Lakers push Hornets to the edge


LOS ANGELES, April 27- The Los Angeles Lakers pushed New Orleans to the brink of elimination by using a balanced attack to defeat the Hornets 106-90 in game five of their NBA playoff series.

Kobe Bryant played through the pain of a sore ankle to score 19 points for the Lakers, who lead the best-of-seven opening round series 3-2.

Andrew Bynum finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds, and Pau Gasol chipped in 16 points for the two-time defending NBA champion Lakers.

"They were beating us to 50/50 balls back in New Orleans so that was a conscious effort by us to win those balls tonight," Lakers centre Bynum said. "We all played defense tonight and kept them to 90 points."

Los Angeles got off to a slow start Tuesday against the seventh seeded Hornets who got a 22-point performance from Trevor Ariza.

Chris Paul, who has been their best player in the series, had 20 points and 12 assists for the Hornets. New Orleans has lost three of four since shocking the Lakers in game one.

Game six is Thursday at the New Orleans Arena.

The Hornets made 61 percent of their shots in the first half, but could not duplicate the feat in the second.

Bryant was at his vintage dunking best Tuesday as the Lakers led 54-51 at the half.

Paul answered with his own superb play and scored seven points in the final two minutes of the opening half.