We broke down some of the more intriguing numbers from LAL’s 104-96 win against New Orleans:
Minutes for Pau Gasol, who recorded his fourth double-double in the last five games (22 points, 11 rebounds). The 7-foot Spaniard also finished with four assists and three blocks. He scored eight of his 22 points in the third quarter, all four of his baskets coming inside the paint.
Fourth-quarter points for Kobe Bryant on 7 of 11 field goals and 8 of 9 free throws. Bryant scored the first 14 Laker points of the final frame, including the last four (all on free throws) to lead L.A. to victory. The 16-year veteran finished with a game-high 30 points, to go along with six boards, six assists and five steals.
Lead changes in the game. The Lakers led by as much as 10 in the second, but the Hornets went on a 17-2 run to end the half. The third quarter was a back-and-forth affair featuring nine lead changes and five ties. Despite losing eight of their last nine road games, New Orleans hung around even until the final seconds.
Plus-rating for Metta World Peace in his return (a team-high), 12 days since undergoing knee surgery on March 28. He played just 15 minutes, recording four points and one assist. “He’ll keep getting back into it little by little,” coach Mike D’Antoni said. “Whatever he can give us helps, and the minutes he gave us were good minutes.”
Forced turnovers from the Lakers in the final two-and-a-half minutes of the game, including two takeaways from Bryant defending Eric Gordon. The Hornets starting shooting guard scored 13 of his 22 points in the second quarter, but had just seven after halftime. “He took the challenge and did it,” D’Antoni said of Bryant’s defense on Gordon. “It’s not something you want for him to expend all of his energy offensively and defensively, but he took the challenge. He felt he was the only one who could do it, and he did it.”