Kobe Bryant scored 19 points, one of six Lakers in double figures tonight as they won Game 5 and took a 3-2 series lead over the New Orleans Hornets. Game 6 is Thursday in New Orleans. Game 7, if necessary, is Saturday at Staples Center. Bryant answered questions about his sprained left ankle when he dunked over Emeka Okafor in the second quarter, part of an 8-2 run that gave the Lakers the lead for good. Andrew Bynum scored 18 points and 10 rebounds. Pau Gasol scored 16, Derek Fisher and Lamar Odom each had 13 points and Ron Artest added 11 points. Trevor Ariza had 22 for New Orleans.
Asked what he thought of Bryant’s in the first quarter, coach Phil Jackson said, “Better get him off the floor. He’s a liability. He came back in the second strong as ever and after a misplay on trying to get a foul and a 3-point play by Trevor he was able to get it going.”
Asked what he thought of the Lakers’ play after Bryant’s dunk, Jackson said, “It got the crowd going. It seemed to spark him. You know, he was at a point, ‘That’s enough,” so yeah, I think that was a big statement.”