WASHINGTON -- The Los Angeles Lakers held off a late rally by New Orleans to claim a 93-86 win, extending winning streak to seven games on Wednesday.
Kobe Bryant sank a crucial 3-pointer with 68 seconds to play to help make sure the Lakers' victory.
The Lakers dominated early and led by 21 points into the second half in spite that the two teams have been tabbed as likely contenders to meet in the Western Conference finals this season.
The Lakers defense thwarted Paul and the Hornets, limiting the All-Star point guard to just eight points and four assists while holding New Orleans to a season-low 30 first-half points.
The Hornets trailed by 19 with nine minutes to play, but scored seven straight points to cut the deficit to 12.
Two free throws by Bryant pushed the Lakers' lead back to 16 with 5:21 to play.
But Paul had nine points and a pair of assists as part of a 15-2 run that pulled the Hornets within three, at 83-80, with 1:33 left in the fourth quarter.
Bryant stepped back and sank a 3-pointer to double the gap. The Lakers then made seven of eight free throws in the stretch to seal the win.
Derek Fisher knocked down four 3-pointers to a season-high 20 points, and the Lakers also had 14 points apiece from Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol.
Paul had 28 points, 12 assists and seven rebounds for the Hornets.