Preview and Chat: New Orleans Hornets

Kurt —  March 14, 2008

Records: Lakers 45-19 (1 seed); Hornets 43-20 (5 seed)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 113 (3rd); Hornets 112.8 (8th)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 106 (5th); Hornets 106.7 (7th)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Vladimir Radmanovic, Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol
Hornets: Chris Paul, Mo Peterson, Peja Stojakovic, David West, Tyson Chandler

Lakers Notes: We’ve been talking about it for a while — have the Lakers been winning of late in spite of their play on defense? We’ll find out in the next four games, that’s for sure. Look at these records — the Lakers are 1.5 games ahead of the Hornets but four seeds higher. The Lakers need a solid road trip.

Recently LA Times reported that the Lakers were looking at Ira Newble as a guy who might provide some defensive depth in the playoffs. So, what kind of defender is Newble? I went to the source and asked Brian Windhorst of the Akron Beacon-Journal:

Ira was guarding bigger power forwards for much of the season, but I thought he played well with the Cavs. He’s in great shape, maybe the best of his career, and he’s got good length. He would totally be a matchup player at this point.

One little off the court note, Sunday’s game against the Rockets is now a 12:30 start and will be on ABC nationally.

A few links: Good on ya, Lance Allred.

I think the injury killed any chance of him winning the award, but the Empty the Bench puts Andrew Bynum on its list of most improved players.

If you want a Lakers desktop for your computer, here is where you go.

The Hornets Coming In: If you were wondering if the Hornets are for real, they made quite a statement crushing the Spurs two nights ago. The reasons for the questions in the first place is the Hornets have not looked like the early-season juggernaut of late, so we asked Ryan from Hornets24/7 a few questions to gain some insight (I answered a few on his site as well).

1) Since the Lakers last played the Hornets, the team’s defense has fallen from 4th in the league to 7th, giving up 3 more points per 100 possessions. What has changed to cause this? Has the offense largely been able to offset this.

There are two primary reasons for our defense falling off to its current level. First, the schedule the first two months of the season was incredibly soft, allowing the Hornets to shut down weak teams. Second, the Hornets became victims of their own success. They had a nine game win streak in January where everything was clicking. Their defense started tight, and their offense was as fluid as I’ve ever seen it. But as the streak went on, the defense relaxed, while the offense continued to flow. Then, as should be expected, the offense sputtered, and the defense wasn’t there anymore. Since then, the Hornets have slowly been getting their defense back on track again, but they have been playing a much tougher schedule, making it hard to regain the form they once had. All in all – I’d say the current ranking is probably much more accurate than the previous one. I’m not convinced the Hornets have a top 5 defense.

2) We’ve had no sightings of The Birdman yet. When will that happen, and what do the Hornets expect from him?

There are a couple things in play here. First, I’m not convinced bringing Birdman in was really Byron Scott’s preference. People forget this, but Birdman was in Byron’s doghouse in the month prior to him being banned from the league, and he just wasn’t producing anything like what he had produced the year before. Andersen was brought in for two reasons: He’s close with Chad Shinn, the Executive Officer of the Board for the Hornets(and son of the owner), and the poor play of our back up big men. He’s going to have to work even harder to get Byron to put him on the floor, because he has to prove he’s better than remembered, and get past the fact he may have been forced on Byron. That said, I will give Byron credit for his rotations. Ely and Armstrong have played very badly, and his method is to let a player play for a couple weeks. If they play terribly, he benches them and tries the next guy. Andersen will get his shot – even if it takes until the end of March for it to happen.

As for what the Hornets expect from him – all we want him to do is play 13-14 solid minutes as Chandler’s backup. That means finish lobs, rebound, and play interior defense. He is absolutely capable of that. When I analyzed his numbers it was evident that if he came back at 75% of what he was even in the year he wasn’t playing so hot, he’s still going to be an improvement over our current backups.

3) Frankly, nobody in LA is going to buy it, but give us your best pitch for why CP3 should be MVP. What has he done to step up his and the team’s performance this season.

