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The Lakers huddle before entering the court at New Orleans Arena on Sunday night before Game 4 of their first-round playoff series against the Hornets.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

Hornets forward Trevor Ariza goes for a steal on an inbounds pass to Lakers guard Kobe Bryant in the first half of Game 6 on Thursday night at New Orleans Arena.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

Lakers point guard Derek Fisher comes up with a steal against Hornets power forward Carl Landry, left, in Game 6 on Thursday night at New Orleans Arena.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

Hornets guard Willie Green gives point guard Chris Paul a pat on the head during the closing moments of their 98-80 loss to the Lakers in Game 6 on Thursday night at New Orleans Arena.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

Hornets center DJ Mbenga tries to cut off a drive by Lakers forward Lamar Odom, who was fouled on the play by New Orleans forward Jason Smith, in background, during Game 6 on Thursday night at New Orleans Arena.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

Kobe Bryant is congratulated by fans after leading the Lakers to a 98-80 victory over the Hornets in Game 6 of their playoff series on Thursday night at New Orleans Arena.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

Lakers fan David Strange of Conway, Ark., takes pictures during warmups before Game 6 of the NBA playoffs.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

Lakers Ron Artest, right, battles for a rebound with the Hornets' Carl Landry as Trevor Ariza, left, and Kobe Bryant look on at Staples Center.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

New Orleans guard Marco Belinelli tries to save the ball from going out of bounds on Wednesday night at Staples Center.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

Lakers guard Kobe Bryant fouls Hornets center Emeka Okafor during a shot in the fourth quarter Tuesday night at Staples Center.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

Lakers guard Kobe Bryant is assisted off the court at the end of the first half after he bruised the back of his neck during a fall into an empty courtside seat on Sunday afternoon at Staples Center.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

Lakers power forward Pau Gasol collides with Hornets center DJ Mbenga on a drive in the second quarter Sunday afternoon at Staples Center.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

Khloe Kardashian looks on from her front row seat before the Los Angeles Lakers and the New Orleans Hornets play Game Two of the NBA Western Conference playoffs at Staples Center.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

Lakers point guard Derek Fisher looks to pass as he's knocked off balance colliding with New Orleans point guard Chris Paul during Game 2 of the playoffs at Staples Center.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

Lakers guard Kobe Bryant cuts off the drive of New Orleans point guard Chris Paul during Game 3 of their playoff series.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

Lakers guard Kobe Bryant buries his head in his jersey after disputing a referee's call in game two of the NBA Western Conference playoffs at Staples Center.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

Lakers point guard Derek Fisher marks Hornets point guard Chris Paul during Game 1 on Sunday afternoon at Staples Center.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

New Orleans guards Chris Paul (3) and Jarrett Jack (2) celebrate after Paul's second consecutive jumper gave the Hornets a 94-87 lead late in Game 1 at Staples Center on Sunday afternoon.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

The Lakers' Andrew Bynum pleads his case with referee Dan Crawford after a foul was called on the center in Game One of their playoff series with the Hornets at Staples Center.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

New Orleans point guard Chris Paul is surrounded by Lakers players after calling a timeout during Game 4 on Sunday night.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

Hornets center Aaron Gray and Lakers point guard Derek Fisher can't come down with a rebound during the first half of Game 3 on Friday night at New Orleans Arena.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

Lakers Derek Fisher walks off the court as Hornets Jarrett Jack and Chris Paul celebrate a basket to seal the victory in Game 4 of the NBA playoffs.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

Hornets forward Carl Landry knocks the ball from Lakers center Andrew Bynum as he moves to the basket in the second half in Game 5 of the NBA Western Conference playoffs at Staples Center

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

Lakers guard Kobe Bryant passes over the top of Hornets point guard Chris Paul in the second half of Game 5 on Tuesday night at Staples Center.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

Lakers point guard Derek Fisher stretches before Game 4 on Sunday evening at New Orleans Arena.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

Hornets guard Jarrett Jack celebrates after making a jump shot in the lane in the final minute of the game to give New Orleans a 90-86 lead. He would make three of four free throws in the final seconds to seal the 93-88 defeat of L.A.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

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The Lakers enter the 2011 playoffs seeking to win a third consecutive title.

Their size proved to be too much for the New Orleans Hornets as they won their first-round series, four games to two.  They move on to a Western Conference semifinal matchup against the Dallas Mavericks. It will be L.A.’s first postseason series against the Mavericks since 1988.

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