New Orleans Hornets star, Chris Paul, was annoyingly good in the team’s 93-88 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday night.
Demoted from his top-tier NBA point guard status for much of the season, Paul opted to make a late run at the distinction with a triple-double at the opportune time -- a home game that his team absolutely had to have with a return trip to Los Angeles on the horizon. Filling up the stat line with 27 points, 15 assists, 13 rebounds and one bandage over his right eye, Paul simply seemed to put on his cape, lift the rest of the Hornets onto his back, and guide the team to victory despite just about everything the Lakers threw at him.
For the two-time defending champion Lakers, meanwhile, it was a night to forget. Nothing went right for the club starting with Kobe Bryant’s scoreless first half, right up through him injuring his ankle late in the fourth quarter, and finishing up with them being powerless to stop a Jarrett Jack jumper from the free throw with a little over nine seconds remaining in the game. From there, the L.A. would be forced into playing the foul game, and unfortunately for them, the Hornets -- specifically, Jack -- went on to hit the necessary free throws.
When it was all said and done, Bryant finished with 17 points on five-of-18 shooting, and more importantly, his health status for Game 5 in serious jeopardy.
Pau Gasol and Ron Artest each had 16 points for the Lakers; however, all of Artest’s points ended up coming in the first half.
On the other side of the box score, Trevor Ariza had 19 points for the Hornets, while Carl Landry chipped in 16 of his own.
The Hornets never trailed in the second half.
Game 5 is scheduled for Tuesday, in Los Angeles.