Posted by Sabrina B.Â @gametimegirl
Kobe Bryant barely made a ripple on offense for theÂ Los Angeles Lakers. He was too busy ensuringÂ Chris Paul didn’t make another huge splash that could have put the Lakers in a cavernous playoff hole.
Andrew Bynum had 17 points and 11 rebounds,Â Lamar Odom scored 16 points, and the Lakers survived quiet offensive games from their two biggest stars to even their first-round playoff series with an 87-78 victory over theÂ New Orleans Hornetsin Game 2 on Wednesday night.
Ron Artest added 15 points as the two-time defending champions rebounded from a stunning nine-point loss in the series opener with Bryant leading an improved defensive effort against Paul, who still had 20 points and nine assists after shredding Los Angeles’ defense in Game 1.
“We stayed in front of him for the most part,” Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. “He made some big plays for them … but I think we did a better job being attentive to him, and that’s as good as it gets right now.”
The Lakers spent the past two days scheming ways to prevent a repeat of Paul’s 33-point, 14-assist dissection of their defense in Game 1. Bryant’s snarling intensity was obvious when he took his turn guarding Paul, jumping on him with full-court pressure and even battling him for inconsequential inbound passes midway through the game.
“We had a good rhythm today,” Bryant said. “We found something we can hang our hats on in terms of the intensity and the aggression that we played with. Going up to New Orleans, I think that environment will bring it out.”
With Odom’s outstanding performance leading strong bench play, the Lakers overcame the offensive inadequacies of their All-Stars. Bryant managed just 11 points, barely shooting the ball in the first half, andÂ Pau Gasol had eight in his second straight poor game.
WRITTEN BY STATS LLC and The Associated PressÂ & FULL STORY HERE