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LA Lakers VS. New Orleans Hornets Pre-game Analysis
After months of trying, the Los Angeles Lakers feel they might have finally found the right formula. The Lakers will test that out again and try to secure their longest win streak since Christmas on Tuesday night against the visiting New Orleans Hornets. Los Angeles (19-25) has struggled for much of this season on how best to use its superstars. Lately, the Lakers have tried to get a more well-rounded performance out of Kobe Bryant and more scoring from point guard Steve Nash. They've also continued to keep Pau Gasol out of the starting lineup. Bryant had 14 assists and finished one rebound shy of a triple-double for the second straight game while scoring a team-best 21 points in a 105-96 win over Oklahoma City on Sunday. "We're doing a good job right now of just being real with each other and holding each other accountable," said Bryant, one of the most vocal during a players-only meeting Wednesday before a 106-93 loss in Memphis. "That makes a huge difference. I'm trying to evolve and find out what we need as a ballclub." Nash scored 17 points, one shy of matching his season high set Jan. 21 in Chicago, and Gasol had 16. Nash is averaging 14.6 points on 51.0 percent shooting over his last five games after scoring 10.4 per contest in his first 15 for the Lakers. Los Angeles has won eight consecutive matchups and six straight at home. It had little trouble pulling away from New Orleans in a 103-87 road win Dec. 5 despite injuries to Gasol (knees) and Nash (shin). Bryant had 29 points and became the fifth player to surpass 30,000 in that victory. Prediction: The Lakers are playing their best basketball right now, with Bryant focused on distributing the ball to his teammates and Gasol providing energy as the 6th man. They will easily handle the Davis-led Hornets. LA 105 - NOR 89
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