Postgame Report: Lakers vs. Hornets – Easy Like Sunday Morning… (84-102, Win)

Photo by Harry How I Getty Images

…or, well, night. With the Hornets’ David West out, along with his 18.9 ppg, 7.60 rpg and 2.3 apg, New Orleans needed to dig deep to win this game and found they stood in shallow waters compared to the Lakers’ ocean.

Andrew Bynum, the team’s superstar since the All-Star break, found himself in foul trouble, but despite his absence for the majority of the game, the Lakers were still more than okay. Even after getting called for his fifth foul on a terrible Aaron Gray flop (and “flop” doesn’t begin to describe what that delayed dive was), Bynum soldiered on and scored 7 of his 13 points in the fourth quarter, and managed to collect five rebounds and a block.

Pau Gasol, adding this game to his relief efforts for the victim’s of the Japan earthquake, had a 23 point, 16 rebound, 4 block type of evening. That’s an additional $23,000 (not to mention’s Magic Johnson’s promise to match Gasol’s contribution) to the $26,000 he offered from Friday’s game. Gasol channeled his inner Bynum tonight, working the glass and keeping watch of the paint. Chris Paul, who shot just 4-10 for his 10 points, was not as aggressive on offense as he usually is; hardly penetrating to the hoop as he often does, and maybe it had something to do with the seven-footer guarding the inside. Gasol was no slouch on the other end of the court, with 12 of his 16 boards coming on the defensive end. He challenged shots and managed to block four of them. And 9-14 from the field? Calling Gasol efficient will never get tired. That is what this player is.

And Kobe Bryant had another 30-point game on 11-25 and 7-8 from the charity stripe; adding to that, three rebounds, five assists, two steals and zero turnovers. He had 19 points on 7-12 in the first half alone, just torturing his former teammate, Trevor Ariza, who had the unfortunate task of guarding him. After Bryant hit a long three in the first quarter, Ariza dropped his hands to his sides as if to say, “what more could I have done?” Bryant was also alert on defense, intercepting a lob from Chris Paul and preventing the easy score for the Hornets, and received two free throws on the other end.

Despite having to continue re-establishing big leads throughout the game (because the Hornets’ were still trying to win), there was no danger to be felt for the Lakers. They shot just over 48% for the evening and their defense didn’t allow New Orleans to score more than 22 points in a quarter. Other than Carl Landry (24 points on 8-16, 10 rebounds), who always gives the Lakers fits, Emeka Okafor (14 points on 7-11, 11 rebounds) and Chris Paul with this nine assists, the Hornets didn’t get much from anyone else, which could be a problem for a play-off bound team.

The Laker bench continued to disappoint. Matt Barnes, 1-4; Steve Blake, 2-5; Shannon Brown, 4-10 – a combined 7-19 from the field. The reserves need to step up in a big way when the post-season begins. There can’t be any more games like tonight’s where so little production came from the reserves. Dallas is coming in on Thursday and it’s no secret how efficient and productive their second unit is, and if the Lakers want to remain above Dallas in those playoff seedings, their bench needs to have a greater impact on the game on both ends of the floor than they have been the last few contests.

Yes, Dallas will come in this week to try and take that second seed away from the Lakers, but the Lakers just need to continue to improve each time. With the Spurs losing against Memphis, that gap between the first and second spots in the Western Conference just got narrower. As false a hope as it may be to believe the Lakers could take over that top spot, there’s just no telling in this league. You never know…

Box Score
Pre-game Thoughts: Just keep rolling, Lakers. The Hornets may have lost David West for the season but they’ve still got Chris Paul and the ALWAYS dependable, Carl Landry.
Half-time Thoughts: 41-57 – Andrew Bynum’s got three fouls already, but his absence from that foul trouble still didn’t help New Orleans much; not with Kobe Bryant still dressed in a Laker uniform. With Trevor Ariza on him, Bryant went to work and did in his former teammate with 19 first-half points. Much clicked for the home team in those first two quarters, and not just on the offensive end, where the Lakers won in the paint 28-16. The defense forced New Orleans to shoot just 37% from the field while the Lakers shot 49%.
Most Thoughtless Play(s)/Player(s) of the Game: Non-Killer B’s – Matt Barnes, Steve Blake and Shannon Brown shot a combined 7-19 from the field and 1-7 from three. Reserves not named Lamar Odom need to step their games up in a big way.
Most Thought-filled Play(s)/Player(s) of the Game: Pau Gasol – Forced to play more with Andrew Bynum in foul trouble, the Lakers’ resident Spaniard did not disappoint. He must be feeding off of his fellow 7-footer’s post-All-Star resurgence because he had another huge night, and the victims of the earthquake in Japan get to benefit from it.

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.
  • K.O.

    LOOL AT THE PIC KOBE IS TRAVELING
    HAHA GO LAKERS

  • zgum

    What does this mean?

