Game 2 Preview & Chat: Lakers vs. Hornets

Darius Soriano —  April 20, 2011

The Lakers have had ample time to stew over their game 1 effort. They got a healthy heaping of film study to go over what went wrong and have had time to reset their focus on what needs to be done. In that same vain, we’ve talked adjustments on both sides of the ball on some of the things that we’d like to see.

Beyond adjustments though, the central theme for this game isn’t so much doing radical things that are different, but rather doing the things that they were supposed to do the last game better; doing them with an effort level and precise focus that actually makes achieving them realistic.

That means going harder and smarter every minute of the game. No more blown assignments on the P&R. No more half assed cuts and screens to get players open. No more forced jumpers as players run around disorganized on the back side of the formation. The Lakers must clean up the little things tonight to get back on track.

Besides getting back to basics however, there are larger trends that the team also needs to be aware of. A couple things I’m looking for:

*The Lakers need to better control the pace of the game. If you went strictly by the numbers, you’d think this point is a non-issue. There were 90.4 possessions in game one and on the season the Lakers’ average was 90.7 (both numbers from basketball-reference). But, if you re-watch the game, you’ll notice that the Hornets actually pushed the ball extremely well and got into their offensive sets quickly. With Paul and Jack rushing the ball up court, they were able to get the Laker bigs on their heels and out of position for the initial P&R action that proved the difference in the game. The Laker bigs must do a better job of not retreating all the way to the rim when transitioning back and instead stay closer to the foul line in order to bump big men that run post lane sprints to the front of the rim. Setting up higher put the bigs in better position to defend the high P&R while simultaneously building a wall should the Hornets’ guards try to attack the rim in isoloation.

The flip side of this point on pace is that the Lakers also need to get into their offensive sets quicker. Too often the Hornets were able to pressure the ball full court with no release valves in place to take advantage of their extended defense. This forced the Lakers’ ball handler to go the length of the floor against tight defense, using too much of the shot clock to advance the ball and leaving precious little time to run the actions of their sets. If you want to know why there were so many shots that seemed to come off the 1st or 2nd pass in the half court, some of that was due to the fact that the shot clock was already winding down to the 10 second mark on so many possessions. An offense is much easier to defend when working against the clock (especially true for a multi-read offense like the Triangle) and the Lakers must do better in avoiding these situations tonight.

*The Lakers must also get back to hitting the offensive glass. Ron Artest was a beast on the O-glass tallying 5 in game 1. The rest of the Laker team only grabbed 4, with the Bynum/Gasol/Odom triumvirate combining for a single offensive rebound. This needs to change tonight. The activity level when attackng the glass needs to be higher and the Lakers need to put themselves in position to go get those rebounds by running cleaner offensive sets. Better work off the ball will free up lanes to the rim and the Laker bigs need to understand that fighting for post position has the dual benefit of getting them closer to the rim to grab errant shots. (As an aside, hitting the offensive glass effectively will also help in containing the Hornets’ early offensive work that I raised in the first bullet point. By forcing the Hornets bigs and guards stay home contesting rebounds, run outs and the ability to push pace reduce greatly.)

*Better bench production is a must. Having Steve Blake back will hopefully help as he’s a player that consistently runs the offense, looking for his teammates both on the wing and in the post to get them going. His pesky defense and penchant for pressuring the ball should also slow down the Hornets’ offense. Lamar Odom was just crowned 6th man of the year and tonight’s a great time to remind everyone of why he won in a landslide. Odom’s ability to rebound and push the ball are needed ingredients against a Hornets team that doesn’t have a counter to the things that he does well. Getting LO going to the rim in the open court and slashing off the ball when Kobe and Gasol are isolated in the post and elbow will be very much needed tonight.

I don’t need to explain the importance of this game. A loss puts the Lakers in a nearly untenable position where the combination of road games and reduced margin for error not only decrease their likelihood of andvancing, it also cuts into their ability to win future rounds. The term “must win” was coined for games like this just because of what the opposite result would mean to the team. It’s time to even up this series and get back on the right track.

Where you can watch: 7:30pm start time on Fox Sports West and TNT.

Darius Soriano

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173 responses to Game 2 Preview & Chat: Lakers vs. Hornets

  1. For W-A-R-R-E-N!

  2. warren, encore!

