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Lakers grind past Hornets, even playoff series

By Greg Beacham

Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, April 20 2011 11:25 p.m. MDT

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, left, drives toward the basket as New Orleans Hornets forward Trevor Ariza defends during the first half of Game 2 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series, Wednesday, April 20, 2011, in Los Angeles.

Mark J. Terrill, Associated Press

LOS ANGELES — Andrew Bynum had 17 points and 11 rebounds, Lamar Odom scored 16 points, and the Los Angeles Lakers survived poor games from their two biggest stars to even their first-round playoff series with an 87-78 victory over the New Orleans Hornets in Game 2 on Wednesday night.

Ron Artest added 15 points as the two-time defending NBA champions rebounded from a stunning nine-point loss in the series opener with an improved defensive effort against Chris Paul, who still had 20 points and nine assists after shredding Los Angeles' defense in Game 1.

With Odom's outstanding performance leading strong bench play, the Lakers overcame the struggles of All-Stars Kobe Bryant, who managed just 11 points, and Pau Gasol, who had eight.

Game 3 is Friday in New Orleans.

Trevor Ariza scored 22 points for the Hornets, who committed 16 turnovers after making just three in Game 1.

The second-seeded Lakers nursed a small lead throughout the second half largely thanks to Odom, who was in top form in his first game since winning the NBA's Sixth Man award on Tuesday. After Bynum scored 12 points in the first half, Odom spearheaded the Lakers' offense down the stretch.

But the seventh-seeded Hornets finally resembled a team missing top scorer David West, struggling for consistent offense for much of the game in front of an energized Staples Center crowd. Carl Landry scored 12 points, and Emeka Okafor had seven points while battling constant foul trouble that forced backup center Aaron Gray to play 23 minutes.

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