I know Kobe or LeBron are going to win the thing. I’m fine with that, though I think CP3 has as good a claim as either of them. I’ll start by presenting his candidacy in terms of the arguments being presented for LeBron and Kobe. In a nutshell, the argument for LeBron is that his stats are the best of any player in the league, and that his supporting cast sucks and he has to do it all for his team. The arguments I see for Kobe are that his stats aren’t that far below LeBron’s and his team is having much greater success. As I see it, Paul actually falls in between the two players. Most stats analysis sites rank Paul above Kobe and lower than LeBron. Arguably, Paul has worse teammates than Kobe, and better teammates than LeBron, but the Hornets are only 1 1/2 games behind the Lakers. Essentially, he’s got the 2nd best stats of the three, and the 2nd best team success of the three, while the other two guys have a 1st and 3rd each.

His impact on his team as a whole is also on par with either. Purely on an offensive level, James is statistically responsible for 47% of his team’s production.(31 points, 7.5 assists for 46 total points out of 97 points per game) Bryant is responsible for 36%(28 points, 5.3 assists for 39 of his teams 108 points per game). Paul is responsible for 43%(21 points, 11 assists, for 43 out his teams 100 points a game) Paul does that in less minutes and with better shooting percentages than either of the other two. As an added point, despite being the primary ballhandler for the Hornets, he also garners more steals than he produces turnovers(2.7 to 2.5) – and he doesn’t do it by gambling very much. Mostly he just sticks his hand in and picks his cover clean – or intercepts the ball in the open court.

Lastly, Paul is the heart and soul of his team. He runs it, he leads it, and all the guys look and listen while he’s talking. He gets on his guys relentlessly, will correct anyone, and is as fierce a competitor as I’ve ever seen. And he’s a mean bastard. When a team puts someone on him with instructions to bump and push him, he gets downright nasty. Bruce Bowen has already been on the wrong side of altercations with him twice. Paul smacked him in the face by “accident” two games ago when Bowen was poking and slapping at him too much, and last game, Bowen ended up kneeing him during a loose ball scramble, but he was responding to Paul starting the whole tiff by sitting up and giving him a forearm shiver in the nads. The result both times? Paul got offensive fouls – and Bowen laid off of him for the rest of the games. For a generously listed 6’0″ guy, he knows how to protect himself.

4) What are the team’s and the fans playoff expectations for this season? Do they see themselves as contenders, or is this a year for learning what the playoffs are about?

The season started with the hope of reaching the playoffs as a 6th or 7th seed. Due to the Hornets success, however, it seems that the consensus is we may be contenders, and should reach the Western Conference Finals. I prefer to be more realistic. I’m thinking 2nd round, with a good showing there. Of course, being realistic allows me to glow should they get farther and still feel satisfied if they don’t.

Keys To The Game: The Lakers handled the Hornets fairly easily last meeting, and that’s because they gave Chris Paul the “Steve Nash Treatment” — let him score all he wants, just don’t let him set up his teammates. It worked, Paul had 32 points but just five assists and the Lakers cruised. Against San Antonio two nights ago Paul had 26 points and 17 assists — let him dish the ball like that and the Lakers lose.

As part of this, the Lakers need to play the pick-and-roll a lot better than they have the last couple of games. If Paul gets the kind of space to operate TJ Ford did this will be a long night for the Lakers.

The Gasol/Chandler matchup should be a good one, but I think it would be smart to use Gasol more away from the basket and pull Chandler out as well. For the Hornets, David West played very well against the Spurs and Odom is going to have to focus on the defensive end tonight.

The Lakers bench needs to step up tonight, the Hornets will throw out solid guys like Bonzi Wells, Julian Wright and Melvin Ely. That group had a nice game against the Spurs although other reports have them struggling lately.

Where you can watch: The game is at 5 pm. (Pacific) on KCAL in LA and League Pass nationally.

78 responses to Preview and Chat: New Orleans Hornets

  1. Kurt,

    You sure the game is actually at 4 p.m.? ESPN Scoreboard section lists the start time at 8 p.m. Eastern, and says you can catch it live at 5 p.m. Pacific on KCAL.

  2. I got that off the site, but I’ll double check.

  3. By the way, fans of UCSB, Northridge and the Big West, good tourney semi-final preview is up:

  4. So the other day I was continuing my season of NBA2k8 (PS3) with my roommate, playing as the Lakers of course. We just ramped up the difficulty (upping it as we go along into the season), and we happened to play the Hornets, but it was the January game. We came in with a 13 game winning streak on the line (that’s sort of when we know it’s time to up the difficulty).