  3. Tonight is a night where we need to not only win, but win big. NOLA needs to walk away questioning what they’re doing. We’ll see how well Pau plays emerging from the firestorm of criticism he’s endured. Execute better, play with more energy and win the battles within the battles. Go Lakers!

  4. I don’t think I’ll be happy if the Lakers don’t win by more than 15 points. The Lakers don’t need to give the Hornets any more reasons to feel good going back to New Orleans. There needs to be some demoralization as a result of this game and the Lakers better be on the right end of it.

  5. Honestly, I’d be satisfied with just a W tonight. A slow, beatdown, 89-81 type of win would be fine for me. I don’t think it is about the Lakers putting anything into the Hornets heads. It is about the Lakers remembering who they are and what they can do to teams. I expect our guys to shake off the amnesia and restore order to the basketball universe tonight.

    OT: Reading about MLB taking over control of the Dodgers reminds me yet again why we have to appreciate Dr. Buss. The Lakers really do have one of the best owners in American pro sports. He has never let his personal life or his ego get in the way of the team’s success. Thanks again to Dr. Buss. Owners like him seem to be a rare breed.

  6. Great SI article on Bynum. Gives him a very human appearance, very likable.

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1184609/1/index.htm

  7. Yeah, that was a great article, Zephid.

    Weird that two games into the playoffs Lakers are already in ‘must win game’ mode. I am excited to see what happens tonight. With this team you just never know. They could win out the rest of the playoffs or they could very easily be knocked out in this first round.

    I really have no idea if it is an age / lack of cohesion thing that won’t be fixed, or if it is more about effort and focus. Maybe it is the former making the latter even more important.

    Hurry up game time!

  8. @6, Zephid. Thanks for the link. Great article. I’ve always been a fan of Bynum and article is great insight.

    I’m not going to get greedy for tonight. I’ll be happy with a win and seeing progress in correcting a lot of bad habits. Win and stay healthy. I’m not clamoring for a huge double digit beat down. A solid professional victory would be more satisfying in some ways.

  9. I’m happy for Odom, he really deserved it. The game preview hits the nail on the head. The lakers know what they need to do. They just need to do it. This is almost a must win.

    The lakers have enough talent and depth to overcome Chris Paul’s greatness. But one adjustment I would like to see is for Kobe to defend Jarrett Jack when he’s in at the 2 rather than Artest. Or they can put Kobe at the 3 and go with Blake/Fisher backcourt. Phil should seriously consider the latter especially because Matt is still bothered by his knee.

  10. What a greats article on Bynum. It’s hard not to be happy for the kid with all he has had to go through and all he fought through to get to this point.

  11. Looks like the refereesare just going to hand OKC a win.

    The Lakers should win this one.

  12. As we get closer to tipoff, if you find any online streams, please share them here – thanks!

  13. LOL – Billy Mac asking Phil about what he tried to do different before Game 1 to get Pau to wake up for a 12:30 game, and Phil laughed and said “We did do something different! We told everyone to get there at 10:30 and it still didn’t work! Three guys didn’t make it.” Pau, of course, was one of the three.

  14. Random question of the night:

    Isn’t it some kind of conflict of interest for Kurt Rambis guest-host the Laker pre-game show with Norm & Billy Mac?! Weird to see him there. Nice, but weird. The Wolves don’t care or don’t get a say??

  15. Is it ironic that Bynum didn’t win the jump with Aaron Gray but Fisher did?!

  16. Anybody have a link for the game?

  17. The hornets are not going away. This series is going at least 6.

  18. Man the lakers d is just bad. They are too slow.

  19. I say this time and time again, but it remains true: If the opposing guards are darting into the lane at will, and throwing up rainbow floaters, you MUST knock someone down!

    Chris Paul preferably. Hard optimally.

    Nothing dirty, just the playoffs.

    Let him taste floor…

  20. Can Lamar box out just a little better??

  21. The Lakers look completely lost out there.

  22. we really need some defenders with foot speed

  23. Sorry the anonymous comment was me.

  24. They’re still settling for jumpshots and not trying to impose their will in the paint.

  25. Hornets are running the Lakers right off the floor right now.

  26. I think Fish needs to clothesline Scola again. Wake this team up.

  27. Our defense is better than Game 1, although not where I’d like it. Right now everyone’s just missing shots we normally make.

