Forget for a minute that it happened against the New Orleans Hornets, the team with the worst home record in the Western Conference.

Disregard for a few seconds how the Lakers found themselves down 25 points — 25 points — to the team paying rent in the West basement for much of the time this season.

The Lakers might have finally found something in their goofiest twist yet, their largest comeback since 2002 with a 108-102 victory Wednesday at New Orleans Arena.

All it took was a 20-0 run to end the game, amid 12 consecutive missed Hornets shots and five New Orleans turnovers in the final six minutes.

Yes, it was against the woeful Hornets, but had there been a happier Lakers locker room all season? Doubtful.

Did it get even more cheerful with many, many eyes watching a locker-room TV for the climax of the Houston-Dallas game? Absolutely.

Somewhere, Utah wasn't smiling, its lead over the Lakers down to 11/2 games for the West's eighth and final playoff spot. Seventh-place Houston is now only two games ahead of the Lakers (31-31).

In a development that would make the West's upper crust shift a bit in comfy playoff-bound chairs, Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard looked formidable at the same time.

It took 62 games, give or take a false alarm here and there, but Bryant dominated on offense (42 points, 14-for-21 shooting, 12 assists) while Howard had 20 points, 15 rebounds, four blocked shots and three steals.