    It was a real nail biter! We were getting killed on defense (though more West and Chandler and their 3-point shooting than CP3), being burned on backdoor cuts and on the defensive boards. On offense, Bynum was completely shut down by Chandler. Vlad Rad couldn’t find his shot. Everybody was out of sync. We were down by 15 in the 3rd, but managed to cut it to 9 by the start of the 4th thanks to some timely 3’s by Kobe and D-Fish. Then in the 4th we just screwed it and benched Bynum with a line-up of D-Fish/Farmar (whichever wasn’t tired), Kobe, Odom, Roni, and Pau. We did nothing but play a 2-man game with Kobe and Gasol, who scored 24 of our 27 Q4 points. We played pick-and-rolls and isolations, getting mostly lay-ups and the occasional jumper. Gasol was much more effective against Chandler moving around without the ball.

    With 10 seconds left and down 83-82, Kobe drove and found Pau in traffic for a clean lay-up. Kobe played some great D and the Hornets missed a contested 3 at the buzzer, and that was the game. 84-83 Lakers. Kobe ended up with 27 points, a few boards, and 9 assists. Gasol had 30 points and 8 boards. It was really intense. I don’t mention this because of any potential strategies the Lakers could employ (that would probably be a disaster), but it was the first close game we’ve ever actually won in a video game, so it was nice to come through in the clutch. Just thought I’d like to share.

  5. Fanerman, that sounds like the kind of January game that will give your digitally rendered avatars more confidence come May and June. Congratulations!!

  6. 1.The time has been corrected, it is a 5 p.m. start in LA. Lakers site had it wrong, sorry.

  7. I am less concerned about the team showing up to play hard tonight than I am against teams like the Blazers, Clippers, and Kings. (teams that can play, but whose season is over and a victory over the Lakers would make their season, we seem to lack conviction against these teams).
    it seems like the Lakers get up for these games, so here’s to hoping they show up tonight with “conviction”! play hard D! communicate on the pick and roll defense. don’t let the Refs affect our play, no one should ever stop playing to glare at the ref(kobe). it’s a team game and it’s going to take a team effort on this road trip.
    either they come back an even tighter group, or a bit frazzeled by the experience, let’s hope for the former.

  8. Go ‘Eaters! (UCI vs. UCSB)

  9. I [heart] Ronny March 14, 2008 at 1:16 pm

    Anyone see the video of Chris Paul hitting Hodge in the privates? hilarious stuff. here’s the link:

  10. All gravy Kurt! I just wanted to make sure I didn’t miss the first hour… Go Lakeshow!

  11. Does Ryan’s #1 point ring a bell? I want to see how the Lakers handle CP3 on pick n rolls.

  12. I agree 100% regarding the pick & roll. As reed and others have said in the past, it’s more of an attitude on d rather than physical skills.

    The Lakers again need to use the mentality of let CP3 score as much as he wants….as long as he doesnt get others involved. Rotate allot of different players on him throughout the game…..DFish, Kobe, the Machine, Farmar…..give him different looks. Force him to make shots from the outside.

    I predict 3-1 on this road trip, with the one loss maybe coming at Utah.

    Prediction for tonight:
    Lakers 108
    Hornets 103

    P.S. If Houstons streak is intact still on Sunday….wow, that atmosphere is gonna be electric!!

    Laker Glory

  13. Big game, let’s start the road trip off right!

  14. Ah it’s good to be back in LakerLand. Report is done and back to “reality.” I wasn’t too pleased with the game on tuesday(which I watched last night). I really hope they have energy and a swag to their defense on this road trip. We need an energy spark no matter where we get it from. I know CP3 will burn us. Quick point guards have killed us as of late. I believe the Lakers will go 3-1 on the this road trip. I base this on the fact sometimes this team has played to the level of the opponent so I am expecting them to come with it. They are not playing a young explosive team who can are hard to get a handle on. They know what they are getting.

    One more thing before I leave….GO GAUCHOS!!!

  15. Gasol and Chandler couldn’t be more different as players . That’s gonna be the game I think right there.

  16. Craig W. has clearly made the point about Lamar “over-helping”, in turn giving up open shots. That can’t happen tonight, D. West is a deadly mid-range shooter, and I think LO has to stick him tight.

  17. Surprisingly enough, Odom is actually one of the forwards David West has the most difficulty against. There’s something about his size and foot speed that puts him in the category where West can’t easily drive past him, bull through him, or get easy shots over him. Freakin’ Lamar Odom.