  28. Even though we have been behind I like this first quarter energy

  29. Anyone still looking for a link:

    http://bit.ly/gyrAqc

  30. Matt barnes looks goofy

  31. Snoopy – we’re starting to make a few of those shots; more specifically, Lamar is. 12-3 run to close out the 1st quarter.

  32. Sad to say it, but I think Fish needs minimal minutes tonight and probably this series.

  33. Lakers D better but still not great. I do like that they are getting to the rim on O. They tried posting ron a couple times early and good things happened. I would like to see them go back to that. in other news pau still sucks

  34. Simonoid! How did you get this link?? Thanks!!

    Btw Lakers gatta hustle more than NO to win today

  35. ive always defended pau from the soft label but he is really living up the label

  36. Shannon brown is sooooo sloppy sometimes. That was a terrible pass

  37. Dimitrie – just go to firstrowsports.eu; they usually have all the games.

  38. just checking into the game. how does pau look so far tonight? his stat line is a little underwhelming.

  39. Pau is not a bruiser, but he is not “soft.” He has proven his toughness in helping the Lakers get to three straight finals and two straight championships.

    In other news, the Lakers passing is lazy.

  40. LO is a beautiful man.

    Our entire bench is doing a great job, except for Shannon. I really wish Barnes was healthy; his activity used to come so naturally, and now it looks like he’s grinding just to get up and down the floor.

  41. Pau played much better against NO in the season series. What’s changed?

  42. I am glad to see the Lakers get back in it and Kobe only taking one shot. Hope he gets more involved soon, but I like that others are stepping up.

  43. Thanks, Simonoid!

  44. Simon – agreed, as soon as I typed that, our shots started falling. More importantly, Odom put himself in great position to catch, take 1 dribble, and go up strong.

    And now our bench is doing quite a job hawking the ball and playing to their strengths.

    In Pau’s defense, Gray is being allowed to be very physical. I think it’s good for Pau in the long run, as Perkins and others will be allowed to get away with more.

  45. Back to back terrible calls…

    A one handed jump ball? Really?

    And then the offensive foul on Lamar, when Paul was no where near set…

    Bah!

  46. I like the energy and play of the bench this game. Much better. I’m still praying for a resurrected Pau.

  47. Love the way Blake’s fighting over screens.

    Also, anyone who thinks only Europeans flop egregiously hasn’t watched Chris Paul. He might be the worst in the league.

  48. Bynum to-the-hole all game long, foul all the Hornets bigs out of the game.

  49. fish saves his best driving layups for the playoffs.

  50. Finally we get to see this team with a little energy. It makes me feel about 100 times better.

  51. CP3 is a bad flopper, but I think Ginobili is the worst. He’s laid out on the floor more than Pau.

  52. In fairness, Vlade Divac just bumped into his own refrigerator door at home, flopped artistically, and will shoot 2 free throws on Friday night…

  53. i like that kobe has taken only 1 shot, but i hope that when kobe gets going that he isn’t cold.

    pau with the nice bank. hopefully pau and kobe can get going.

  54. Kobe can’t buy a call.

  55. love kobe’s d on paul but no way he gets away with that in new orleans

  56. Paul gets almost every close call and flop in his favor. Kobe attacks the basket 3 times in a row and gets hit 3 times and no call.

  57. it would have been nice if kobe at least attempt to defend cp on that 3.

    FAILED on closing out the half.

  58. That Chris Paul 3 to end the half is on Kobe. Period.

  59. There was some major trash talking there at the end. The second half should be fun.

  60. Odom and Drew took the initiative offensively, and now the rest has fallen into place with some beautiful ball movement.

    Love the way Drew’s playing. His focus for the last few months has been only defense and rebounding, but he’s very aware of what the team needs – with Pau struggling to create and Kobe focusing on guarding Paul, Drew’s been extremely aggressively offensively, showing off the entire repertoire.

    That was an awful way to end the half. I liked the fronting defense Kobe was playing initially. They should have forced the ball into Ariza’s hands.

