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.