    So no comments about my case for CP3 as MVP? That certain he’s not a threat, eh?

  18. Opening up with the predictions since Kobe wants to own the game to quiet all the “CP3 is MVP” nonsense right on his home floor (and everyone in Purple knows it): Lakers play even through first two and a half quarters before opening it up on transition buckets and timely kick-out threes; Pau is a big beneficiary of the late attention on Kobe who has dropped 30 already going into the fourth; Kobe finishes with 38/10 and Pau with 27/12 and Lakers get a big road win 118-103. Oh, CP3 will get his 25 and 10, but MVP isn’t a consolation prize so better luck next year. He’s a great young talent but this is Kobe’s game and Kobe’s season. Out.

  19. Ryan,

    I think Paul is more than a threat tfor MVP. I think he is a legitimate candidate. In fact, I think he is more legit than LeBron.

    I am of the school of thought that the MVP needs to be based on a balance of individual stats and team record. I think King James ( even though he has unreal stats) has to be thrown out the window in the MVP conversation since his team has lost 29 games thus far (in the Eastern Conference!) which would put him in 10th place in the West.

    I think the real contest should be between Paul and Kobe, and it should come down to whomever has a better record in the West . . . which I hope beyond hope is Kobe.

  20. CP3 hasn’t “paid his dues.” I’m not sure any mvp winner has ever been in just his third year. I doubt the voters go with him just on that basis alone. However, I think his lack of exposure and his team’s lack of domination hurt him in the MVP race. It sure won’t hurt them in their hunt for the larry o’brien trophy though.

    We gotta get some better shooting nights out of our perimeter guys and everyone including kobe needs to be disciplined on defense.

  21. CP3 is getting some MVP pub, but he has no shot of winning it this year unless the Hornets finish with the #1 seed in the West. That is extremely possible, but with the weak schedule the Lakers have left (after this trip) they should be in a prime position to get that top seed. Which will earn Kobe the “winning team” MVP votes. Whereas Lebron will get the “better stats” vote.

    It should be interesting this year and as always somebody worthy is going to lose out of the trophy.

  22. Regarding the MVP race, a lot will be said with tonight’s debate between two of the top three primaries between KB and CP3. Whoever helps lead their team to a W, will truly help their case.

  23. 17-I think CP3 is closer to Kobe than LBJ as far as MVP. I just have a fundamental problem with the (L)Eastern conference and Lebron is 5th in it. Paul truly makes it all happen, he has a more demanding role on offense, and he plays great D. Defintley a candidate…but its Kobe’s year man, its just his year. CP3 will get one, he is the new Isiah (the player,not the bumbling coach/gm)

  24. O man. Pau going down. Hopefully its just minor.

  25. Oh no!!!!!

  26. what happened to pau?????? :starts pulling hair out:

  27. Oh man, going to be a long game. What is it with us and picking up injuries, serious or the small niggling kind?

  28. Once again, an ankle injury ends all hope. I hate basketball.

  29. Mike in the Mountain West March 14, 2008 at 5:19 pm

    Does anyone know where I can watch the game online?


  31. Pau stepped on Radmanovic’s foot as they both cut to the basket. Stupid bad luck.

  32. any update on pau?:(

  33. Pau out ofr the game a least.

    I am strating to dislike Fisher’s selection of sots. Latest example, Paul and Wells switch on defense with Wells on Fish and Paul on Kobe. Fish forces a shot over Wells rather than swing it around to the weak side to exploit the mis match.

  34. Fisher couldn’t make a layup to save his frickin life.

  35. ÷àñòíûå ôîòî, íè÷¸ òàê..

  36. 34. A bit cryptic.

  37. I hope the Pau injury doesn’t keep him out for the whole road trip, what a drag, what timing…
    (man can’t we stop with this MVP talk? I’m getting very tired of it).
    so, Kobe’s gonna have a big night, looks like LO is feeling it too, but he has to bring it for the full 4 quarters. think we’ll see DJ Mbenga tonight? might be good to put a big body on Chandler, wear him down a bit.
    watch out for the illegal pick from Chandler tonight, been called for it once already, the moving pick.

  38. Wow, are you kidding me? Are our luck that bad? How many years have we been plagued by injuries to key players.

    Let’s just hope Pau makes a quick recovery, or better yet, not even that injured.

  39. Just tuned in…how bad did the injury look? I know they already said he won’t be back this game. Needless to say, it’s the last thing we need to start this 4 game stretch.

