Lakers/Hornets Game 1: That Chris Paul Guy Is Good

Phillip Barnett —  April 17, 2011

Coming into this afternoon’s game, no one was really willing to give the New Orleans Hornets a puncher’s chance in upsetting the Lakers in this first round playoff series. The Lakers swept the Hornets in their season series, with the Hornets’s biggest lead in any of the games was a mere four points. But as the Lakers have proven for the last two seasons, the post season can bring out the best in teams, and more specifically, individual players. New Orleans’ Chris Paul proved that the Lakers are going to have to beat this Hornets team, with a 33 point and 14 assist outing, the Paul-led Hornets will not be giving any games away in this series.

Paul got things going early for the Hornets, finishing the first quarter with eight assists. As expected, the Hornets ran a lot of pick and roll sets in this game, and the Lakers defended them poorly. As we’ve seen during the regular season meetings, the Lakers attempted to defend the Hornets P&R sets by going over screens and forcing Paul to make jump shots over the Lakers bigs, or forcing him to get the ball out of his hands. Today, Paul made a simple adjustment and kept the Lakers on their heels the whole night: he refused to pick up his dribble until he had a play he was comfortable making. With Paul holding on to his dribble, he often extended himself away from the screener, forcing the Lakers to switch on multiple occasions. Over and over again, we saw Chris Paul in one-on-one situations with Pau Gasol or Andrew Bynum, putting the Lakers in compromising situations, with the compromise usually coming at the expense of the scoreboard. If Paul wasn’t scoring, he was drawing fouls on whoever was around to reach.

The fourth quarter was a very telling indication that, as well as Paul played, the Hornets’ win was definitely a team effort. With Paul sitting to start the fourth and the Lakers only down one after a fantastic third quarter, it was easy to expect the Lakers to make a run; but Jarret Jack stepped in and immediately started making plays. He came off of a P&R with Aaron Gray and drew a shooting foul on Shannon Brown (knocked down both FTs). A few possessions later, the Hornets ran another high P&R for Jack. Lamar hedged on the screen 35-feet away from the basket and Jack was able to easily split the defenders and hit a little floater in the lane. On the very next possession (you guessed it), the Hornets ran another P&R, this time on the right wing with screeners on both sides (Gray and Bellineli). Jack went right, Matt Barnes switched onto him and gave up the baseline. Lamar Odom slid over to protect the rim on the right block, but it left the lane wide open for a cutting Willie Green (Shannon Brown was completely turned away from him). Green hit a floater over Bynum and Barnes and drew the foul.

What doesn’t seem like much — the Hornets lead being extended from one to five — ended up proving to be huge as Chris Paul was able to come in and close out the game for the Hornets. And close he did. With the P&R working so well for the Hornets, they went right back to their bread and butter with Paul in the game. He drew a foul on Fish by slowing down after taking an Aaron Gray screen and letting Fish pretty much ride him from behind until he heard a whistle and threw up a shot. Took an Okafor screen on another play and fed a Carl Landry sitting behind the Lakers’ defense with a beautiful pass which drew another foul and more free throws.

Then, on back to back plays, Chris Paul was able to create one-on-one situations with Pau Gasol. On the first, he took Gasol to the top of the key, gave him a few moves to get him off balanced and hit a jumper. On the second, he just came off of the screen, took an extra dribble to gather himself, and took a jumper falling down over Gasol’s outstretched arms. Money. From that point, Chris Paul would only go on to score 11 more points and record one more assist. Suffice to say, it was nothing short of a brilliant performance.

On the other side, Kobe had one of his most efficient games in recent weeks, but his 34 points on 13 for 26 shooting performance wasn’t enough. Pau struggled for most of the night. He only recorded eight points and six rebounds on two for nine shooting. More troubling was his lackluster performance on the defensive end of the floor. More than once, he was beat off of the dribble and failed to make timely rotations to keep Chris Paul and co. from getting easy baskets near the rim. Looking at the Hornets’ shot chart shows that the Lakers in general had trouble keeping the Hornets out of the paint, but during that 17-1 run after the all-star break, those were shots that were either contested or not taken at all.

