the foul line for a jump shot that made it 72-40 and drew boos from the home crowd.

"We played three excellent quarters," Bryant said. "I can't take all the credit. Part of it was catching them at the right time and part of it was doing a good job defensively."

Baron Davis led New Orleans with 23 points, 15 in the fourth quarter. But he finished 5-of-20 from the field. Reserve Darrell Armstrong had 14 points.

Bryant fouled out with 3:40 left when he was called for a charge on Davis. That enlivened the Hornets and the crowd, but Butler and Odom made sure it didn't matter.

Game notes

Jumaine Jones left the game in the second quarter with a right calf strain and did not return. ... Los Angeles shot 53 percent. The Hornets finished at 35 percent. ... The Hornets had never started a season 0-3 at home. ... Bryant came into the game leading the NBA in free throws attempted and made (52-of-60).

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 106 98
FGM-FGA 35-66 (.530) 30-85 (.353)
3PM-3PA 8-22 (.364) 5-23 (.217)
FTM-FTA 28-34 (.824) 33-37 (.892)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 9-41 16-34
Assists 22 22
Turnovers 24 11
Steals 3 10
Blocks 3 2
Fast Break Points 5 6
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 29 (2/0) 28 (4/0)
Largest Lead 33 3

Top Performers

Los Angeles
New Orleans
Kobe Bryant Bryant
Points: 31
Reb: 8
Ast: 4
Stl: 0
Blk: 1
Jamaal Magloire Magloire
Points: 18
Reb: 11
Ast: 3
Stl: 2
Blk: 0