  61. Actually, I am ok with the way Kobe played that. Much better than to pick up a foolish foul, and give up three freebies…

  62. woops lol. Kobe: “where did he gooo….. oh shoot”

    (slash) swagger +3

  63. Man, could’ve snagged the game right there but let an Ariza three and a Paul three cut it to 6..

  64. Much better offense by the Lakers with 16 dimes on 21 FGs at the half. Better production out of the second unit to start the 2nd quarter. Bynum and Odom are having a good game.

  65. We have to win the first 5 min of the 3rd to knock the wind out of these pesky gnats.

    Here’s to a double digit win.

  66. Kobe is brave stepping up and trying to guard CP. It’s not working out so well. Pretty sure CP is saving his best for the second half. Will Kobe have any energy left. Nope.

  67. Refs are willfully not going to give Kobe any calls. Crazy. End of the half was textbook “refs making sure this isn’t a blowout” in action:

    1) Two missed out of bounds calls (against the Lakers)

    2) Kobe hacked twice with no call

  68. Like that one…

    >.<

  69. Thats the third time this game the lakers have fouled a jumpshooter at the end of the shot clock. This team is supposed to be a very high iq team and they continue to make the same mistakes.

  70. Reggie Miller needs to SHUT UP!

  71. gasol being so bad is ruining our offensive floq

  72. what is pau doing? he doesn’t look like he wants to play. just hanging around.

  73. wow. What a game

  74. Instead of trying to force feed Gasol they should just look for Bynum. Pau seems to be out of sync right now.

  75. What is Pau doing out there?

  76. odom in for pau. i like that much better. if he’s not going to show up and play then someone else should take his minutes. he’s not effective on offense or defense.

  77. yea, bynum needs to work on boxing out in general

  78. If lakers want to win this game, then keep pau on the bench

  79. i hope bynum and odom get to close out the game. they deserve it. they showed up to play.

  80. Well, we know where the GaSoft nickname comes from. What a pathetic effort again by the Spaniard.

  81. Pau reminds me of the frightened kid in little league baseball that gets up to bat and is afraid of the ball. He was even reacting to the way the ref threw him the ball LMAO :)

  82. starting to get sick of paul’s flopping

  83. Odom…6MOY

  84. 6M of the year? as in he only plays half the time?

  85. At least Pau’s defense is not as shoddy as last game, but somehow he’s playing scared, gotta step up in the fourth

  86. We all know what Pau is able to do.

    If and when he finally gets angry, and starts to play with some fire and determination, the Lakers will finish the Hornets off.

    But, we can have no complaint about Bynum and Odom so far.

    Just great stuff from both of them.

  87. how long is kobe going to wait to take control? I hope he gets aggressive soon so if he has to close out a tight game he will have a rhythm

  88. Gasol is certainly having an inefficient, ineffective outing these past two games, but to rewrite history about him and what he has meant to this team the last three years is unfair and unmerited.

  89. Before they let Pau on the plane for NO later this week, he needs to apologize to every guy on the team for his no-show thus far. This is getting seriously disturbing

  90. pau is playing pretty weak defense too. its so frustrating when you know he is capable of so much more.

    damn it. again! another f*ing 3 to end the quarter.

  91. It’s becoming very very difficult to defend Pau Gasol

  92. gawd, charmin boy doesn’t even drive in and settles for a jumper? pathetic

  93. I know Pau will come back from this slump. He is a smart player and will figure it out. Having said that, for at least tonights game Phil should end the game with bynum and odom. The hornets have no answer for either player.

  94. Pau needs a Brazillian wax.

  95. The formula that is working is simple: Bynum and Odom.

    I hope that Kobe doesn’t try to take over, because he can frankly expect no foul to be called when he gets bumped, shoved, tripped, and hacked again and again on his drives.

    Bynum and Odom are doing very well offensively, as well as keeping the Hornets big men off the floor with fouls.

  96. People are so funny, this is the first time in maybe three years that Pau has played this bad. Every player goes through it. Relax laker fans, stop taking shots at Pau. He will figure it out. Act like you’ve been there before.

  97. The good news is Hornets is 56 points only (start of 4th). Nice defense though

  98. Never going to hear the end of it from Aaron tonight

  99. Solid play by the bench tonight. I think this is a good, physical series to get the Lakers into a playoff frame of mind.

