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Late Kobe show sinks Hornets

KOBE Bryant scored 11 of his game-high 39 points in overtime to propel the Los Angeles Lakers to a 115-111 win over the New Orleans Hornets on Friday.

Lakers veteran guard Derek Fisher forced the extra session when he nailed a game-tying three-pointer with 14 seconds remaining after a furious fourth quarter rally by the visitors.

Rasual Butler led the way with 31 points for New Orleans, which outscored Los Angeles 32-19 in the final period before the game was taken to OT by Fisher's three.

Bryant, the National Basketball Association's reigning MVP, shook off 10-for-27 regulation shooting by making all three of his shots in overtime as the NBA-best Lakers (45-10) won their third straight game.

"I wanted to attack, I was missing a lot of easy ones," Bryant told reporters. "It was important for me to take my time and gather myself for shots."

In other NBA games, it was: Rockets 93, Mavericks 86; Cavaliers 111, Bucks 103; Trail Blazers 108, Hawks 98; Bulls 116, Nuggets 99; Magic 92, Bobcats 80; Suns 140, Thunder 118; Knicks 127, Raptors 97; Pacers 112, Timberwolves 105; Wizards 107, Nets 96; and Kings 115, Grizzlies 106.

In Los Angeles, Spaniard Pau Gasol scored 20 points and 12 rebounds while Lamar Odom finished with 12 points and 17 rebounds for Los Angeles.

Hornets All-Star point guard Chris Paul had 21 points and added 16 assists before fouling out with 1:31 left in overtime.

Paul sparked a New Orleans fightback after Los Angeles had led 79-64 late in the third quarter.

The Hornets began the fourth with a 16-6 run and were up 98-95 when forward James Posey made a three with just over a minute remaining.

Posey later missed a potential game-tying three-pointer with 12 seconds left in overtime.

The inconsistent Hornets (32-21) have now lost seven of their last 11 games.

The team is still without the services of center Tyson Chandler (ankle), who rejoined the team on Thursday after a trade that would have sent the seven-footer to the Oklahoma City Thunder was rescinded due to a failed physical.

The Lakers have gone 8-1 since starting center Andrew Bynum went down with a knee injury that sidelined him for the last three months of last year's regular season and playoffs.

"I can't say that I'm surprised. Last year we played a big chunk of games without him so we're used to playing without him," Bryant said. "With that being said we can't wait to get him back - we miss his defensive presence in the interior."

The result avenged the Lakers' 105-116 loss to the Hornets last month which ended a 15-game home winning streak.

In Houston, the hosts ended a run of four straight losses to their Texas rivals by beating Dallas.

Aaron Brooks scored 19 points, including a key three-pointer with 24 seconds left, and also had eight assists for the Rockets. Brooks became the Rockets' starting point guard when Rafer Alston was traded to Orlando on Thursday.


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