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Lakers romp early, finish off Hornets

NEW ORLEANS — Kobe Bryant scored 22 of his 24 in the first three quarters, then let his Lakers teammates take over in a dominant 98-80 victory over the Hornets on Thursday night that wrapped up the series for Los Angeles in six games.

Andrew Bynum added 18 points and 12 rebounds and Pau Gasol had 16 points for the two-time defending champions, who led by as much as 21 in the fourth quarter.

Chris Paul, who helped the Hornets split the first four games, wasn't able to deliver again. He had only seven points before hitting a 3-pointer with 4:02 to go.

The Lakers outrebounded New Orleans 43-30, including 14 offensive rebounds. The Hornets were frustrated by the 7-foot Bynum, who prolonged possessions by snaring missed shots. He had eight offensive rebounds, helping the Lakers to a 21-4 advantage in second-chance points.

The Lakers advance to face the winner of the Dallas-Portland series. Game 1 will be Monday at Staples Center.

Lakers 98, Hornets 80

L.A. LAKERS (98): Artest 2-6 0-0 4, Gasol 5-12 6-6 16, Bynum 8-13 2-2 18, Fisher 3-4 0-0 6, Bryant 6-16 10-10 24, Odom 5-10 3-4 14, Brown 2-5 4-4 8, Blake 0-3 0-0 0, Barnes 3-5 0-0 8, Jo.Smith 0-0 0-0 0, Johnson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 34-74 25-26 98.

NEW ORLEANS (80): Ariza 4-10 4-4 12, Landry 6-13 7-7 19, Okafor 3-3 1-2 7, Paul 4-9 1-1 10, Belinelli 4-12 2-2 11, Gray 0-0 0-0 0, Green 3-9 2-2 9, Ja.Smith 2-5 0-0 4, Jack 3-7 0-0 6, Mbenga 0-0 0-0 0, Pondexter 1-2 0-0 2, Ewing Jr. 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 30-70 17-18 80.

L.A. Lakers 18 22 29 29— 98

New Orleans 16 18 23 23— 80

3-Point GoalsL.A. Lakers 5-14 (Barnes 2-2, Bryant 2-4, Odom 1-2, Fisher 0-1, Blake 0-1, Brown 0-2, Artest 0-2), New Orleans 3-14 (Paul 1-2, Belinelli 1-3, Green 1-4, Jack 0-1, Pondexter 0-1, Ariza 0-3). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsL.A. Lakers 50 (Bynum 12), New Orleans 32 (Paul 8). AssistsL.A. Lakers 23 (Artest 5), New Orleans 20 (Paul 11). Total FoulsL.A. Lakers 18, New Orleans 23. Flagrant Fouls—Ja.Smith. A17,949.

Eager Grizzlies: The Grizzlies aren't ready to quit against the Spurs, especially with Game 6 on their homecourt tonight. Forward Shane Battier sees no problem with his teammates rebounding from Wednesday's 110-103 overtime loss. They are trying to become the fourth No. 8 seed in NBA history to beat a top seed to win a playoff series, holding a 3-2 lead. "Ah, pressure, shmessure," Battier said. "We're playing with house money. I still contend that."

Thunder advances: Kevin Durant matched his best playoff performance with 41 points and the host Thunder closed its first-round series against the Nuggets with a 100-97 victory in Game 5 late Wednesday. "We willed ourselves to victory," Durant said.

Lakers romp early, finish off Hornets 04/29/11 [Last modified: Friday, April 29, 2011 5:46pm]

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