Looking forward, this is a game that saw a remarkable individual performance from one of the league’s elite point guards, and even with the way Paul performed, the Lakers weren’t totally out of the game until the final two minutes of regulation. Also, the Hornets will be holding their collective breaths as they await the status of backup center Aaron Gray, who played admirably in place of Emeka Okafor, who spent a large chunk of the game in foul trouble. The Lakers are going to need a whole lot more from Pau in future games if they’re going to win some games against this Hornets team and they’re going to need to do a better job on Chris Paul. It’s nearly impossible to completely stop such a great point guard, but there are a few things that the Lakers need to tinker on the defensive end of the floor to limit his effectiveness (which we’ll be getting deeper into as we get closer to Game 2). The Lakers are still 16 wins away from a 3-peat, hopefully this afternoon served as a wakeup call for a team that hasn’t played well at all in the past two weeks.

Phillip Barnett

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55 responses to Lakers/Hornets Game 1: That Chris Paul Guy Is Good

  1. Pau 8 points
    LO 1 rebound
    See how we have such a advantage against this little team.

    What’s a pick and roll?

  2. Frustrating loss, but I expect the coaching staff to make adjustments.

    – Kobe has been taking a few shots that are as cringe-worthy as Artest’s. Yeah, sure, some of them go in, but overall, the shot selection by Kobe has been mediocre.

    – Pau Gasol, this isn’t December. Wake the F up. Shots didn’t fall? Fine, understandable, as buckets often elude even the best of the best on certain occasions. The lack of intensity is inexcusable.

    – D Fish. Yes, he fights through screens. Yes, Fisher is tough. No, Fisher cannot even guard Jarrett Jack. Are the soles in Fisher’s shoes made of cement? Not even normal cement, maybe super heavy, ultra mass cement? Even without Chris Paul on the floor, Fisher made Jack look like… well, Chris Paul.

    – Chris Paul is pure brilliance in physical form. I’m sure he showed up a lot of doubters. Imagine the Hornets with David West.

    – Phil, please more Trey Johnson. Please.

    – Oh, I find it funny that some have commented that this may be a “wake up call” for the Lakers. It’s the playoffs. These athletes are paid millions of dollars. Every player claims the championship as the ultimate goal in the NBA. Wait, they need a wake up call?

  3. Perhaps Pau’s knee is bothering him.

    The Lakers will win this series, and I think they will beat either Dallas or Portland, although it will not be easy.

    But I do see this loss as another data point that says “no ring this time.” OKC, Miami and Chicago all present huge matchup issues, and we all know about Boston and San Antonio.

  4. Boston wins 87-85

  5. i know our performance was inedeqaute especially from Pau but that was perhaps the greatest exhabition of point guard play ive ever seen, and i dont see how new orleans can play any better, in particular their bench

  6. I missed the game but we all know CP3 is a baller. Always has been, and is a killer when focused, and it looks like Hornets bench played about as well as they could.

    Was Bynum largely responsible for Okafor riding the pine? Besides Kobe, who came out to play? It looks like Artest had a decent line, but LO and Pau went missing… Looks like Trey got some minutes, but it sounds like we shouldn’t give him any more? How did Barnes/Bynum look (any effects of injury?) Can anyone expand on the matchups..such as who was Kobe, Artest guarding, and who Trevor was assigned to, and any adjustments to try to contain CP3.

    Sorry for the questions… I couldn’t catch the game and am working all night so I won’t have time to watch a recording.

    It sounds like some players aren’t mentally prepared for the post season (or at least game one), but that can change in a heartbeat, and it will. The team, however, can’t take health for granted, and every extra game they play exposes them to potential injury….

  7. I’ve saying this for a long time but ever since Bynum went on his tear, Pau/LO have quit hitting the boards and defending the paint. So when bynum doesn’t have 15+ boards and 4 blocks we give up a ton of points in the paint. The effort of Bynum/Pau/LO on hitting the glass, running the floor and defending the paint was an absolute fucking joke. I remember Pau catching a pass DEEP in the post with I think Ariza sealed and immediately kicked it out across the court to Fisher. WTF is up with that? I would pay money to see Pau hooked up to a lie detector and asked how much he really cares about winning and losing.

  8. Anyone need any more reminders why Andrew needs to finish games?

    This isn’t the answer to a game like this, but I think it does indicate that Phil is being just a tad inflexible in his rotations.

    We just have to have someone to swat away shots in the paint and to provide a semblance of blocking out – Pau and Lamar sure don’t block out with any consistency.

  9. Today we found out that if you even sneeze on Chris Paul, it’s a foul.

    There was a point in the 4th where 7 or 8 consecutive trips resulted in free throws for New Orleans. Momentum-killing phantom calls finished us off at the end.