  100. LO has just been on fire tonight.

  101. it would be nice for bynum to get a little rest so he can finish the quarter instead of pau, but he’s playing so well and is so effective it’s hard to pull him.

  102. I sense fear. Did you see Blake. He didn’t want to be out there.

  103. Say what you want about defense, but neither of these teams is championship material at this point. This is just bad basketball. Terrible shooting, lots of turnovers, missed free throws, etc.

  104. LOL Don! So true!

  105. Please, lakers are up by 10, so keep flamenco boy on the bench.

  106. shannon follows a nice 3 with a dumb play. can we get trey johnson please?

    ugh…another dumb play by shannon. kobe > shannon. let’s take brown out.

  107. So when Ariza gets hit its a flagrant but when Kobe gets knocked to the floor its nothing?

  108. Kobe has been murdered under the basket this game and no fouls called.

  109. Kobe is always aggressive to the basket and gets very few calls. its astonishing.

  110. Did Pau just make a big boy move?

  111. Nice aggressive move by Pau.

  112. Odom has been money tonight.

  113. bynum goes out and hornets get points in the paint. pau needs to be more aggressive to put pressure on okafor on the defensive end and get him to foul out of the game.

  114. Is Kobe trying to make a point to Pau by not taking shots or is he just frustrated about not getting calls when he is aggressive?

  115. Wow, when pau came back in the game I felt the same way when kwame brown made a post move…..NO!!!!!!!!!

  116. Odom has been money all year long.

  117. Kobe’s getting killed.

  118. wow. that was bad. a 4 pt swing. cutting the lead to 8 if paul makes all. good thing the hornets are missing their freethrows.

  119. I have no problem with the shots kobe took tonight. Went hard to the basket, played within the system, and forced very little. He just didnt get the calls.

  120. Wth!?! Pau can’t even foul a person right

  121. Dear Phil,

    Andrew.

    Thanks,
    The Fans at Home.

  122. Right on Kobe, just slam it down. But, I am on the edge of my chair, there is still plenty of time left in this game.

  123. Ridiculous when you can’t buy a call on your home floor….I can only imagine how bad it will be in New Orleans….

  124. It is not a coincidence that Okafor started scoring as soon as Bynum left the game. Bring him back Phil!

  125. Pau Gasol, second-team All-WNBA.

  126. please please phil put bynum back in. pau is mia. matador defense is not going to cut it.

    let’s not end the game with a bunch of turn overs. it’s starting to resemble the 1st game.

  127. Well if you complain about OBVIOUS calls against you, it might not be very helpful for getting more calls at the rim.

  128. Hornets have gotten all the 50/50 calls, which is pretty annoying. Thankfully we’ve been able to overcome that. This will still likely wind up being a unsatisfying win, but win’s a win, right?

  129. Best part about this game. Kobe and Pau played pretty bad offensively, and we still had a pretty good cushion in the third and fourth quarters. They cant shoot any worse in New Orleans.

  130. Kobe is gettin owned.

  131. Bynum in to close the game

  132. And Laker fans, dont lose faith in Pau. He will be fine.

  133. At this point, nothing that happens here matters. Oklahoma City is going to the Finals.

  134. Artest with the TREY, I believe that does it, I am relaxed now. Of course the series is just tied now, like when it began.

  135. I’ll agree. Not a pretty win at all. But I’ll take it.

  136. Pau with the big O board. He’s playing crappy tonight, but 3 big offensive rebounds in the fourth quarter shows he’s playing tough inside.

  137. game. glad for the win. 1-1.

  138. The Hornets played like garbage (turnovers, missed free throws) and still gave the Lakers all they could handle. That is not good news going into New Orleans for two games.

  139. Geez, what an ugly, unsatisfying win. Way to make a statement, guys. In my mind, a win is not a win, but a win is always better than a loss! Especially if it keeps you from going down 2-0 before hitting the road for the next 2.

    But except for tying the series at 1, the team should not be pleased at all with their play tonight. Thank god for Bynum and LO tonight, because they carried us. Artest was also solid and the bench did give us some energy tonight.

    But I just don’t understand why we continue to make things difficult for ourselves. I’m sorry, but NO is not a great team, and if we could just get our act together and put out an APB for Pau’s game, we should destroy this team. Frustrating, but 1-1 is better than 0-2…

  140. 1 down 15 to go

  141. 138. If you weren’t worried about the Lakers, you wouldn’t be here.

