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Saturday, April 12, 2008

Bryant Outshines Paul as Lakers Clinch Pacific Division Title

The L.A. Lakers clinched the Pacific Division title with a 107-104 win over the New Orleans Hornets. This game was considered by some people to be a referendum on the MVP race, though I disagreed with that sentiment all along and will not change my tune now even though Kobe Bryant--who I think should win the award--not only won the war (i.e., the game) but also his battle with Chris Paul, posting 29 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists, two steals and just one turnover in 43 minutes, shooting 9-17 from the field; Paul finished with 15 points, 17 assists, six rebounds, four steals and three turnovers in 39 minutes, shooting just 4-13 from the field. Bryant had nine points and three assists in the fourth quarter, while Paul had two points and two assists in the final stanza. The Lakers will finish with the best record in the West if they win home games versus San Antonio and Sacramento and the Hornets lose one of their final three games (at Sacramento, versus the L.A. Clippers and at Dallas). The Lakers took a 63-33 first half lead but the Hornets closed to within 75-71 at the 3:16 mark of the third quarter. The Lakers blew the game open with a 17-6 run in the next 5:53, with Bryant scoring 10 of the points and assisting on two other field goals during that stretch. He punctuated this burst with this exciting dunk:

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posted by David Friedman @ 5:43 AM

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