  10. Fun (non-Lakers) playoffs so far. People will point to the go-ahead three Ray Allen hit, but I thought Paul Pierce’s flop on the possession before was just as clutch. A beautifully timed display of pansiness, just as the Celtics were in dire need of a stop. I expect a TrueHoop article on it tomorrow.

    It’s a sign of how much I hate Kendrick Perkins that I actually find myself pulling for the Nuggets.

    As the FreeDarko blog retires, it may be time for a FreeDrew(attheendofgames) to take its place. I was ecstatic when Phil put Bynum in with 3:00 left, and horrified when he took him out again 1 minute later. But it’s progress. Maybe next game, Drew will get a whole 2 minutes in crunch time.

  11. Ok, so I think we can agree our performance was average to below average. Kobe played decent and so did RonRon. Drew and Fish were “normal”. Pau and LO played poorly. Average to below average.

    NOLA played a very good game, near perfect. CP3 had the MVP type of game he needs for them to win and collectively they only had 3 (!) turnovers.

    We should still be very confident. If then need to play a 9/10 game and we need to play a 4-5/10 for them to win, these are odds I like. Maybe they get another performance of that caliber, but if we play even a 7/10, we should get the W. If CP3 doesn’t have that type of game 3 more times in the series, we will be fine.

  12. Going all the way back to the 2000 playoffs I can’t remember a championship Laker team losing the very first game of the playoffs. I really want to believe my gut is wrong here, but there seems to clearly be a pattern evolving. I hope the Lakers can get up for game two. Being in the hole 0-2 is surely no way to begin a championship campaign. From this point forward I will have to go strictly with my heart, because my mind just doesn’t see it with the group. I will happily eat virtual crow if I am wrong.

  13. Watching OKC and Denver. Is there anybody out there that thinks Fisher can slow down Westbrook? He is twice as fast and a better shooter then Paul. Failure to find a decent point guard will be the un-doing of the Lakers.

    Lakers can’t beat either of these teams as Denver has two Point guards that will make Fisher look like dead man standing.

    Nice job Mitch.

  14. Good post game write-up Phillip, unfortunately about a Lakers loss. I am not sure what PJ saw from Drew that made him pull him after a minute of just inserting him into the game at the 3:00 mark in crunch time. Pau at the 3-point line guarding CP3 was not good at all. Adjustments will be made, and I really am not worried about the Lakers dropping this series to the Hornets, but a win Wednesday is imperative, IMO.

  15. Damn. Westbrook was a stud last year, but his game has grown by leaps and bounds. He’s shooting a bit over his head, but still…I’d love to see how he’d carry a team without Durant. He’s not quite Derrick Rose, but he’s not that far off, either.

  16. I just like everyone else believes we will win this series, but I think New Orleans may have exposed Pau Gasol’s lack of lateral movement. He is a very poor pick and roll defender.

  17. As Phil Jackson said the lakers doesnt seem to play well on early games and they have a hard time adjusting to their usual game time. I wonder what is our winning percentage for early games. Another thought is why on earth does the NBA adjust their game time in order to accomodate the airtime schedules of these networks. If the networks wants to cover the playoffs they should be the one to adjust their schedules and not the league and its players.

  18. @13

    Team defense is needed to deal with super quick PGs. Westbrook couldn’t guard himself if he had to. The key is try to funnel a player like that toward your help. The Lakers most effective player for dealing with quick PGs in recent years was Trevor Ariza. His long arms and great lateral movement were perfect for neutralizing fast ball handlers. But if the Lakers come up short this year it won’t be because of lightning fast guards like Westbrook. It will be because they didn’t flex their muscle in the middle. LA’s size trumps speedy point guards. They just don’t like to maximize their greatest advantage.

  19. Ken

    I don’t understand how you can possibly say, “Nice job Mitch” sarcastically. I would say, without reservation, that Mitch has done a great job, actually. we are the 2-time defending champs, aren’t we? the petulance of your comments is astounding. also, the last i checked we won the season series against okc this year and we knocked them out of the playoffs last year. we’re all frustrated about the loss today but give me a break.

    p.s. westbrook is not a better shooter than paul

  20. #12 I was interested in your query and did some research. No Lakers championship team, even back to the Minny days, has ever lost their first playoff game. Not saying that this means anything at all, but that is definitely an interesting tidbit of Lakers History.