  142. All I expect is to split the games in New Orleans and get home court back, maybe I should be more optimistic, but I am not. I will take this win of course.

  143. 140. Boston must be a very depressing city.

  144. Big time games from Bynum, Artest, and the Bench.

    Looking forward to seeing the Lakers put it all together.

    Needed win, nice win, playoffs are here.

  145. Anyone attacking pau should chill. Watch game 7 of the finals and tell me he doesn’t have heart.
    Kobe played hard on D and I’m sure he’s still sore from that hit with the chair game 1.

    Kudos to Ron Ron and LO and most especially Bynum. His best game as a laker. The help defense was out of this world. He was possessed.
    And he wanted the ball

  146. I think we are forgetting that without Pau Gasol, we would not be here right now.

    Remember at the middle of the season when he was doing better than everyone? He’s just going through a small slump.

    Tough win. Next game will be tough as well. Go Lakers

  147. I think that once Pau shows up, we win this series going away. If the Lakers didn’t make at least one playoff series harder than it needed to be, they wouldn’t be the Lakers. NO won’t play this badly again, but Kobe and Pau won’t both be this off again either.

    In the meantime, yeah, how about Ron-Ron?

  148. I have complete faith in Pau. He’s going through a rough stretch, but will figure it out. This is nothing but an anomaly that will work itself out. Pau is still the Spaniard.

  149. Queensbridge was in full effect tonight at Staples!

  150. When you scroll through and just read the comments, a lot of the shots taken at Pau are petty and cheap. No one’s happy with his play right now, least of all him. But I feel at some point you have to support your guys and root for them to pull through difficult stretches. Some of the snark here is out of control.

    He’s really having trouble getting a rhythm going. Okafor and Gray are two big bodies and they’re being allowed to body Pau up. I noticed countless times when Pau established (relatively) deep position, but in the few seconds when he raised his hand and prepared to make the catch, Landry or Gray pushed him 2 or 3 steps out, forcing him to face up and taking him out of his low post game. It’s not an excuse, though. Perkins, Blair, whoever we face will be allowed to get away with contact like that. Pau’s played through it before and he’ll have to do it again.

    But every player goes through rough stretches. Let’s just hope this is a short skid for him, not the start of a nagging worry throughout the playoffs.

    Also, big props to Steve Blake for his feisty D tonight. He did an even better job of getting around screens than Fisher, doing everything he could to recover so that our bigs weren’t left on an island.

  151. I expect the lakers to win both games in new
    Orleans. This team has no more surprises
    left. Now new Orleans will feel the expectation
    and they will be pressing if the lakers play hard like this.

    Barkley just agreed with me. NO will not win another game.

  152. Kobe, Pau, and Fish shot 7 of 29, and we managed to win thanks to Ron, LO, Bynum, and Barnes stepping up. That’s why people pick us to win, because we have so many capable players.

  153. It’s pretty hard to make excuses for an all star caliber player who scores 16 and grabs 11 rebounds COMBINED in the first 2 games. It’s simply indefensible. By the way, I usually love Pau and think he’s one of the most talented bigs in the league. But the way he’s played to start these playoffs, he deserves every bit of criticism. It’s time to wake up.

  154. The Lakers were in control pretty much from the 2nd quarter on. Every category they lost in Game 1, they won tonight. Kobe took the defensive assignment on CP3, which cost him energy on the offensive end, but to his credit, he forced nothing.

    Yet, so many complainers, so many Pau dissers. The Lakers torture us by measuring their effort, by measuring the full length of the Playoffs. This is new data?

    We’ve won back to back championships and each path has had these types of agonizing moments, so a little faith, love and perspective is in order.

    Cheers. Go Lakers!

  155. I agree that Pau played badly, but I was just as frustrated with Kobe at times. Fouling CP3 on two three point attempts at the end of the shot clock (and earning a T when he clearly was in the wrong) and not passing out of double teams (which led to a couple of turnovers), not to mention the poor shooting.

    And I agree with Snoopy, people love to bash Pau and it goes too far. He seems to be the whipping boy while Kobe is untouchable.