  40. Negative on the X-Rays.

  41. Mike in the Mountain West March 14, 2008 at 5:40 pm

    I use a mac and doesn’t want to load correctly. Does anyone have a fix or an alternative address. I also tried but it doesn’t want to work either.

  42. Pau´s injury looks very very bad, I´m from Spain and I´m so sad right now. It looked just like the injury he had at the world championship two years ago. Man I hope its not that bad, but I don´t know if he can make the playoffs…

  43. 38. The injury didn’t look that bad. I thought he would have been able to walk it off, but he might have turned worse than it looked.

    Hopefully, he will back for Houston but it depends on how quickly he can heal.

  44. Kobe still not back in at the 6 minute mark.

  45. at least the x-rays were negative, so let’s hope it’s not the doom and gloom from #43… I sawthe injury happen, looked kind of weird, (our announcers didn’t even notice he limped off the floor and was not involved for 2 possessions, in fact on the 2nd possession, the Lakers should have called a time out, but didn’t see him either).
    at first I thought he came out of his shoe…he was grabbing his heel…
    then when it was an injury, I felt it could be serious, like the achilles.
    that is why I am relieved to hear x-rays came back negative, let’s hope it’s a mild sprian.

    never fear laker fans, even if we do drop a few games, we’ll still make the playoffs, and we’ll also have Andrew, Kobe, LO and pau playing together.
    (I don’t expect to see Trevor back this year)

  46. Pau is down. Forget everything I wrote before. Damn.

  47. Fisher is not having a good game at all.

  48. I like Paul, but he is gettin some nice calls, Fish was there both times.


    ^ESPAN restating what KCAL said about Pau.

    This game is getting kinda gritty. As much as Im starting to dislike Fush’s shot selection, one has to admit, that he still makes those plays, such as the last 3, where others would not be quite confident about going up with the three.

  50. I’m pretty sure Kobe just had 12 points on 4 straight possessions. Just wow.

  51. Lakers Bringing Fear To The NBA March 14, 2008 at 6:46 pm

    Man, the last thing we needed was another injury to one of our key big man, especially Gasol. Darn it, lets just all cross our fingers that he’ll be back for the rest of the trip. Hate to not see them beat Houston and stop their winning streak(though their losing to Bobcats at the moment). Kobe needs to score 45+pts in order for them to pull this one out. Lamar needs to step it up a notch too. Hopefully their 3’s can be knocked down so they can help KB24.

  52. Lakers Bringing Fear To The NBA March 14, 2008 at 6:49 pm

    Down by 8 after 3. Doesnt look good….

  53. Kobe jacking up shots again, without Pau, I don’t like our chances.

  54. If the Lakers are going to approach zones by passing the ball around the edge, then shooting a 3, then they are going to lose a lot of games.

    When you are a 3pt team almost exclusively and can’t handle a guard who distributes the ball, you are NOT going to win the WCF – probably not even get near it.

    I don’t mind the Lakers losing this game, but I do mind losing it the way they are playing – Gasol or no Gasol.

  55. Sorry to say, despite bold predictions, we’re starting this trip 0-1. Let’s all send our healing power to Pau’s ankle.

  56. i guess the sweet taste of honeymoon stage fading and bitterness of reality settling in…

    we didn’t look too crisp on the defensive end… and now we seemed to be in too much love with perimeter shots… (of which we are very inconsistent at best).

    still a legitimate contender, but how far can we go with all these injuries dragging us down…. ugh…

  57. It might be a lost game but I like the new tricks the Lakers are trying out today, Lamar playing Center..showing a little zone, nice to see them atleast try out new things

  58. Chris Paul out, only 3 min left but this changes the whole game.

  59. Guys, calm down, for all we know Pau can be back within the next couple of games, and we could actually still be first in the west. Then we’ll have Andrew back as well. This is not wishful thinking, it’s realistic thinking. Every Laker fan, calm down.

  60. A-Hole Carolla March 14, 2008 at 7:14 pm

    Ha. Loved LO’s hit on Ron Paul.

    That little maggot was really getting on my nerves.

  61. Lakers Bringing Fear To The NBA March 14, 2008 at 7:19 pm

    Phil Jax left kobe on the bench way too long during the start of the 4th. Might have been a different 4th quarter and perhaps the whole game if he came in a little sooner. Without Pau, this team is nothing less but a 7 or 8th seed. Makes us tied with Houston for the 1 seed in the West with this stinkin loss.

