Postgame Report – Round 1, Game 2: Lakers vs. Hornets – Back In Business (78-87, Win)

Photo by Harry How | Getty Images

Lamar Odom stood by the Laker bench before the game, with Mitch Kupchak at center court getting ready to present him with the Sixth Man of the Year trophy. Odom looked to his left at his captain, Kobe Bryant, who gave him a fist bump to go along with a giant smile. Bryant knows what Odom means to this Laker team, and after receiving the award in front of the fans who had supported his place on the bench, the Lakers’ sixth man played a signature all-around game that helped his team even the series; you know, just in case there were still any doubters out there.

 

If not for Odom’s contributions tonight, the Hornets may have led the series 2-zip heading to New Orleans. Unlike in Game 1 where Kobe Bryant dominated with his offense, the Lakers’ captain spent the evening trying to get his teammates involved, not to mention chasing Chris Paul around. With Pau Gasol still unable to find his game (8 points on 2-10, 5 rebounds, 3 blocks), it was up to the other Lakers to lead the way, and helping to lead the charge off the bench was none other than Lamar Odom. Odom had 16 points on 8-12, seven rebounds, two assists and a block. He laid up a lob from Bryant, received the ball in transition from Shannon Brown from a fast break layup, and then grabbed a defensive board and made his way directly to the hoop for a floater with poor, unfortunate Jason Smith attempting to deter him. Jason Smith vs. Lamar Odom – it’s as unfair a match as you can imagine.

Rolling alongside Odom was fellow New Yorker, Ron Artest. Usually assigned to defend the opposing team’s top scorer, offensive production is welcomed but not typically expected of Artest, yet in each of the first two games of this series, he has scored 31 points. His 15 points tonight included two three pointers, one coming late in the game to ice the victory. He also grabbed six rebounds, handed out a pair of assists, took a couple of steals and blocked two shots. Artest has played with so much focused energy in this series so far and one can only hope that it continues to spread to the rest of the team.

The third reason for this Lakers win was Andrew Bynum. Talk about ecstatic to be here! Like Artest, Bynum’s energy on the floor isn’t just oozing out of him – it’s shooting out of his pores. The big man was everywhere in this game. He scored 17 points on 8-11! He also brought down 11 rebounds, blocked two shots, intercepted a cross-court pass and altered a slew of Hornets’ attempts that don’t show up on the box score. His face-up game was sharp (except for the 2 of 3 missed free throws), he was quick with the decision making when he got the ball inside and you can see the fire in his demeanor. After scoring on a hoop and-1 from Shannon Brown’s pass, he landed on the baseline and pumped his fist towards the ground amidst the cheers. There’s certainly a sense that Bynum is just happy to be as healthy as he is (relatively speaking of course) in the post-season, fortunately for the Lakers.

Even the bench unit, after getting outplayed in the first game, did their team well, especially in that second quarter. They outscored the Hornets’ reserves 27-13 and were responsible for 10 of the Lakers’ 20 assists on 34 made field goals. Matt Barnes, looking like his old self pre-surgery, was 4-4 from the field for his eight points, and also had two steals. Steve Blake, back from the chicken pox, handed out five assists in six minutes in the first half. Ball movement was definitely better in this game compared to the last, and the Lakers’ bench certainly contributed to that success.

In the end, however, it was the Lakers’ defense that did the Hornets in. After allowing New Orleans to shoot 56% in the first quarter, they allowed just 35% in the second and 33% in the third and fourth quarters. In Game 1, the Hornets had just three turnovers, and tonight they were forced into 16. And Chris Paul, after pouring in 33 points and handing out 14 assists on Sunday, was contained for the most party by a bigger Kobe Bryant. He still scored 20 points, but only handed out nine assists. With his playmaking hindered, the rest of the team, so dependent on his direction and guidance, could not compensate.

It’s only one win, but the Lakers looked far and away more active in this game than they did in the last. Now it’s off to New Orleans, where they have actually had a great amount of success. If they play with this type of energy on defense, move the ball as well as they did on offense, and get something out of their #2 Pau Gasol (rebound or create plays at least!), they place themselves in a greater position to close out this series in their favor as soon as possible.

