Among the highlights of my breakdown on the Lakers' 88-85 victory over the New Orleans Hornets on Saturday:
- The Lakers tried putting a positive spin on the late-game effort, but don't buy it. New Orleans (13-39) remains the worst Western Conference team and played without five key players -- Trevor Ariza, Carl Landry, Emeka Okafor, Gustavo Ayon and Chris Kaman -- because of numerous injuries.
- Only Kobe Bryant could overcome a three-of-21 performance by nailing a game-winner. But the performance only raises questions about his fatigue. His 38 minutes against New Orleans matches his season average, which ranks third in the league, and he acknowledged afterward that he's felt tired. Lakers Coach Mike Brown needs to be more proactive in limiting Bryant's minutes so he's fresh for the playoffs.
- Andrew Bynum sharpened his aggressiveness in the fourth quarter, which included throwing down two alley-oop dunks and a layup. But he didn't show that in the first half, where he only had two attempts, one of them coming on a half-court heave before the halftime buzzer. Bynum insisted afterward that he focused instead on rebounding (10) and assists (2). Kudos to him for making adjustments, but Bynum could've fought through double teams better.
- The Lakers hardly look like they're in a position to make a deep playoff run, regardless of what they say.