Kobe gets 28 in Lakers' 5th straight win - LA Times

BY foxsports • November 8, 2009

By Greg Beacham, AP

LOS
ANGELES, Calif. -- Kobe Bryant scored 28 points, Shannon Brown added 15
and the Los Angeles Lakers thrived again without their top two big men,
beating the New Orleans Hornets 104-88 Sunday night.

DJ Mbenga
had 10 points and 12 rebounds for the defending NBA champions, who
easily won their fifth straight game and their second in a row without
injured center Andrew Bynum and forward Pau Gasol.

Bryant scored
all but two of his points before halftime, repeatedly capitalizing down
low with ease against Devin Brown's defense. Los Angeles opened a
27-point lead in the third quarter and coasted to a 6-1 start.

Chris
Paul had 15 points and nine assists for the Hornets, who made just 36.5
percent of their shots while opening a three-game West Coast road trip
with their fourth loss in five games.

Bynum's strained right
elbow has sidelined him for the past two games, while Gasol's strained
right hamstring has kept him out since the preseason. Both will have
three more days to heal before Thursday's visit from surprising
Phoenix, the early Pacific Division co-leaders with Los Angeles.

Bryant
scored exactly 41 points in three of the Lakers' previous four games,
but the Hornets' poor shooting and often-confused defense created
little reason to inspire another big game. Bryant went scoreless in the
third quarter, and he sat down for good with nearly seven minutes still
to play.

After leading by 17 points during the first half, Los
Angeles opened the second half on a 17-3 run with two 3-pointers from
Shannon Brown. The backup guard added a few rim-shaking dunks while
scoring all his points after halftime.

Even Mbenga, the Lakers'
backup center with only rudimentary skills, matched his career scoring
high and fell one shy of his NBA rebounding best while making his
fourth NBA start. Luke Walton added 11 points, while Lamar Odom had
seven points, nine rebounds and six assists.

New Orleans coach
Byron Scott began the trip by bumping shooting guard Morris Peterson
from the starting lineup in favor of Devin Brown, who had played just
eight minutes all season. Peterson started the Hornets' first six
games, but made just 34.1 percent of his shots while playing defense
that didn't please Scott.

"I thought it was important for these
guys to know that I'm not just going to sit there and let things go the
wrong way," Scott said before the game.

Immediately after the
opening tip, Devin Brown turned the ball over to Bryant for a drive and
a dunk. If Scott hoped to improve the Hornets' struggling defense,
asking the smallish Devin Brown to stop Bryant's much-improved low-post
game didn't work as planned.

NOTES: New Orleans didn't even
dress Peterson, moving him to the inactive list. ... The Lakers are
just two games into a stretch with 14 of 16 games at Staples Center.
... Anthony Kiedis and Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers sat together
on the baseline.


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