  21. Try not to feed the trolls. FB&G is better than that.

  22. @21

    Trolling? Come on. It is one thing to be a fan. It is another to be realistic. I’d like to consider myself both. The Lakers clearly have some issues. Most of those issues are probably related to fatigue. They have played a heck of a lot of basketball in the last three years. Saying they don’t have the look of a champion out of the gate is not trolling. It’s true.

    I’m not the one making ridiculous comments about Mitch. I’m not saying all is lost. I’m am just recalling all the talk about how this team was “ready for the playoffs” and they were bored with the regular season. A few days of rest were supposed to do the trick. Not to mention they supposedly got the “best” bracket in the West. And with all that they come out flat and lose the first game. I’m simply wondering what’s the excuse now?

    From what I have read FB&G is not for blind followers and Laker yes men. We analyze, critique, and make judgments about the team. Sure, they can still win it all. But giving up homecourt advantage to the 7th seed out the gate is probably not the best way to begin that process.

  23. Pau just doesn’t want to win another championship badly enough. This is why the Lakers are inconsistent. It’s that plain and simple.

  24. Sixteen NBA Championships and the Lakers never lost the 1st game in the 1st series. That is like the stat that PJ never loses a series when his team wins the 1st game. I am not going to use the ‘T’ word again around here anymore. T. Rogers, I do not think he was talking about you, you are correct about what FB&G is all about. Yeah, we are in Playoff mode now.

  25. Ok, lets stop with the Pau doesn’t want to win, Fisher is old, Mitch is a terrible GM crap, cuz it doesn’t really do any good.

    My question is, since the Bone Bruise on his knee with Denver, Pau just hasn’t been the same guy. He’s lumbering up the court on D, and when Bynum’s in with him, our bigs just dont get back to be effective.

    New Orleans ran on us tonight. Their offense was one of the slowest in the league this year, and the games they won were built on their methodical defense.
    One of the bigger Laker problems this year is they just do a terrible job when the tempo gets cranked up, and when the tempo is up and the game becomes physical, our bigs get lost. It is the Denver formula from two years ago and most teams are comfortable running it.

    I am interested to see the adjustments the Lakers make after this game, because as I look up and down their roster I don’t see any personnel that we can put on Chris Paul throughout the course of a 48 minute game, and thats scary.

    And those who say Kobe played an average game tonight, I firmly disagree. I thought he was pretty awesome tonight with his initiation and his passing. I didn’t see him go into hero mode in the final five minutes, and the shots he missed were in the lane with offensive rebounders in position (they just didn’t get the boards…… different issue).

    Nobody is criticizing him tonight, but what was up with the NO SHOW from LO tonight. It was bad enough Pau was in a funk, but I didn’t see a whole lot of quality minutes from Mr. Reality show either.

    Where is the Laker hunger? What is finally going to make them play angry? This is the playoffs and they were passive, what are they saving themselves for?

  26. @24

    I think we are all frustrated right now. I am going to sit back and take a deep breath.

  27. EJK
    I am upset and frustrated by the last two weeks. My issue is that in a league where every playoff team seems to have TWO quality point guards, yet Mitch could not find one that could stay in front of anyone. Fish is the ultimate warrior but his defense has gotten worse. Blake clearly has not been the answer and while lumps like Smith, ratliff and Walton eat up $10 million in salaries my team can not compete at that position. In the 6 years Mitch has been GM, don’t you find it odd that not one quality guard could be found?

    You must admit the thought of Westbrook, Parker, Paul etc. pounding down the heart of our defense time and time again is frustrating. Especially when LO and Pau are standing flat footed watching.

  28. Of all the Phil Jackson coached teams, this is one is, for me, the least likable in terms of character.
    If you can’t get it up for the playoffs, then when the hell are you going to play with passion and intensity?
    This team can be so dominant that seeing them overwhelmed in such a way is extremely depressing.

  29. #27. While you have guard envy, I’d argue other teams have big man envy when it comes to the Lakers. Denver can have its two PG’s, in the meantime I’ll be quite happy with the Lakers 3 big men. Size still wins in this league over the long haul as the Lakers have proven.

    Today, Chris Paul played amazing basketball. If he plays that way three more times while the two-thirds of the Lakers bigs play below average *in those same contests* an upset could be in the making. I’d bet, though, that the rest of this series doesn’t mirror today. Not saying Paul can’t keep up his stellar play, more saying that Pau/LO won’t continue to play so poorly.