  156. It must be playoff time as the fans that only know how to complain come out of the woodwork to do their thing. Pau played poorly on offense again. He got muscled off his spots & the Lakers did little to actually get him going (something I’ll go into in the recap). His defense was much better than in game one and his rebounding improved on the offensive end while regressing on the defensive end. Needless to say he can play loads better.

    That said, why kill him over it? He’s trying but not succeeding. Sometimes I think some would rather him fail just so they can point out how bad he is. I just don’t get it.

  157. I’ll take a positive approach. Kobe and Pau had bad games and the Lakers get the W. I have a hard time believing they will both struggle in the same game again. The Lakers need to get game three. They don’t need to play from behind anymore in this series.

    As a side note, it would be nice for Kobe to get some fair treatment from the refs in his own building. I mean seriously, the guy was getting hacked to death out there. It won’t be any better in New Orleans. They will need Pau in New Orleans. Andrew’s physical style of play will surely land him in foul trouble down there. Pau’s smoother post game will be a necessity. I have faith the big Spaniard will get it together.

  158. The second quarter was a fun blitzing quarter to watch. At one point the Lakers were down nine (20-11), and then after 8 minutes of play were up (43-33). Thats a 32-13 run and basically won us the game, cuz the offense was turnover prone after halftime.

    Im not gonna criticize Pau, as he did have a bad game, but was it worse than that of any of the NO bigs (Okafor didn’t play the first half, Landry’s shots stopped falling after the half, and Grey experienced his 15 minutes of playoff fame).

    The game was real physical tonight – we could be super physical with Paul (the same plays were foul calls in game 1), and they could be super physical with Pau. In a physical game against NO we should win, as we have better bigger bodies.

    And I thought Kobe was in control for the majority of the night, aside from the foul+tech. Its not like the guy was taking fade-aways with bigs out of offensive position, he took it to the hole, got hit, and wasn’t getting a whole lotta calls. Trevor played him well tonight.

    So why exactly are people whining? Because we didn’t win by 35? Isn’t the playoffs supposed to be tough? Wouldn’t it be worse for THIS team to blow NO out, cuz then they would totally relax again in game 3?

  159. I truly believe that Kobe has burned too many bridges with the refs, cuz he just straight up doesn’t get calls unless its an outright ridiculous foul.

    Price he pays for complaining a lot, but its still unfair nonetheless. Kobe gets 15 free throws tonight if the back of his jersey says “Durant” or “James” or “Wade” or “Ginobili.”

    Such is life. No use complaining anymore about it.

  160. A good, absolutely, necessary win. I’ll start with the point I feel is going to be the talking point throughout this postseason. So much is helped by just playing hard. The Lakers played hard all night tonight, and despite how ugly things looked at times, I never really felt worried throughout this game because, quite honestly, New Orleans isn’t bringing enough to the table for it to matter, AS LONG AS THE LAKERS PLAY HARD. Other teams will demand the Lakers play hard and well in order to win, but this is not one of those teams.

    Pau is in a slump. Let’s just leave it at that. He’s doing his best to get through it, and he will. I think we’d all agree that this is the round where we want him struggling, no?

    Offensively, the Lakers have miles to go before they earn even a B or B+, but I did love Bynum’s physicality and agression, and Lamar’s midrange/floater game was nails tonight. Darius mentioned this during the game, but Barnes’ off ball movement is something I don’t think would be so bad to see mixed in with the starting five. I like what Ron Ron has to contribute, but when stagnation becomes a problem, Barnes would be a good short term elixir because he literally “runs” the offense.

    The Lakers will need to bring this energy to New Orleans. I’m not ready to dismiss the Hornets as having won their last game of the season, but the bottom line is that Pau was still subpar, Kobe didn’t get to double digits ( I don’t think), the Lakers gifted the Hornets two buzzer beaters plus two Kobe fouls on Paul threes, plus the usual 2-4 low iq plays from Shanwow and Fish (who is committing some seriously ridiculous fouls.) and still the Lakers were dribbling out the clock at the end. People fret about nobody having the stones to criticize Kobe on the team, but I wonder if an unwillingness to criticize the rightly earned “St. Derek” from within is a factor here. I mean, if these plays were coming from any other player……

    side note: I am a bigger and bigger fan of Monty Williams each time out. I like his demeanor, and he is clearly a very effective young coach. I think the days of the screamers succeeding as coaches are coming to an end (look at who’s really successful and young as coaches in the NBA now: Brooks, McMIllan, Williams, even Spoelstra) and I sure hope he gets a long and hard look from Dr. Buss if/when we need to replace PJ.

