The Los Angeles Lakers continued to build on their recent momentum with a 111-106 win over the New Orleans Hornets on Tuesday, as the home team staved off a late rally to register a third consecutive victory.
Kobe Bryant dished out 11 assists and Dwight Howard scored 24 points as Los Angeles, comfortably in control at 98-80 midway through the fourth quarter, almost blew the win when the Hornets put together a 16-2 run in the closing stages.
New Orleans pulled to within 102-101 in the final two minutes before Bryant found Earl Clark for a score and Steve Nash calmly sank a three-pointer to open up some breathing room.
After a well-publicised team meeting to address the group's struggles last week, Los Angeles (20-25) appear to have found a new lease of life.
Eric Gordon top-scored for the Hornets (15-30) with 25 points while Greivis Vasquez added 15 points and 15 assists as the visitors lost for the third time in their last four games.