From Kevin Ding, OC Register: The two-time defending NBA champions can still be the dragon that causes lesser opponents to shrink from their fire. The San Antonio Spurs didn’t wilt from the Lakers’ determination Tuesday night in the Lakers’ third consecutive lopsided loss. So the Lakers redoubled their efforts Wednesday night and delivered utter domination of the New Orleans Hornets, 103-88. “I sensed it early on that some of our guys were a bit overwhelmed,” Hornets coach Monty Williams said. The Lakers stood even taller because of Phil Jackson’s decision to move Andrew Bynum back into his usual role as the Lakers’ starting center for the first time this season.
From Mike Bresnahan, LA Times: His season had been so strong, the numbers coming steadily night after night, that Lamar Odom wondered if he would be an All-Star for the first time in his 12-year career.?? On Wednesday, however, he continued being a vitally important player for the Lakers simply by accepting the switch from starter to sub, as he had done numerous times the last few years.?? It’s nothing new for Odom, and all he did was score 24 points, his career high as a reserve, making 10 of 15 shots in the Lakers’ 103-88 victory over New Orleans.?? Because of Andrew Bynum’s injury tendencies over the years, Odom has started 94 of the 96 games missed by the Lakers center, and it was back to the bench after Bynum started his first game of the season.??” Some people could have taken it personally,” Odom said. “It didn’t matter to me.” ??Odom was averaging 15.6 points and 9.8 rebounds on 57.4% shooting before Wednesday, enough to be an All-Star “for sure, no question about it,” Kobe Bryant said.
From Elliot Teaford, LA Daily News: Kobe Bryant walked onto the court more than two hours before the Lakers defeated the New Orleans Hornets on Wednesday night and shared a laugh with teammate Luke Walton before his pregame shooting routine. Later, he joked with former teammate Trevor Ariza. The pregame scenes were in sharp contrast to the seething Bryant who could barely hide his anger and disgust near the end of the Lakers’ loss one night earlier to the San Antonio Spurs, their third consecutive defeat by 15 or more points. Bryant’s frustration seemed to sweep through the Lakers during Tuesday’s loss. He drew a technical foul in the first half after jawing with George Hill of the Spurs. Bryant’s backcourt-mate Derek Fisher received a technical in the second half.
From Brett Martel, Lakers.com: Lamar Odom responded to his first time out of the starting lineup this season by scoring 24 points, and the Los Angeles Lakers convincingly ended a three-game losing streak with a 103-88 victory over the New Orleans Hornets on Wednesday night. Kobe Bryant added 20 points, while Andrew Bynum, who started for Odum, scored 18 points. Pau Gasol added 11 points and 12 rebounds as the Lakers snapped out a funk in which they had lost by 15 or more points in their previous three games. Chris Paul had 20 points and Marco Belinelli scored 15 for the Hornets, who lost their second straight by double digits after falling 113-98 at Minnesota two nights earlier.
From Andy Kamenetzky, Land O’ Lakers: After a San Antonio debacle featuring Kobe Bryant (by his own admission) hucking the ball too much and the ball moving too little (especially in the direction of anybody on the tall side), the Lakers got back to what works best for them: All hands on deck. The rock changing said hands at a steady rate. And the biggest hands (those belonging to the frontcourt players) were typically full. The first quarter ended with all five starters on the board and six points apiece for Kobe, surprise starter Andrew Bynum, and Pau Gasol. It set the tone for every Laker who played 10-plus minutes entered the scoring column, hitting at 58.6 percent against a host talented at the lockdown. Even more indicative of the balance, nobody took more than 15 shots. Patience was exercised in search of quality looks. Three-pointers were generally created from the inside-out and, in no bit of coincidence, were wet.
From Dexter Fishmore, Silver Screen and Roll: Exciting news, cats and kittens: 2010 will not end with a five-game Lakers losing streak. The purp and yellow pulled out of their late-December death spiral and battered the New Orleans Hornets tonight in an easy 103 to 88 triumph. The offensive attack that had grown increasingly feeble over the past few games roared back to life, and for the first time since last spring Andrew Bynum looked like Andrew Bynum. Just as a few dreadful losses were no call to write off the Lakers, one splendid game doesn’t mean they’re definitively back on track, but this was the right first step. Drew reentered the starting lineup in this one, sending Lamar Odom back to his familiar role as sixth man nonpareil. The change suited both players. Bynum regularly established deep post position against the undersized Hornet bigs and scored on a better variety of moves than he’d shown since his return from knee surgery. Baseline spins, alley-oop dunks, jump hooks in the lane: his repertoire is rounding into form. He scored 18 points on 13 shots (including free-throw possessions) and played a season-high 30 minutes.
From Michael McNamara, Hornets 24/7: After last night’s loss against San Antonio, some Hornets fans worried whether Kobe would come out with something to prove, but it wasn’t #24 who killed New Orleans tonight, it was their new 6th man- Mr. Khloe Kardashian himself. Lamar scored a game high 24 points in his first game of the season in which he came off the bench. Phil Jackson gave Andrew Bynum the start, moving Pau Gasol back to power forward, and the length of those two really bothered the Hornets on both ends of the court. The Lakers started the game pounding the ball inside on offense and pushing the Hornets out of the paint when New Orleans had the ball. In the first 15 minutes, the Lakers had 22 points in the paint and that opened up their outside shooting. Before you knew it, the Lakers were up 59-41 at the half and the game was all but over at that point.