"We're a young team that's still building chemistry, and to come back like that is a really good confidence boost for the guys," said Gordon, a Staples Center favorite in his career with the Clippers. "We had a chance to win. We were getting a lot of stops and were scoring at will. It just boiled down to the final plays."
Rookie Anthony Davis had 18 points for the Hornets, who haven't beaten the Lakers at Staples Center since January 2009.
Bryant reached new statistical heights in his revamped role, racking up 10 assists in three straight games for just the fifth time in his career and the first time in four years. Bryant also had eight rebounds, falling just short of a triple-double for the third straight game.
Two days after beating Oklahoma City in impressive fashion, the Lakers got right back to their improved form in the first half, holding the Hornets scoreless for 7:41 spanning the first two quarters with a 17-0 run.
"Even though we were down 18, we should have won the game," Vasquez said. "It's hard losing like that, but I thought we battled. We just can't get down by 18. We can't allow us to do that to ourselves. We've got to bring the juice from the beginning. We're good enough to beat anybody if we just play with energy. If we don't play with energy, it's going to be a long night."
NOTES: The Hornets' brutal road trip began in Tennessee and will eventually take them to Minnesota for their fourth game in five nights on Saturday. They'll be at Utah on Wednesday night. ... Steve Blake had two points and four assists in the veteran guard's first appearance for the Lakers since Nov. 11. He had missed the Lakers' past 37 games with an abdominal injury that required surgery and resulting groin problems. ... The Lakers missed four free throws in less than 1 second of clock time midway through the third quarter. After Howard missed two, Gasol grabbed the rebound and got fouled without the clock moving — but Gasol then missed two as well. Clark collected that rebound, but threw it past Bryant for a backcourt violation.