Lakers forward Devin Ebanks tries to grab the ball below Hornets center… (Gerald Herbert / Associated…)
NEW ORLEANS -- Kobe Bryant missed another game because of a sore left shin but the Lakers survived the first half against New Orleans ... barely.
Pau Gasol had 15 points and five rebounds as the Lakers took a 44-43 halftime lead Monday at New Orleans Arena.
Bryant is being called day-to-day by the Lakers, who finish a three-game trip Wednesday in San Antonio. Trainer Gary Vitti re-evaluated him earlier Monday and detected improvement in the shin but not enough to let him play.
Devin Ebanks had six points in the first half for the Lakers (35-22), who struggled in two victories over the Hornets last month. Andrew Bynum had a quiet first half, collecting seven points on two-for-seven shooting.
The most noticeable thing he did was deliver a bizarre foul on New Orleans point guard Greivis Vasquez above the three-point line after not getting a call at the other end late in the second quarter. Hornets fans began to boo Bynum after that.
Chris Kaman had 12 first-half points for the Hornets (15-41).
The Lakers entered the night only half a game ahead of the Clippers for third place in the Western Conference.
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Without Kobe Bryant, Lakers lead New Orleans at halftime, 44-43