From Kevin Ding, OC Register: Kobe Bryant poured all his energy into the fourth quarter. What came out was something miraculous. The Lakers put together a season-saving comeback, roaring back from 25 points down to stun the lowly New Orleans Hornets, 108-102, on Wednesday night. Bryant, 34, shook his head at Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni after playing the entire third quarter, an indication Bryant refused to come out of the game despite logging 39 minutes the previous night despite a sore right elbow. Bryant was winded midway through the fourth quarter, when he was dominating the ball and going all out every possession, but he found something else to keep him going – desire to connect this team for more unlikely success in the postseason.
From Dave McMenamin, ESPN LA: There has been a bit of a turf war in the Los Angeles Lakers’ locker room since the first day of training camp this season. Kobe Bryant wanted to make it clear he wasn’t being pushed out the door. Dwight Howard wanted everybody to know he had arrived on the scene. “I got a question earlier about whose team this is,” Bryant said back on media day. “I don’t want to get into the, ‘Well, we share …’ No, it’s my team. But I want to make sure that Dwight, when I retire, this is going to be his. I want to teach him everything I possibly know so that when I step away, this organization can ride on as if I never left.” The first three quarters of the season played out with Bryant seemingly pushing his hardest because he knows he doesn’t have much longer to play and Howard seemingly not wanting to push too hard because he knows how much longer he has to play. There were conflicting agendas and personalities, enough drama to fill an HBO series and not enough wins to punch a playoff ticket.
From Mike Bresnahan, LA Times: Forget for a minute that it happened against the New Orleans Hornets, the team with the worst home record in the Western Conference. Disregard for a few seconds how the Lakers found themselves down 25 points — 25 points — to the team paying rent in the West basement for much of the time this season. The Lakers might have finally found something in their goofiest twist yet, their largest comeback since 2002 with a 108-102 victory Wednesday at New Orleans Arena. All it took was a 20-0 run to end the game, amid 12 consecutive missed Hornets shots and five New Orleans turnovers in the final six minutes. Yes, it was against the woeful Hornets, but had there been a happier Lakers locker room all season? Doubtful.
From Drew Garrison, Silver Screen & Roll: The Los Angeles Lakers mounted a miraculous comeback against theNew Orleans Hornets Wednesday night in the second half of their road back-to-back. Both offensive and defensive execution crisp and the 20+ point hole the Lakers were buried in wound up a narrow victory that was a stunning victory. In part 1 of this edition of The Playbook, we’ll take a look at how the Lakers defense, and Dwight Howard, held the Hornets to a mere nine points in the fourth quarter while their offense chipped away at the lead. Howard’s domination the Hornet’s pick and roll game is most notable, but the team as a whole did a great job and played with a defensive intensity and cohesion that has been a rarity this season. Still, the fact that Howard had four fouls through the majority of this stretch, and didn’t pick up his fifth until late in the quarter, speaks volumes to how active and precise he was on defense after a tough first half. Now, onto a comprehensive breakdown of how the Lakers dominated on defense with their engaged big man anchoring the paint.
From Kurt Helin, Pro Basketball Talk: Whenever someone famous tries to clarify a previous statement, does it really help?Nonetheless, Dwight Howard felt obligated. In a recent interview he said about Orlando that “…was a team full of people who nobody wanted, and I was the leader and I led that team with a smile on my face.” I can’t imagine why his teammates would take that as an insult (•cough•), but they did. Just because he said nobody wanted them? Because that’s not what he meant, Howard told the media Wednesday, including Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com.