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Kobe appeared to be in visible pain, though he attempted to walk it off during the Lakers' timeout.
According to Mike Trudell, Kobe told replacement Shannon Brown that he was not going to leave the game but he had to per league rules on injuries. Coach Phil Jackson has to whitle and wave in Bryant's direction in order to make sure he went to the bench. Kobe checked back into the game moments later.
Also according to Trudell, Phil Jackson said he doesn't know how Kobe's ankle is and that it was in "an ice bucket" following the game. According to Phil, the turn wasn't as bad as Kobe's ankle turn against the Mavericks in March.
Expect some official word Monday morning but don't think for a second that Kobe Bryant is going to let an ankle sprain keep him out of Game 5.
Image via mocksession.com
It was Chris Paul, however, who stole the show and earned the win for his team. Paul notched a triple-double (27 points, 15 assists, 13 rebounds) and led New Orleans to a 93-88 win that evens the playoff series at 2-2.
Every Laker starter scored in double digits but it wasn’t enough to push them over the hump in the fourth quarter. New Orleans led the entire half.
Game 5 is scheduled for Tuesday at 7:30 pm EST in Los Angeles.
Image via mocksession.com
After his first scoreless playoff first-half since 2004, Kobe Bryant was poised for a breakout second half. And breakout he did, scoring fourteen points in the third quarter. Combined with his eight assists, Kobe has the Los Angeles Lakers within two, down 69-67 to the New Orleans Hornets at the end of the third quarter.
Ron Artest still leads the Lakers with 16 points and Pau Gasol has 12 but both players have cooled off considerably. Andrew Bynum has 8 points and 7 rebounds on the night so far, though he also has four fouls.
Chris Paul is a stat machine for the Hornets. Paul already has a triple-double (13 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds) as he also found his groove in the second half. Trevor Ariza leads New Orleans with 16 points while Carl Landry has 16.
The game started as a battle of who could score less, Kobe or Paul. Now it’s turning into a game who’ll score more.
Trevor Ariza has 16 points and the Hornets lead the Lakers 49-45 at the half.
The Lakers were able to quell their initial foul trouble concerns but took their foot off the pedal when it came to scoring. Shooting 45%, Los Angeles is getting most of their scoring from Ron Artest (16). Meanwhile, Pau Gasol has cooled off, not scoring at all after netting eight points in the first quarter.
Kobe Bryant has no points so far but does have seven assists. It’s Kobe’s first scoreless first half in a playoff game since 2004 against Minnesota. However, he did score 22 in the second half of that game, so, be ready.
Artest has 9 and Gasol has 8 as the Lakers lead New Orleans 25-22 at the end of the first quarter.
To be fair to Kobe, he does have four assists so far, and his contributions are being felt.
One area of concern for Los Angeles so far has to be foul trouble. Andrew Bynum and Gasol both have two personals so far. Game 3 hero Bynum has two points so far.
Hornets coach Monty Williams noticed that many of the Lakers’ big men were spending a lot more than three seconds at a time in the paint during Game 3 of their playoff series. He also perceived those same Laker players as aggressively bumping Hornet defenders out of the way without any calls from the refs.
So he decided to voice his concerns with the home office.
Williams says he has spoken to NBA Vice President Stu Jackson in particular about the way Los Angeles center Andrew Bynum slammed his shoulder into Emeka Okafor’s chest to gain position for easy dunks in Game 3.
Williams says league officials were “gracious” and agreed with some of his criticism.
Williams also takes time to say he doesn’t blame the refs for New Orleans’ loss in the game, but I would imagine you won’t see the Lakers get away with as much in the paint during Game 4.
Then again, they’re the Lakers. Maybe you will.
With another dominant win over the New Orleans Hornets, the Los Angeles Lakers can forget all about that troubling Game 1 in which Chris Paul made the two-time defending champs look like yesterday's news. Should L.A. advance past New Orleans, the team's second-round opponent would be the Dallas Mavericks or Portland Trail Blazers; that excellent series, now tied 2-2, has proven that neither roster has a guard quick or skilled enough to pull a CP3 on Derek Fisher.
So now Fisher and the Lakers guards who are forced to help him on defense -- that'd be Kobe Bryant, in large part -- just have to survive Paul himself. A second win in southern Louisiana would all but end the series; you don't give the Lakers three chances to clinch and expect miracles. Not against Kobe. Not against Phil Jackson. So for Paul to extend his postseason and continue to remind everyone why so many think he -- not Derrick Rose, not Deron Williams -- is the best point guard in the NBA, the Hornets need a home win.
To do that, someone has to slow down Andrew Bynum. The kid has dominated New Orleans in this series, and has essentially realized the awesome potential most have seen since the early days. You wonder why everyone falls in love with young big men? Because this is possible, with hard work, fortune and good coaching. Big men prospects are like giant lumps of clay. It's not a given you'll get something beautiful out of them, but with the right conditions and vision, and if the clay cooperates it can be amazing. No one ever really knew if Bynum was cooperating. As it turns out, he had some ideas of his own. As it turns out, they were good ideas, and the Lakers are reaping the profits.
Emeka Okafor's had his hands full all series, and that doesn't figure to change in Game 4, which begins at 9:30 p.m. ET on TNT. Be sure to check out our Lakers vs. Hornets hub for full series coverage. For more on the Hornets, visit At The Hive. For more on the Lakers, visit Silver Screen And Roll and SB Nation Los Angeles.