  30. Paul can play like this again, but I will repeat the number from last thread:

    Green/Jack/Gray: 14/18

    And, I also said that I think Pau’s knee is bothering him.

    As to Fisher, there is not much to say about it at this point. Both sides need to see reality:

    1. Phil is going to play him.
    2. He is tough, has made many clutch plays, and is a team leader. He is valuable in ways the numbers do not reflect.
    3. He is going to get torched throughout the playoffs, and no matter how much people love him, it is going to hurt the team very badly sometimes. This is a point guard-driven moment in the league’s history and having Fisher in that context really stands out in a negative way. To make it work, the Lakers need to:

    Play good team defense to cover for him
    Take care of the basketball
    Execute the offense and get looks inside

    And Fisher himself needs to convert open looks at a reasonable clip.

    None of those things happened today, and they lost.

  31. Excellent post Robinred. When your game plan begins with having to COVER for 1 of 5 people on the court, that’s sad for any team. Yes we have 3 bigs but when one 7 footer is standing at the 3 point line and the other plays 30 minutes and gets 1 rebound that advantage doesn’t exist.

    Facts:
    Phil got out coached, Pau and LO were fast asleep and the Lakers will beat NO in 6. My fear is what happens if they face OKC, who are faster, better shooters and appear tougher. The thought of Westbrook beating Fisher by 3 feet only to pass
    to a wide open Kevin is giving me heart burn.

    I get a migraine when I think of D.Rose if we ever get that far. 40 years of being a avid fan will do that to me.

  32. Mychal Thompson said at the end of the game that even though it was a playoff game, the Lakers were not “geeked up” for it.

    That may or may not be true, but no one was giving NO any chance of competing in, much less winning, this series. Lakers may have been affected by that.

  33. Ken,

    Fair points, but one of Fisher’s plusses is that he is good at funneling. But the guys he funnels 1s into need to be there and help.

    The Lakers’ improved P/R D has been featured on many websites, but it was MIA today.

    I think Paul wanted to make a point today, with no one giving any NO any chance at all, and Derrick Rose about to be MVP. Paul definitely made his point.

  34. Ken, put your money where yor mouth is. Could you have found a better pg than Blake last year with our salary constraints? I don’t think so. The lakers have played up and down all year. If you can’t handle that now, then what are you doing here? The playoffs are all about adjustments, and does anyone think that cp3 can win 4 games against this team? That said, the lakes looked a little fragile today, outside of artest and Kobe. It would be nice to win this series with a little momentum, just like it would be nice if artest played this hard and focused all year. Game 2 is a mustnwin, but how we win is more important than anything else. If we can’t win by at least 10 points, that is not a good sign, especially sonic it seems like gray is out.

  35. The Lakers might not have played as hard as every other team to ever play in th playoffs… But I still love this team. Gasol had a non injury and is fine. He and Lamar are great finesse players but sometime when the Hamelin doest have a smooth flow they will struggle. Big/strong guys like Bynum and Artest always can thrive. That’s why in the playoffs its good to be big. It says something for our young Center and our under appreciated SF when they are the only guys who could produce in the first game of the playoffs. I don’t count Kobe. He is in his own world. Shouldn’t surprise me that he could turn it on in the playoffs.

  36. flip, we coulda got luke ridnour for cheaper than blake

  37. “Could you have found a better pg than Blake last year with our salary constraints?”

    Actually, we already have one on our team. His name? Pau Gasol.

    It’s an extremely unconventional idea and will probably never happen, but it makes sense. Before he played PF in the NBA, Pau usually played as PG for FC Barcelona. He’s a natural passer and rebounder, and in the Euro leagues, that position is more to his playing style. It doesn’t require him to will himself to be aggressive in order to contribute effectively.

    Often, LO gets the credit for his versatility and ability to play any position on the court. But Gasol isn’t far behind.

    Someone over at SSR mentioned the stat lines for playing Gasol with the bench more. With Blake out, sliding him to point with the 2nd unit doesn’t sound so radical. Unusual yes, but not unheard of.

    I see it as a way to kill two birds with one stone. The triangle ideally means that they don’t need a designated passer but they’ve hardly run it at any point this year.

    I think it would be worth a shot, and like I said, only for playing with the 2nd unit.

  38. I hate to see the Lakers lose, but I love the playoffs. This loss is real, it isn’t going away, and I am excited to see this group of Lakers-players respond to it.

