Game 6 Preview & Chat: Lakers vs. Hornets

Darius Soriano —  April 28, 2011

They say closing out a team is the hardest win to get in a series. This is even more true on the road. So, it speaks volumes that the Lakers have been quite good at this in the past three years. As The Dude Abides mentioned in the comments:

The Lakers of the Pau Gasol era are 7-1 in road closeout games, including the last five in a row. The only loss was Game 6 of the 2009 2nd Round in Houston. Since then, they won Game 6 in Denver, Game 5 in Orlando, Game 6 in OKC, Game 4 in Utah, and Game 6 in Phoenix.

Tonight, the Lakers will look to make that record 8-1 and prepare for round 2 by getting the win tonight.

By this point, there are no more secrets in this series. The Lakers know what they need to. Physical defense on Chris Paul is a must. Finshing defensive possessions with rebounds is also a necessity. Combine those things with smart, inside/out offense and the Lakers will score enough points to win the game. And that will be that.

But understand that all of this will need to come in the the sports version of a lion’s den where the home crowd will be as loud as they can be and the players will feed off it. Also note that the Hornets will likely try to be as physical as they can be (Monty Williams, Chris Paul, and the Hornets big men all brought up the Lakers’ physical play after game 5) to try and disrupt the Lakers’ sets on both sides of the ball. This means that the Laker big men – especially Gasol and Odom – will need to play through the bumps, shoves, and grabs that come with this type of approach. The Lakers can not expect to be bailed out by the whistle or complain to the refs if something doesn’t go their way. The key to winning this game will lie in the mental strength brought to the table as much as the physical strength.

But in the end, execution will be king. The way to discourage the crowd in the stands and the opposition on the court is to play out both offensive and defensive schemes at their highest level. Pound the Hornets inside on one end and limit Chris Paul on the other. Make Ariza prove that he can continue to bury the long jumper while forcing Landry to either shoot his 18 footer or finish in the paint over size (no easy buckets!). Space the floor on offense and have the bench bring pressure defense and a renewed pace to the game.

Let the crowd know early who the better team is and take them out of the game. Make this contest less about emotion and more about the talent that’s on the floor. In any given game the emotion of the fans can carry a team to victory. The Lakers need to remove that variable from the equation and end this series now. As confident as the Lakers would be in a game 7, I don’t think they want to test their luck with Chris Paul’s potential to summon a game for the ages on Saturday night.

If LA brings the effort and focuses on doing what they need to do, this won’t be an issue. But if the Lakers let Paul get going early, allow the Hornet’s big men to grab extra rebounds, or they settle for long jumpers and ignore Gasol and Bynum on the block, both teams will be flying to Los Angeles after this game. Here’s to the Lakers landing at LAX by themselves.

Where you can watch: 5pm start time on KCAL locally and TNT nationally.

Darius Soriano

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86 responses to Game 6 Preview & Chat: Lakers vs. Hornets

  1. For Warren. May my Lil’ Pau-Warren Mojo continue it’s success from game three!

  2. We need to expect for the whistles to blow in favor of the Hornets for the majority of the first 3 quarters. If we rebound, keep our TOs low and force them into TOs, we’ll be fine and have a crack at this game. We cannot have Drew pick up any ticky-tack fouls early on. And it would be great if the bench can continue it’s recently inspired play. I see this being a very, very tight game and would love to see another deep Fisher dagger.

    P.S. – Is it asking too much for a Lakers win tonight and a Portland win in game 6 and a Mavs win in game 7? Why not get the extra rest? – From Kobe’s Ankle/Foot

  3. Does anyone else find it funny/ironic that monty williams is complaining about the physicality of the last game and uneven officiating when one of the main reasons that the hornets have even been competitive in this series is because they’ve been allowed to push/shove/grab our guys in the post and force them off their spots? It seems like grasping at straws to explain away a good old-fashioned butt-whooping. Here’s to the lakers putting together another physical/focused effort and closing this thing out tonight!

  4. I’ve always found it amusingly ironic when the same media and coaching sources that say that Lakers are soft and the way to beat them is to be physical, suddenly complain about the physicality when Lakers start pounding people back.

    Can’t have it both ways. If you want the refs to allow hacking away at the Lakers because you think it’s the best chance to beat them, then no complaints if Lakers start bullying people in the paint.

  5. “This finesse team is beating us up!”

  6. Chownoir,

    Couldn’t agree more

  7. I meant amusingly hypocritical.

  8. The Lakers need to be the Big, Bad Bear to wipe out this Hornet’s nest! The Hornets can sting, but if the bear can ignor the stings and use its massive size and strength to its advantage, there’s nothing that the little guys can do to save the day.

  9. I hate the 5pm start time, as I will still be at work. It would be greatly appreciated if anyone could provide a link to watch the game. Thank you!

  10. Yes, link anyone?


  11. Kenny and Charles totally butchering the analysis of Kobe’s ankle, both citing the dunks which Darius pointed out were not off the injured ankle.

    Of course he was hurt.

  12. ….and immediately we give up on offensive rebound. bailed out by the turnover

  13. Always annoying to get into the penalty, and then the next offensive set results in a three pointer.

  14. Good time out, PJ.

  15. They are taking good shots except for last couple 3 pointers, keep pounding it in

  16. paul has 2 fouls now, is it possible to keep attacking him?

  17. Wow, an actually good contest of Willie Green by Shannon. A sign of good things to come?

  18. Does anyone have a link?

  19. why did the hornets get 2 free throws + posession on artest’s foul?

  20. Terrible quarter close.

    Lakers 0-4 from three. 2 offensive boards allowed, not so bad. 2 turnovers, not so bad.

    Lamar’s jumper is MIA

  21. Just LOVING Drew on the glass. Nothing more to say!

  22. Jarret Jack suckers Bynum with a classic D Fish move.

  23. Andrew takes way too long to initiate his offense on the low block. He’ll get that with more and more time. I like what he’s giving us right now, but I just have this nagging feeling that the way both offenses are struggling, the Lakers need to play downhill, because if New Orleans goes on a run, it’s going to be hard for the Lakers to respond if Kobe is as hurt as I suspect he is tonight.

  24. Both teams are shooting horrible! I bet the Lakers pick it up and start making those shots as the game wears on. Bynum though is a beast and striving now.

  25. *knocks on wood*

    Agreeing completely about the injury history, but I simply don’t care.

    Bynum, when healthy, is an absolute BEAST.

    And, oh my goodness, he is developing a 10-15 foot face up jump shot.

    All that size, all that length, good post moves and fundamentals, excellent defender, willing to be an enforcer, and ALSO a skill game?

    So nice.

  26. I plead you as a fellow Laker fan, by heavens! Bestow on to me a link!

  27. @19. It was a clear path foul on Artest. There was no Laker between the basket and the man with the ball.

  28. If anyone has a link I would appreciate it. Thanks in advance.

  29. I think the reason Steve Blake is missing so many shots is because of that ridiculously ugly headband. Someone needs to do him a favor and tell him to take that off.

    I pray this horrible performing on the road by the bench stops eventually

  30. Can someone explain to me why Phil Jackson is playing Kobe regular season minutes? It’s the PLAYOFFS! He better play the whole second half.

  31. We’ve committed a bunch of fouls in the first half of this quarter. I hope they can avoid more of those before the half.

    EDIT – Well, we didn’t avoid more fouls. On another note, that seemed like a particularly ineffective 7 minutes from Blake.

  32. So, I know that this is the NBA, so asking for consistent officiating is the essence of foolishness, but…

    When Chris Paul is dribbling circles around HIS own big man, who is shambling with arms out towards the lane, how is that not a moving screen?

    I mean, sure, it works out to being the same as a pulling guard in the NFL, but I am pretty sure that isn’t actually legal in the NBA.

  33. We won’t go 0fer for the entire game on 3 attempts but still far too many outside jumpers so far. More inside out pls

  34. Fisher = Solid

  35. So, just got home from the day job. Can someone catch me up?

  36. Lakers still out of rhythm offensively. The team that gets ANYTHING at all from 3 in the second half probably takes it.

    side note: I like plus/minus, but it can be misleading. Example: Kobe, Fish, and Ron all plus 10 for the half. Andrew, who imo was the best player by far for us (6-9 from field, 7 rebounds, 5 offensive!!!!) only a plus 2. He spent so much time on the floor with the bench unit, and that is a huge factor.

  37. Darius:

    Bynum is being a beast. With touch.

    Fisher has been Old Man Fish. Spacing, well timed shots, keeping the team even.

    Kobe has been hot and cold, but looks fine.

    Lamar is here!

    Gasol is being pushed around, again. I really think that he STILL cannot believe that the referees refuse to call that stuff…

    Ariza started hot, Okafor has been good.

    Referees are still referees…

  38. Darius – Bynum has been all over the offensive glass, Pau has not been a real factor on offense. Fish has been his solid, playoff self, and Kobe has been… hard to say. He’s hit some nice shots, missed a few mid-range jumpers, and kind of floated a little on D. Being up 6 at the half is probably a fair indication of the game so far.

  39. Various links, I haven’t tried them all but the 3 that I have tried are up and working:

    You may need Veetle to play a couple of these.

    Edit: nvm, just saw post #34. A mod can delete this if they want.

  40. Ah. Thanks all. Glad to hear that Drew and defense have been the major keys early.

  41. Emeka’s tantrum is too funny

  42. Emeka … the dirty little secret is that Gray’s outplayed you on both ends this series. Not sure I’m too upset with the foul if I’m a Hornets fan. I don’t like it, but I don’t think they lose a whole lot with Okafor out. Gray’s actually given Pau more trouble with his big body, despite Okafor being a better defensive player in general.

  43. When Pau gets those close out blocks on jump shooters, it’s a good sign for the Lakers.

  44. Bynum comes out, and we immediately give up a dunk. I am not amused.

  45. Yeah, Bynum is such a difference maker for the Lakers, I wish he could play 48 minutes a game.

  46. Chris Paul reverting to Wake Forest Nut Punch Mode: He’s been trying to bait Pau for the last 60 seconds of game time. Pretty punk moves from a normally classy player.

    Artest doing serious dirty work to get that O Board and setting up……

    Monster three from Kobe.

    New Orleans is shooting 100% from that low level camera angle.

  47. A monster 15 seconds or so from Artest there!

  48. Beautiful steal and basket by Artest

  49. Love that Ron Ron Beast Move on Paul.

    Phil: Bench on Short Leash to start the 4th. Don’t hesitate to go to Kobe….Hornets are staggering, but 2nd unit meltdown can save them.

  50. That’s how you close a quarter! Ron was his scrappy & tenacious best.

  51. R.J. read my mind. I’ll be pissed if Phil waits until 7 minutes to bring the starters back again. Jarret Jack has the potential to rip our 2nd unit apart. We have to go for the kill.

    Loved Artest there. Also credit the refs for not buying Chris Paul’s flop. It takes some guts to not call a foul in that situation.

  52. Any thoughts on why Paul is so passive tonight? Is LA doing something THAT much differently on D? The switching on screens doesn’t seem to be such a problem tonight…

  53. Lamar from Downtown!!!!!

  54. Loving our defense right now. Uncoincidentally, Drew is in.

    Shannon Brown really should not touch the ball.

    I love these online feeds because you get to hear the commentators talking during the break to each other and to their producers. Sort of a behind the scenes glimpse.


  56. Lamar swoops in…flash to shot of Kobe grinning ear to ear….he knows….game, set, match…welcome back LO!

  57. Odom and Bynum are going for the kill!

    Offensively, our entire 4th quarter success is coming down to one thing: offensive rebounds. I haven’t counted how many we’ve had this quarter (3?), but if we do go on and close the Hornets out, our bench went for the jugular by 1) walling off the paint 2) not giving up 2nd-chance opportunities and 3) hitting the offensive glass hard and then capitalizing on the extra opportunities.

  58. OMG, I left for just a little while for the BBQ, and we magically have a 20 point lead. I can really relax now.

  59. Furthering my point……Andrew’s +16 a little more impressive than Kobe/Fish’s +16, though they were nails in that 3rd Quarter.

  60. Bynum is a monster out there he is gobbling all those missed shots.

  61. Snoopy – I love that too. I have a copy of a Showtime-era game where you can hear Chick talking to a variety of staff members about stats he wants, and what camera shots would be good etc. I love that stuff.

    Back on topic – GREAT start to the 4th. Now just maintain and let Kobe keep on icing that ankle (and those knees, and those fingers…)

  62. some play time for our newest laker, trey johnson?

  63. Great great laker effort. It is more draining and difficult to focus and play hard. But dammit, we win when we do that!!!

    Great Phil letting bench play extended 4th.

    Go blazers!!!!

  64. Great job by the Lakers second unit in the 4thQ to extend the lead

  65. So the first two games each were won by a margin of 9 for each team. Hornets won by 5 in game 4. But in the Laker wins the margin has gotten steadily larger… 14 in game 3, and 16 in game 5 and who knows what the final tally will be in this 6th and ultimately deciding game. But,

    Gotta love the trend.

  66. I’d like to see Kobe sit, but I’d rather have Trey in the game than Shannon. Shannon is doing very little right, right now. Giving Johnson some seasoning may help down the line. Without Sasha, Shannon’s suckitude hurts us much more.

  67. Now its uP to Portland to prolong their series with the Mavs and give kobe and the lakers some good rest.

  68. @ snoopy re: Shannon…

    Brown is frustrating right now….but he hit the two biggest threes of the series in the 2nd quarter of game five….

  69. Bring on Trey, Joe Smith for the last 2 mins Phil. That would make me even happier than I already am with today’s game.

    EDIT – Well, I got what I wanted, but for 1 minute. And Trey Johnson racked up an assist! Nice late shooting by Barnes. Clearly Matt Barnes Will Kill You (in garbage time). Love Barnes’ hustle on the boards today though. Great all around close out on the road. The road close out streak continues.

  70. 66 – Shannon’s problem is he’s so streaky and his shot selection is awful. But yes, he does have some big games.

    But in a game that he’s struggling and we have a comfortable lead, I wouldn’t mind seeing Johnson out there. I don’t think he’ll contribute long-term, but you never know. Can’t hurt to give him some PT.

  71. On to the second round, 4 down 12 to go

  72. Respect to the Hornets. They competed hard, some small-time players came up big on a big stage. And although his flopping annoyed during the games, CP3 is still one of my favorite non-Lakers players. He’s the best PG in the game, and I really don’t think it’s all that close.

    On to the next one, on to the next one…

  73. just got in, had to game with friends – what have I missed in the game thus far?

  74. Six straight road close-out wins for the Lakers. Eight consecutive close-out wins overall. The team is now 12-1 in close-out games in the Gasol era. In these situations, the team smells blood in the water, and Kobe is the alpha shark.

  75. Lakers should just play on the road the whole time… haha

  76. So… we want an extra couple of days of rest….or do we want DAL to finish POR tonight…..or am I the only one who thinks LA should want no part of the Rose Garden if they can help it…..?

  77. I have enjoyed the assorted Mortal Kombat references today.

    Bynum showed just what he can do for us on both ends today. When it felt like we were going to keep the game close with our misses in the 1st half, he was all over the offensive glass, putting it back in. And his defensive impact cannot be measured simply by looking at the boxscore. Great effort.

    I have no complaints with anyone today. Sure there are still areas to improve, but this was a satisfying win.

    4 down, 12 to go.

  78. Loved the pace we had at the beginning of the 4th quarter. Methodical and surgical.

    I was one who likes the Hornets team, and it was a little sad to see them eliminated. Maybe they can go to a loser’s bracket and keep playing…I’d cheer for them then.

    Cross another one off; 12 to 17!

  79. There is no extra rest if Portland wins tonight. Game 1 is on Monday regardless.

    The benefit to us if Portland wins tonight is that the team coming out of the POR/DAL series will be on only 1 day of rest, but the schedule for Round 2 is already set.

  80. I’m hoping Portland wins tonight, with Dallas winning Game 7.

  81. Dude – Cosign on that. A game 7 with a Dallas win is the outcome I would like to see as well. I just have these lingering doubts about playing at the Rose Garden, and the matchups that Portland can throw at us.

  82. @82 so we still want Portland to win tonight so that they will travel to dallas and who ever wins that series would be dead tired not only from an exhausting game 7 but also from traveling on the road to Los Angeles.

  83. I see Fish! I see the rim! Fish! Rim! Fish! Rim! Fishy-rim! 😀
    Man, I love that commercial.