Marco Belinelli scored eight points in the first quarter as the New Orleans Hornets opened up an early lead over the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round of the NBA Playoffs. The Hornets led 26-24 after one quarter. Kobe Bryant had nine points in the first.
Chris Paul did a good job pushing the pace to helping get the Hornets out to an early 12-4 lead. But led by Kobe, the Lakers stormed back to a 13-12 lead. Emeka Okafor and Andrew Bynum each picked up two early fouls, leaving the Hornets leaning on Aaron Gray, who actually put together nice first quarter performance.
The Hornets' good early start came with a tempo faster than Monty Williams usually likes. Paul is excellent in the open court, and given that the Lakers have become increasingly comfortable playing a veteran-style halfcourt offense, New Orleans' best chance could be in pushing the ball during this series.