    Just read the game recap over at “At the Hive” (a great Hornets blog), and the victory was summed up this way:

    “I wanted to see nothing more than solid, unrelenting effort from the team in Game 1.

    What we got was a performance for the ages, an absolutely magical game that, no matter the outcome of this series, will live in the memories of Hornets fans forever.”

    Which pretty much reflects what I saw. Hornets play out of their minds, while the Lakers didn’t. I can’t wait to see if these Lakers are what we thought they were.

  39. Buzz Lightyear April 18, 2011 at 2:28 am

    I was not at all pleased by the post-game comments of Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol.

    They were complaining about not getting the ball and how the Lakers “didn’t utilize everyone”

    Pau…Lamar…STFU!

    Ron Artest nearly doubled your combined rebound total by himself.

    Not getting the ball is no excuse for weak rebounding, poor defensive rotation, not giving full effort in transition and not executing the defensive game plan.

    You want the ball? Go get it! Get a rebound (at either end). Get post position and keep your man sealed. If he fronts, get the offensive board because you’ll have inside position.

    Kobe went to the hole when he had the ball. So did Fish, so did Artest, so did Brown, do did Trey Johnson.

    The two of you just took weak-a** jumpers from the perimeter.

    I really hope Phil chewed Pau and Lamar a new orifice, because clearly the “Let’s manage our energy approach” isn’t working.

  40. There’s talk on some local Laker sites that Pau is a night owl (just like me), and is barely alive even around noon. I’ve thought for the past couple seasons that as Pau goes, so go the Lakers. Anyway, the Lakers were 0-4 this season on Sunday 12:30PM games at Staples. Pau had crap games in all four. The Lakers also lost the 2PM game on Christmas Day at Staples, but Pau was merely mediocre in that one.

    Ken, your worries about Westbrook torching Fish are largely unfounded. Kobe has been Westbrook’s primary defender since Game 5 of last season’s First Round. The only time Fish guards Westbrook is after a switch or if he’s matched up with him in transition. A number of pundits also raise the Fisher/Westbrook issue, so you’re not alone. If the Lakers play the Celtics in the Finals again, some talking head will undoubtedly mention that Rondo is going to torch Fisher, even though Kobe’s been Rondo’s primary defender for something like the last 15 games.

    It looked to me like Chris Paul flipped the switch yesterday, which caused me to reevaluate the way he looked in the regular season. Did he sandbag everyone? Because that was CHRIS PAUL on the court yesterday, and not the chris paul we’ve been seeing the past two years.

  41. Unfortunately,with this bench play we won’t get far.
    Still an incredible game for NO bench and CP3 in particular.Add lots of ticky tack fouls awarded to CP3 by Stern outcome is normal.

  42. If you were really a true believer and a fan, you will believe. This series now in 6 games maximum, I guess.

  43. Now saw Pau complain about touches too, that is really some weak pooh. He wasn’t even white swan today, he was more like the grey turtle Bert in this Duck and Cover instructional video from 1951:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IKqXu-5jw60

  44. I think Pau is hoping the Lakers can get past NOLA without much from him so he can have fresh legs for Lamarcus Aldridge or Dirk Nowitski.

    I’m confident that Phil & coaching staff/Kobe & Fish will have this team focused and motivated for Wednesday. It wasn’t suprising at all that they would have a let down for this game. . . . “They are who we thought they were!”

    As for the PG talk – Darren Collison made all of the difference in game 1 of the Bulls-Pacers series on Saturday. Shannon, Blake – slide on down the pine. Trey Johnson is the new 7th man on this squad.

  45. The Hornets played very well yesterday. Chris Paul played out of his mind.

    In a strange way, I’d like the Hornets to give us a tough series like OKC did last year. The Lakers on cruise control never leads to good results.

    My big wish for the second unit: throw the ball inside to Drew or Lamar. Stop jacking up jumpers.

    On a positive note, Kobe looks better now than he did to start the 2010 playoffs.

  46. Everyone wants a scapegoat in a loss, and Pau will fill the bill. But I was most interested in Philip’s comments about Kobe’s defense, which mirrored what I saw. Kobe played one of the best offensive games I’ve seen from him this year, but was notably below his best on the other end.

