The Lakers will try to recover from a late collapse in their last game when they take on the New Orleans Hornets.
Bryant turned in a 40-point, eight-assist performance on Friday but it wasn’t enough as Los Angeles fell to Sacramento 109-106. The Lakers, who are 2-1 on a four-game homestand, allowed the Kings to score the final four points of the game and failed to score on their final three possessions.
“We just missed a couple of shots down the stretch,” Bryant said. “They made some tough shots and we had some open looks that just didn’t go down for us.”
The Lakers have been feast or famine defensively, going 0-6 in games when they have given up 100 points or more.
“Our nemesis is the 100-point mark,” Bryant said. “One of these days we’re going to win a game when the other team scores over 100.”
Hornets coach Byron Scott, who averaged 15.1 points during his 11-year playing career with the Lakers, has seen his team open its five-game road trip with a surprising win at Utah and then losses to Golden State and Phoenix.
Scott said the losing has come as a result of a disturbing trend.
“In the 10 or 11 games that we’ve had, eight of those games we’ve been in them the last three or four minutes and then we fall apart,” he said. “We don’t buckle down on the defensive end and get stops, and that’s what good teams do.”
New Orleans has been hurt by injuries, particularly the six straight games that star guard Baron Davis has missed because of a bad back. The news got worse during Friday’s 95-86 loss to Phoenix as starting center Jamaal Magloire went down with a right finger injury.
Magloire, who did not accompany the team to Los Angeles, could miss up to five games.
One bright spot for the Hornets has been the play of Lee Nailon. The veteran forward is averaging 19.3 points over his last four games.
STANDINGS (through Nov. 26): Hornets - 5th place, 8 GB, Southwest Division. Lakers - 3rd place (tied), 4 GB, Pacific Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Hornets - Davis, 24.6 ppg and 8 apg; Magloire, 9.1 rpg. Lakers - Bryant, 29 ppg and 6 apg; Odom, 10.6 rpg.
SEASON SERIES: Lakers, 1-0.
LAST MEETING: Nov. 9; Lakers, 106-98. At New Orleans, Bryant scored 31 points and Butler added 23 on 10-of-14 shooting as the Lakers built a 33-point lead and held off a late Hornets charge after Bryant had fouled out.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Hornets - 1-4 on the road; Lakers - 5-2 at home.