Reporting from New Orleans — On this night, the reserves from the New Orleans Hornets made the difference.
On this night, the reserves from the Lakers saw another team's substitutes play a game-changing role.
On this night, the Lakers had to pay homage to New Orleans' bench for how it played in helping the Hornets to a 108-100 victory at New Orleans Arena.
"Their bench really chewed us up," Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said. "They outscored us considerably."
The Hornets' bench outscored the Lakers' bench, 42-12.
But that doesn't just fall on the Lakers' reserves.
New Orleans' bench did its work against whomever they faced — whether it was the Lakers' starters or reserves.
"The scoring is not going to be there quite often for the bench guys," said Jordan Farmar, the one Lakers reserve who played well by scoring eight points. "We don't run things for guys off the bench. But it's more about the little things for the bench guys."
The Lakers' bench has been weakened some because key substitute Lamar Odom is starting now that Andrew Bynum is out because of a strained left Achilles' tendon.
That means the Lakers are short-handed off the bench.
They have to use Josh Powell and DJ Mbenga as the big men off the bench.
The Hornets were able to stick to their regular rotation.
Darren Collison, a former UCLA star from Etiwanda High, had 17 points off the bench for the Hornets.
Collison, a 6-foot rookie point guard, was six for nine from the field, two for two from three-point range.
Small forward James Posey had 10 of his 13 points in the fourth quarter.
Posey was two for three from the field in the fourth, both three-pointers. He was four for four from the free-throw line.
Posey also spent time guarding Kobe Bryant for long stretches.
"Obviously, bench play was huge for us today," said Darius Songaila, New Orleans' forward/center who had 10 points off the bench. "James Posey came in and did a great job making open shots. Darren did his thing."
Farmar provided the Lakers with a spark in the fourth, scoring five points.
He scored on a drive down the lane while being fouled.
He then made a three-pointer to bring the Lakers to within 89-84 later in the fourth.
"When you play on the road, the reserves have to play a more slow-down game," Farmar said. "You have to control the tempo. It's tough."