  62. Didn’t matter if they had Kobe on the court, Lakers looked doom out there. Need a serious pep talk and at least one injured coming back early.

  63. Lakers Bringing Fear To The NBA March 14, 2008 at 7:24 pm

    Said there was swelling on Gasol’s ankle. Im not a doctor, but that makes him highly doubtful for Sunday in a battle of the 1 seed Sunday evening. ITs not a good sign. We can be hopefull of the return of Bynum…but what are the chances he comes back full speed? Im not pressing the panic button yet, but at this time, with the West as tight as it is…we cant afford to lose another game in this roadtrip or the lakers will be a 4 or 5 seed by the end of this roadtrip.

  64. Lakers Bringing Fear To The NBA March 14, 2008 at 7:28 pm

    Well u never know. Kobe can carry the team and perhaps give them a spark. They were down by single digits early in the quarter. If the bench could somehow kept it close, then kobe might have willed this team to victory today. Bottom line is the bench didnt produce in crunch time so kobe was a non factor when he came back.

  65. Here was Peja’s shooting stats for tonight:

    2pt FG : 0-7
    3pt FG : 5-9

    I don’t care if you have to help out on Paul’s penetration or that David West has a wide open lane or that they’re on the fast break and you want to stop the man with the dribble, do not leave Peja open. I thought 10 3’s taught us a lesson. I guess not.

  66. Lakers Bringing Fear To The NBA March 14, 2008 at 7:32 pm

    We play houston, dallas, and utah next. 3 playoff and great teams. Well there goes my b-ball day. Guess ill just watched some college hoops…..
    Lets all hope for the best that Gasol is good to play.

  67. I missed a good chunk of the game, but I have a question: did we ever try having Sasha guard Chris Paul? It seems like the most ligical match-up to me. Sasha is one of our best perimeter defenders, and could really get under Paul’s skin after a while, and he also has a good half a foot on him to contest shots or get in the way of passes, and he could probably keep in front of him on drives. Has this been tried yet, and if not, why not?

  68. I think the lakers did a pretty solid job on defense the first half and part of the 3rd quarter. When the game was blown open, it was because of the pick & roll again. Late rotations, and it didn’t help that Kobe was playing his half assed defense. He just didn’t defend at all tonight. This led to the offense being sputtering, probably as a direct result of Gasol going down. With Gasol, the ball could go in and out and move around. Without him, Kobe went into takeover mode for a period of time which had the rest of the team standing around.

    So although Gasol’s injury hurt, this was definitely a winnable game. The defense, once again, just wasn’t up to par. I hope Kobe starts to practice what he preaches. I see him resorting back to 06 Kobe, the one that stays in a semi-zone semi-man. This spreads down to the rest of the team. If he’s playing hard defense, the rest of the team will do as well. If he’s not, then bad things happen to the team.

  69. Lakers Bringing Fear To The NBA March 14, 2008 at 7:47 pm

    Well we couldnt stop chris paul tonight. He had like 16 or 17 assist today. Thats why i think we should get Ira Newble to get our defense more muscle. Plus, hes a versatile defender who can guard bigs and small. D-Fish had bad shot selection tonight. Kobe and Fisher needs to show there leadership and bring this team together even though theres a chance that Gasol is out for some games(worse case scenario is this whole road trip). Watching UCLA and USC rite now. Good game for now…though UCLA might blow it open.

  70. @70

    I disagree about adding more players, especially at this late in the season. Pau Gasol’s transition into the offense was made smooth because of his high basketball IQ. I doubt Ira Newble can get a hang of it in this short span of time. The Lakers should focus the majority of their practices on defense, as that is hurting us most.

    I agree about the shot selection, especially when the Hornets went into a zone. Farmar was very timid about passing it into the middle, as was Kobe. Instead, it was settling for threes and on a night the offense wasn’t clicking, it came back to hurt us.

    PJ’s decision to rest Kobe during that critical stretch in the 4th quarter was a puzzler. But I’m guessing he has his reasons. I think someone mentioned it best, that this Laker team has yet to develop a killer instinct, which is ironic since Kobe has been seen as the alpha killer in the league for awhile now. But the team as a collective whole does not have that mentality to “rip a heart out”, so to speak. That attitude is definitely needed.