    15 to go.

  161. @RJ

    I agree with what you say about coaching. Honestly, I attribute a lot of that to Phil Jackson. He won’t get the credit, but the man has revolutionized coaching in the NBA. The screaming and yelling from the bench doesn’t cut it with pro players anymore. You have to have more intelligent ways of motivating your players.

  162. Bynum: Played a great all around game but didn’t get the ball enough

    Odom: Really controlled the game and took charge of the second unit

    Artest: Another great playoff game for him. He just plays as strong as he looks.

    Kobe: Didn’t shoot well but loved his decision making.

    Gasol: Played hard and effective on defense when at PF. For some reason tried to post up with his back to the basket throughout the game which isn’t his forte. Resulted in another bad shooting night.

    Fisher: What can you say?

    Blake: His athleticism really helped get the team up to speed and up the floor quickly with the second unit

    Barnes: Read above. Also moved well off the ball.

    Brown: Barely noticed he was on the floor

  163. @157 Just got through reading all of the game thread comments and as much as I hate to say it you captured all of the points I would have made and in all likelihood better than I. So yes and amen and back atcha brother.

    @70 Reggie Miler is unfrigginbearable. His overt bias is uber obnoxious. When Kobe lost the ball out of bounds near the end of the 4th the replay clearly showed that he was hit on the wrist and Reggie continued to maintain that it was Kobes’s bad.

    All in all a satisfying win. Kobe & Pau will both average more offense in the remaining games. NO will make more of their free throws. Kobe will still get no love from the refs. Ron is on fire. Blake is back. Aaron Gray will experience reversion to the mean and Chris Paul will have one more awesome game. But this will all be over in 6 games max and the Lakers will be the better for it.

    In last years run we went 16-12 in the playoffs. Extended series do take a toll but this is more than offset by the value of being tested and battle hardened. In the end we will be thanking the Hornets for getting us ready for the more severe tests to come.

  164. @162. Aaron, I’ll expand on your last player.

    Brown: had one great possession on an offensive set, when he fed Drew in the post, got it back, re-fed him, and got it back for a wide open three which he measured and sank. Next possession, forgot everything that worked on the previous possession, chose not to feed Drew, dribbled to his left and shot a contested two-point brick. A brick that my friend Walter wanted to hurl through my big screen, not realizing he was actually hurling his ex-wife’s Pomeranian. Shomer shabbos!

  165. Dude,
    Haha. I felt the same way. But I’m worried about Kobe having to guard PGs the whole game. He isn’t 25 anymore. We brought in Artest so he didn’t have to bang against bigger SFs and now he has to chase around little PGs.

  166. @163. Slight correction – in last season’s championship run, the record was 16-7. The year before we were either 16-6 or 16-7.

  167. The antennas were up tonight. The team was focused and playing with effort. How many more ways can writers say that?

    Bynum was involved on the block and was a major reason we fought back early in the game. His success on offense sparked his effort level on defense and was a major part of the win.

    The defensive attention given to Chris Paul was a huge difference maker. Credit to the team, (not just Kobe) for fighting over screens and dictating what Paul could do.

    It’s just effort. When Kobe scores under 15 that usually means we win because everyone else has stepped up!

    LA is going to sleep well tonight.

  168. @164 Would that Shannon be only slightly more of a follower. But alas he is the polar opposite of the shomer Shabbat archetype. He’s one enigmatic dude. If he would just abide like that other Dude.

  169. Dude-My error. I didn’t double check. Of course considering my source, Ron Artest during his interview with Cheryl Miller, I really have no justifiable defense. Guilty as charged.

  170. @163: actually, 12 losses (i.e. four 4-3 series) is the most you can sustain during the playoffs.

  171. @168. Probably doesn’t like In N Out either :(
    @169. In Ron’s defense, he was probably thinking about unicorns and robots when he said that.

  172. Yet again incredible animosity by refs toward a limping 32 year old.Nearly got Sterned again.