The Los Angeles Lakers won their third straight game thanks to another unselfish performance from Kobe Bryant, who handed out 11 assists to lead his team to a hard-fought 111-106 victory over the New Orleans Hornets.
Bryant, who went over the 30-point mark in numerous losses earlier in the season, finished Tuesday night's contest with 14 points and also grabbed eight rebounds, while star center Dwight Howard contributed 24 points, four rebounds, five steals and four blocked shots.
In his reincarnation as a ball distributor, the veteran Bryant has dished out a whopping 39 assists during the Lakers' winning streak, the most in his 17-season career over any three-game stretch.
The Lakers held an 18-point lead with around six minutes to go in the game at Staples Center, but had to hold off a furious rally by the Hornets, who cut the lead to one in a span of four minutes.
A clutch 3-pointer by point guard Steve Nash, however, secured the victory for the home team.
Pau Gasol also had a strong all-around performance in a reserve role for the Lakers, notching seven points and an equal number of assists and rebounds.
Hornets guard Eric Gordon had a game-high 25 points in a losing effort, while highly touted rookie Anthony Davis added 18.
The Lakers came into the season with sky-high expectations after the offseason acquisitions of Howard, a three-time defensive player of the year, and Nash, a two-time league MVP.
But despite this recent run of good form, their record stands at just 20-25 and they are struggling to make the playoffs in the Western Conference.
In other action Tuesday night in the NBA, Klay Thompson scored a career-high 32 points in the Golden State Warriors' 108-95 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Milwaukee Bucks routed the Detroit Pistons 117-90 and the Portland Trail Blazers edged the Dallas Mavericks 106-104. EFE