NEW ORLEANS (AP) – Kobe Bryant scored 22 of his 24 points in the first three quarters, then let his Lakers teammates take over in a dominant 98-80 victory over the New Orleans Hornets on Thursday night that clinched the series for Los Angeles in six games.
Andrew Bynum added 18 points and 12 rebounds, while Pau Gasol chipped in 16 points for the two-time defending champions, who led by as much as 21 in the fourth quarter to provide an anticlimactic ending to what had been a more exciting series than many expected.
Chris Paul, who helped the Hornets split the first four games with two sensational performances, wasn’t able to deliver the Hornets a third victory.
He finished with 10 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)