LOS ANGELES -- The Lakers won their third in a row, beating the New Orleans Hornets, 111-106. There's no arguing that this a much better Laker team than it was just six days ago, with Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash switching roles and Dwight Howard playing with a renewed enthusiasm. However, it also can't be argued that this team still has quite a ways to go in order to turn their season around.
Yes, the Hornets are a better team (9-7) since Eric Gordon returned from multiple knee injuries on December 29, and yes, they beat the Grizzlies in Memphis a few days ago. But they're still a miserable 15-30 and tied with the Phoenix Suns at the bottom of the Western Conference. They'll be the Pelicans before they see the playoffs again, but the Lakers couldn't put them away.
Even fighting for their playoff lives, the Lakers just can't stand prosperity.
It looked like they were going to run the Hornets right back to New Orleans as they shared the basketball beautifully...