Box Score
Pre-game Thoughts: Game 1 is done! Forget about it, move on, Lakers. Get your inside game going, move the ball, contain Chris Paul and for the last time – PLAY BIG!
Half-time Thoughts: 41-47 – Other than giving Chris Paul that wide open three pointer at the buzzer to end the half, the Lakers played an excellent second quarter, clamping down on the defense and forcing the Hornets into 10 turnovers and, after allowing them to shoot 56% in the first quarter, allowed jus 44% shooting going into the break. And as their defense awoke, so too their offense. The Laker bench provided quite the spark, with Lamar Odom and Matt Barnes scoring all 14 reserve points and Steve Blake (back with a yellow headband) and Shannon Brown helping with seven of the Lakers’ 16 assists. Andrew Bynum leads all scores with 12 points on 6-8 and his presence on defense can’t be heralded enough. Pau Gasol struggled from the field, going just 2-6 for his six points, but he also only has a single rebound. If he can get it going in the second half, the Lakers can blow this game wide open. All this with Kobe Bryant chipping in just three points on 1-4, but his defense on Chris Paul has been effective. The Hornets’ guard has just nine points and five assists. New Orleans only has nine assists on 16 field goals.
Most Thoughtless Play(s)/Player(s) of the Game: Pau Gasol – He appeared to be trying to do more, but didn’t yield much of a stat line for it. New Orleans merely crowded Gasol the last two games and he hasn’t figured out what to do about it. He looks rattled there in the paint, where he can usually inflict so much of his damage to the opponents. And this is just against the smallish Hornets.
Most Thought-filled Play(s)/Player(s) of the Game: Tri-State Trifecta – Lamar Odom, Ron Artest and Andrew Bynum – NYC and NJ in the house! With Kobe Bryant putting all his energy into getting his teammates involved and defending Chris Paul, and Pau Gasol taken out of the game, the Lakers were fortunate to have a back-up plan. Odom, Artest and Bynum – how greedy a back-up plan were they?!

Anna Gonda has been the post-game editor for LakerNation.com since the 2009-2010 season. Between post-game reports, she's a full-time advertising coordinator for an academic publisher and a part-time photographer. Favorite Lakers: Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher. Favorite Laker Moment: Game 7, 2010 Finals against the Boston Celtics.
  • Luke Sucks

    The Lakers won but it was ugly again. Although they were able to keep Paul from going crazy, he still put up good numbers. What doomed the Hornets were their free throws and turnovers.

    If the Lakers want to win in New Orleans, they really need to improve on both ends of the court. Odom and Bynum had a very good night but Gasol went MIA again. Just get physical Pau.

    Note to Phil; keep Walton on the bench please. He sucks.

  • ThisIsHowUFixIt

    They played the right way for the most part tonight and you saw the difference. Everyone was involved on offense and that kept everyone engaged on defense. Keep the ball moving fellas. No need for Kobe to hoist up 26 shots. Pau needs to stay tough. Shannon has to trust that he isn’t on fire just because he has made one in a row. If they play the same way in New Orleans they will win both games.

  • Lakerland Nostradamus

    Where is Touch Me when the Lakers win?
    LMAO!!!!

    • TouchingMyself

      Exactly! He’s a puss and that’s why I had to come in and jack up that name and fcuk with him. Then he went into hibernation for a long while and try to come back to call me out. I proceeded to b!tch slap him and set him back into his place.

      Not a pretty win, but the Lakers’ defense was much better. It’s a great thing to see that the Lakers’ can pull out a win and have Kobe and Pau combine for only 19 points!

      Go Lakers!!!!!!!!!

  • bbz62

    getting better… but not good enough if we meet okc.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_EBSP2NHQGTSVYUHYANRNCEYDUM 123KID

    I think everyone said exactly what I thought too.
    -Pau still had an off night and took far away jumpers, but at least he showed some aggressiveness
    -Team defense was great, but still can be better, especially against CP3. But I knew Kobe would guard Paul.
    -Bynum was amazing. I was amazed and excited that he was even directing guys on where to go.
    -Artest is coming out big for us.
    -LO played a whole whole whole lot better. Hopefully with the fact that he won the 6th man award, that he will continue to play like he won the MVP award or something.
    -The Bees came through minus Shannon. Everytime he fades his shot, its completely off.
    -Oh and the guys needa learn how to take a page outta artest on how to defend those floppy shots guys like Jack and CP3 do.
    -Overall, I thought they did better, BUT they need a whole lotta work and still need to work on details.

