In case there was any doubt, Kobe Bryant is not quitting on the Los Angeles Lakers, and he delivered a incredible performance to lead his team to a 108-102 comeback victory over the New Orleans Hornets.
Bryant had 18 of his 42 points in the fourth quarter as L.A. outscored New Orleans 33-9 in the final period to erase a 25-point deficit and earn a crucial victory. Bryant also had 12 assists.
Dwight Howard had 20 points and 14 rebounds in the contest while Jodie Meeks came off the bench to hit five three-pointers and chip in 19 points.
New Orleans jumped out to a big lead through a balanced scoring effort. All five starters had double-digit scoring nights, while substitutes Ryan Anderson and Austin Rivers also hit this benchmark.
Rivers hit five of his six shots in the game before leaving early due to a hand injury, as NOLA.com’s John Reid reported.
It was a badly needed win for the Lakers and a crushing defeat for the Hornets.
Player of the Game: Kobe Bryant
There are no questions here, as a 42-point, 12-assist performance would have been enough to earn him this distinction without his heroic fourth-quarter effort.
The Lakers are still very much alive in the hunt for the West’s final playoff spot, but a loss to New Orleans would have been an extremely worrisome sign regarding the team’s chances to move ahead of the Utah Jazz.
But Bryant’s outing is the type of game that can inspire his teammates and spark the run that Los Angeles desperately needs.
What’s Next for the Los Angeles Lakers?
The Lakers are now 31-31 on the season and will head back to Los Angeles to take on the Toronto Raptors on Friday.
What’s Next for the New Orleans Hornets?
The Hornets dropped to 21-41 after the disappointing defeat, and the team will now go on the road to face the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday.