Paul leads Hornets past Lakers in stunning opener

Posted April 17, 2011, at 10:16 p.m.
Last modified April 18, 2011, at 12:12 a.m.

LOS ANGELES — Chris Paul had 33 points, 14 assists and seven rebounds, and the New Orleans Hornets pulled away down the stretch, stunning the two-time defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers with a 109-100 victory in their playoff opener Sunday.

Carl Landry scored 17 points and Jarrett Jack added 15 for the seventh-seeded Hornets, who overcame Los Angeles’ major size advantage with a phenomenal game from Paul. The star playmaker scored 17 points in the fourth quarter, leading a late 8-0 run.

Kobe Bryant scored 34 points for the Lakers, who opened the postseason with the same halfhearted effort that comprised much of their regular season after three straight exhausting trips to the NBA finals.

Game 2 is Wednesday at Staples Center.

Los Angeles’ 7-foot starters, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, were widely expected to be an awful matchup for smallish New Orleans, but Paul led an impressive offensive game plan that minimized the big men’s impact while emphasizing tough-to-defend pick-and-roll plays. Los Angeles struggled to get the ball down low on offense, too often settling for jumpers.

Grizzlies 101, Spurs 98

SAN ANTONIO — Zach Randolph had 25 points and 14 rebounds, Shane Battier hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 23.9 seconds left, and Memphis earned the first playoff victory in franchise history.

Randolph, who scored nine in the fourth quarter and punished San Antonio under the basket, might have saved his hardest contact for a chest bump with Mike Conley after the final buzzer. The Grizzlies bench spilled onto the court, waving towels and leaping back into the locker room.

San Antonio had a chance to force overtime, but Richard Jefferson missed an open 3-pointer as time expired. Tony Parker led the Spurs with 20 points, but they sorely missed All-Star Manu Ginobili, who continued to rest his sprained right elbow.

 

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