    Keys to next game:
    -Play hard and smart, because im sure the refs will call things more for the home team.
    -Really limit the other guys from scoring and limit Pauls assist.
    -Get Okafor and Landry in foul trouble again
    -Kobe needs to get the other guys involve 1st and then get his shots later.
    -Pau needs to continue to attack the basket. I rather have him charge the basket and get their bigs in foul trouble, than him shooting 30-40ft. jumpers.
    -And the bench needs to keep running, because thats the only way they know how to score and it keeps Shannon from jacking up unnecessary 3s.

  • kevin

    what the hell is going on with paul gasol lately, all the sudden he just become a sissy

  • LakersThe2010Champs

    Was there 2nd row behind the desk. Bynum was impressive. Lamar was solid. You can see they were taking good percentage shots and were aggressive offensively and defensively. Barnes was superb. Not sure if it’s his knee that led Phil play him very short minutes. Pau was trying hard. Kobe was just an average player, he does not impress me any more. He still tried to forced some low-percentage jump shots which really made him look dumb. Paul made 3 big shots over Kobe as time expired, and Kobe continued to cry no foul… Come on, Kobe, you did foul Chris, period. Stop crying.

  • ICE CREAM MAN

    I don’t like the way this comment board is structured. I like the old way. Anyways, why is it that fisher continues to miss eazy ass layups? He missed I think 3 of them with only the rim and backboard infront of him. Pau is soft. There was a shot on tv that my wife caught of Pau getting the ball back from the ref while taking it out of bounds. Pau passed it to the ref, the ref passed it back (kind of hard) and Pau looked at the ref and mouthed “wow, that’s kind of hard” or something like that.

    Pau stop being a butterfly. Start being a freakin bad ass type of animal (can’t think of one).

    • PricelessT

      even the referee was punkin pau man omg!!!! where is pau!!! he needs to wake up!

  • Sheds

    Pau will be playing better. It is just a slump and the critics will only fuel his desire to get back on track. Might not be next game, but at some point he will be back for us and at that point, you can book this series as over for New Orleans.

    I mean, we still won despite Pau not showing up for the second time in a row and New Orleans won one game because they played probably their best game of the season. They will not do this again.

  • Liljayster78

    This is exactly why this is at team game, and what makes the Lakers that much more of a matchup problem for other teams. They took away the Lakers top TWO scorers, and the Lakers still have 2 legit threats in LO and Bynum; throw in Artest, and you have even more issues to deal with.

    I’m getting a little tired of people saying that Kobe HAS to score more in a game where he only went for 11, Kobe can go for 5 points and if they win, I don’t care. And that Pau again didn’t contribute; I saw Pau working hard, tipping back a missed free throw so that the Lakers kept possession. Time to look past the scoring stats yo.

    And @Ice Cream Man – Fish is only projected to make one per game =) Sheesh!

    • ICE CREAM MAN

      Glad you gave me the heads up. I was beginning to think he was suppose to make all the open layups. Oh, and another thing about Pau. Why is it that he is quick to slap it back instead of going for the rebound? Isn’t he as tall as Bynum? I don’t see Bynum doing that. He had a chance to get the rebound under the rim but he rather slap it back. Another thing, why can’t he ever hold the ball? He is always letting it get slapped loose.
      Pau stop being a butterfly and be a bad ass freakin fire breathing DRAGON or something.

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  • hoop247

    there we go, those fake bees can’t hang wit us. Fucc them. I wanna see a laker yak on one of those fuccin fake bees. It would be sweet.

  • hoop247

    there we go, those fake bees can’t hang wit us. Fucc them. I wanna see a laker yak on one of those fuccin fake bees. It would be sweet.

    • ICE CREAM MAN

      Are you talking about the Killer Bees or the Hornets? Sounds like there is alot of anger stored in you. Ummm…I will swing by your neighborhood and give all the kids a couple of popsicles from my truck. Oh yeah…doing it for my peeps.

  • laffsatu

    kobe should score less and pass more

  • Hallwalter1234

    Pau is playing so soft! Why?