  71. Lakers Bringing Fear To The NBA March 14, 2008 at 9:01 pm

    Totally agree with the defense. We’ve allowed way too many teams to score over 100 this season. As a laker fan…”We want tacos!”. All im saying is try an experiment with Newble and if possible, sign him to a 10 day contract id thats still possible like i said.
    Somehow, we gotta put a fire on this team to play defense. This team can definitely score, but can they defend is the question. Perhaprs Ira can bring some energy in that end of the court. Remember, he doenst have to score since this team can already do that well.

    Again, agree with you about Phil leaving Kobe on the bench. But with this being such a big game that means a lot to the western conf standings, Kobe needed to be out there to guide the team…especially when Gasol went down.
    This team lost its confidence and swagger once he left the game.
    Overall, this team needs to play smart D on the pick and roles and need to cut down there 3 pt attempts and attack the rim a lot more through drible penetrations and get easier shot opportunities.

  72. The Lakers are immediately a different team without Pau Gasol. After his injury, I think that the whole team went into shock.

    During the First half, Lamar played inspirational basketball, and, along with Luke, kept the Lakers in the game–even in the lead.

    Then the coaches told Lamar that the Hornets were incapable of guarding him–(how could they?)–and he (predictably) reverted to pre-Gasol. He hoisted a total of three (count ’em) of his patented Oh! No! Dumb! 3 point attempts (and missed them all, of course). He went his usual one miss, one hit on his free throws. But the play that led Phil to call a time out in the third was one that illustrated his complete reversion. He made a great effort to corral a rebound, then threw a hopeless length of court lob (intended for Kobe) that was picked off and turned into Hornet points.

    Kobe also reverted to the Kobe of old, and the team almost looked like a Tomjanovich Laker era throwback (upcheckers paradise)–with better defense.

    Let’s hope for the best rather than fear for the worst.

  73. relax peoples. We lost on the road to avoid team. We can take a bunch of positives from this game. We played solid d the first half. This something we can take with us on the rest of the road trip. If we play solid D (which we are capable of) we can stay in each and evry one of these tough road games. Also Odom and luke had pretty good games.

    Kobe played out of his mind tell he felt the need to take over. I can’t blame him to tell the truth, it felt like the game was slipping away at this point.

    And oh yeah, I’m as big a laker fan as there is, but CP3 IS the MVP if you’re defining MVP under the parameters of “most valuable player to your team.” he makes that team go. He can get to any spot on the floor he wants to. He sets up teammates with countless open looks and lobs. He’s hitting wide open 3s. He can no doubt finish in the lane. The guy’s a beast at the most important position on the court. Definately a joy to watch as a b-ball fan. (and yes, I know that I tend to take Kobe for granted from watching him so much)

  74. If there’s anything good that will come out of this most-recent setback of ours – it will be Kobe for MVP. Remember that before the game, Kobe had Pau vs Chandler in mind. When Pau went out in the 9:24 mark in the 1st, Kobe’s instinct took over but he had relied on his team so much – who incidentally stunk it up. Fish was off-target and Lamar was begging for calls the whole game. Luke had a few nice stretches but that CP# guy was too quick for the Luke Waltons to cover the other men esp that Peja is 6’10 himself playing the perimeter.

    As for the next game, not to say I’m hoping, but Pau looks unlikely to play. They would rather rest it to keep the swelling down and will probably be back within a week. By this time, the road trip would be over but we could see a totally different Kobe in these stretches. Kobe will have a different mind set on his mind and he will let the whole world know who’s MVP when you’re 2 seven footers are down, and you will beat the NBA’s hottest team on a 21-game streak.

  75. are reporting that Pau will be out for the remainder of the trip:

    “Pau Gasol was injured in the 1st Quarter of the Lakers game at New Orleans. Pau rolled his ankle and immediately left the game. X-rays were negative. The ankle sprain is severe enough that he will miss the remainder of the Lakers 4 game road trip. Pau will be re-assessed in the next few days to determine the full extent of the injury.”

    I’m just so heart broken right now.

  76. Could this be the time to look into the status of Chris Mihm?

  77. Mike in the Mountain West — If you read down this far, next time try

    It loads fine on my Mac. You just copy/paste the link into QuickTime (you must have Flip4Mac for this to work). Janeironation works great for both live and archive.

    Another one to try:

    Andromeda only works for me for live, not archive.