Hornets vs. Lakers final score: L.A.'s balance makes the difference, 111-106

USA TODAY Sports

Kobe the facilitator was at it again, playing the role of floor general and leading his team to its third consecutive win.

The Los Angeles Lakers made things look easy on Tuesday night as they defeated the New Orleans Hornets, 111-106 on Monday night at Staples Center.

For more on these teams, visit Silver Screen and Roll or At the Hive

The Hornets (15-30) pulled to within one late in the fourth quarter, but strong defense on the last few possessions and a clutch three-pointer by Steve Nash gave the Lakers (20-25) a six-point lead and allowed them to cruise to their 20th win of the season.

Dwight Howard looked like his vintage self as he scored 24 points and added four blocks. Kobe Bryant once again assumed the role of facilitator and made things easy for the big man and the rest of his teammates with a point-guard-like stat line of 14 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds.

Eric Gordon led the way for New Orleans with 25 points on 7-of-12 shooting.

The Hornets shot well from the three-point line (47.4 percent) to keep the Lakers from getting comfortable, but in the end, L.A.'s ball movement and willingness to share the ball in crunch-time gave them the edge.

The Lakers had season-high 34 assists on the evening.

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