    @LarryCoon Kobe disappointed there that he didn’t get an “H” on the rest of his teammates. about 7 hours ago

  • Genius

    look !! kobe is floating !! ahaha

  • 242LakerFan

    Wow, first actual comment on the game!
    Anyway, another solid win for the Lakers. Some poor decisions by Bynum led to foul trouble, but he was HUGE in the 4th. Ron did his thing tonight, too. Marco JellyBelly was a total non-factor and I loved it when Ron was on the bench Marco missed a shot near the sideline and Stu said he was nervous ’cause he was too close to Ron!
    The bench guys really do need to step up. I mean, even Lamar is not playing up to standard recently. His outside shot is shaky and he’s even missing layups! Those guys have to shape up in the next couple of weeks.
    And Kobe is still proving he’s the ultimate warrior. Great line from “A Knight’ss Tale”: “How would you beat him?” “With a stick…while he slept!”. Age and injuries can’t even beat him. What hope have mere mortals like Ariza?
    Dare I hope to catch the Spurs? Doesn’t matter. They can’t beat us. I’d like to have home court in the Finals, though, and that means catching Chicago, which is suddenly the team to beat in the EC.
    Keep rolling boys!

  • ZK

    It was a good win, except the 17 offensive rebounds we gave up to a much smaller team.

    I am sure Phil will drill it in to them that we cannot win No.17 giving up so many. I guess it was partly because Drew was out for most of the game but the whole team has to rebound.

    And Kobe actually shot more than two free throws in the last three games.

    Go LAKERS, and bring No.17 home in June.

  • NoDefense

    Funniest play of the game,bellinelli got picked by Ron he yelled like he was shot,flopped and going down kicked lamar in the chest,,,,,,,,,,,,what a flopper.

    • LakerMarc

      Holy Shit I missed like most of that …need to watch it on DVR

  • rondo

    Offensive rebounds come from to many missed jump shots. Jump shots can either help you or be a teams downfall. This leads to offensive rebounds and fast breaks. That why the ball should go inside then outside. Sometimes Shannon and Kobe and crew forget.

    • LakerMarc

      not sometimes…..ALL THE PHUCKING TIME!!!!!

  • Short Dog Loc

    Eazy Duz It.
    Where are all the bandwagon Cryami fans now.
    Good Times Bad Times
    Short Dog always a fan
    F Lebron and jordan

    • lakers2000

      Where’s Nick?? Not so confidant now!! LOL!!!!!

      • 242LakerFan

        Damn, that’s right. I haven’t seen his smarmy ass in a while. Whatever could the matter be, I wonder?

  • wbgk1979

    Big game coming up.
    We need the win against Dallas. Catching up on the Spurs is nice but doesn’t matter. Staying in front of Dallas en topping the east however is essential.
    Chicago lost and are tied with the Lakers, lets stay at least one game in front at the end of the regular season and keep homecourt against the east.

  • Pingback: Lakers Spring Cleaning | LABallTalk.com

  • http://www.laballtalk.com Roy Azoulay

    we’re lookin good! check out what i have to say about the last stint of the season.

    http://www.laballtalk.com/2011/03/29/lakers-spring-cleaning/

  • 242LakerFan

    Chicago lost last night. This is our chance to grab home court through for Finals. Let’s keep on rolling, boys!

    • 242LakerFan

      Boy, I should really have my coffee BEFORE I post anything. That should read “home court for the Finals”.

  • lakerville213

    can someone please explain why ron artest cannot jump for s hit? his feet barely come off the floor when he runs let alone when he attempts to dunk on fastbreaks(which i commend him for since he’s been a defensive monster of late). but this seems to be a problem for him.

    • NoDefense

      bad feet

    • 242LakerFan

      Did somebody miss the reverse dunk last game or the breakaway dunk in OT3 of the Suns game? Recently he HAS been getting off the floor. Okay, he missed a couple, too, but before the All-Star break, he wasn’t even reaching the rim. He’s actually getting his legs back in the last few weeks. This is an ill-timed comment.

      • Nick’s Lame

        Ron,Ron burns alot of energy on defense,,,,,,he’s probably tired somewhat.

      • lakerville213

        making 50% of your dunks is a great stat then, right? missing back to back dunks means there is something wrong. when he first came to the lakers i heard something about ron having bad feet(chinese basketball shoes?). im not saying i hate the man, im just expressing concern for his health and play which has a major impact on the overall success of my los angeles lakers.

        • 242LakerFan

          What I’m saying is that he wasn’t dunking AT ALL before the A-S break. So yes, for him this year 50% is a big improvement.

  • ZK

    Oh yeah, Nick has been absent, and not baiting us suckers.
    He must be with Dick in Nick in his mama’s basement, and enjoying it

    • 242LakerFan

      He’s still the Master Baiter, though, until some other asshole claims the title.