    I agree that defending Chris Paul can’t be totally placed on Fish (though I don’t want to excuse Fish’s completely lame defense). But I don’t think it makes sense to talk about Pau’s P&R defense when he ends up on the Chris Paul island – it’s not like he WANTS to switch.

    I would have liked to see a few more points from Pau and LO, but I hang this one on the defensive end of the court. Look at that NO roster – I accept that Chris Paul is a total genius, but to give up 109 points to that team is not championship material. And that starts with the guards and wing players preventing breakdowns.

  47. I’d like to say we lost because it was a 12:30 game, which the team is 0-5 this year.

    I’d like to blame it on our collective fatigue, injuries.

    But it’s the playoffs. These encumbrances are no excuses anymore, and didn’t this team promise to flip the switch come playoffs?

    I can’t really blame it on our point guard defense by Fisher, because it appeared to be a coaching decision to switch EVERY time. You can have Kyle Lowry or Rondo on defense, and if the coach tells you that there is a switch every time, then it’s going to be big man versus Paul, and that is simply not fair.

    This team will adjust. They will stew for 3 days (like the team stewed over the Clev. loss before the all-star break). I’m expecting an outpouring of effort and top-notch play Game 2. We just can’t afford to slip up and give games at this level, especially with the likes of the Thunder and Mavs waiting in the upcoming rounds.

  48. Well, well back to doom and gloom over one loss to a team that is less talented as a whole than LA. LakeShow wasnt going to go undefeated the entire post season. Team cannot fix things in the past, can only correct them in games 2 through 7. Dwelling on one game that will probably have a postive effect on team effort in the future is worth a let down game. Game 2 I am willing to bet LA will come out ready to play, who wants NO.

  49. I just shake my head at so called long time fervent fans who cannot wait to see the first loss and use it to completely castigate the players and front office.

    Yes, the team did a lot of things wrong and we can and should discuss what needs to be corrected. But for some people to use yesterday’s loss as a damning indictment of the entire organization while loudly proclaiming what a fan they are is just flat out inane and ridiculous.

    Just because you’ve been a fan for a number of years doesn’t count for jack if you have that kind of attitude.

  50. The Lakers will now win in five games

  51. Didn’t the Lakers lose Game 1 to Houston? Same thing here, doom and gloom until Game 2, where the Lakers showed up. I don’t think that it will go all the way to Game 7 (as the 2011 Hornets are not as complete as the 2009 Rockets), but I do expect the Lakers to take this series in 5 (aka win every game from game 2 to game 5).

  52. Are Pau and Lamar really complaining about touches?! Really? I can see them having a point if they actually did something productive with the touches they did get. But they did NOTHING. So who in the hell is going to want to give someone more touches, if they’re not utilizing the touches they do get? And how out about grabbing a freakin rebound while you’re at it too. There’s your “touch” right there. Or how about Pau “touching” Landry, who blew past him so many times last night, I got whiplash from watching it on TV. Give me a break.

  53. I’m sick of Pau complaining every time he decides not to show up. He absolutely always blames his softness on not getting touches. I didn’t see pau go to the post and raise his hand up for the ball one time. Pau is 7ft with the wing span of someone 7’3″ or so. So if he goes to the post and calls for the ball. We can’t miss it on tv and his teammates sure can’t miss him. I saw Bynum, Artest, and Kobe go to the post and call for the ball. Hell, I saw Carl Landry go to the block and calI for the ball, against Pau. The few times Pau did get the ball in the post, he decided to face up instead backing his man down. There was one possession he got the ball a few feet out against Ariza and settled for a running hook and missed. That’s the best shot Pau can get against a 6’8″ 210 lbs small forward. And Lamar was basically floating around the 3pt line for most of the game.

    So they need to stfu and play with some aggressiveness and purpose instead of floating around the perimeter all game and give up when a few shots don’t fall in. I think Pau took as many 3pointers as he did hook shots.

    Can Pau and Lamar please read “When the Hornets have the ball” here on FB&G.

  54. steve blake back at practice

  55. Monty Williams is a great motivator. He instilled the work ethic in the Blazers before he left for NO. That is why they have been able to stay so competitive even after losing their 2 best players.

    I don’t think the NO will beat LA, but I wouldn’t count on this idea that NO cannot play as well as they did in game 1 again. That is what everyone said about the Pacers after game 1. In game 2 they actually played better and hustled even more than the first game.

    If LA doesn’t get serious by tomorrow night. They could be outhustled into a 2-0 hole going to NO for 2 games.