Photo by Stephen Dunn - Getty Images

In the regular season, one loss to the New Orleans Hornets, even at home, would be considered trivial, inconsequential to the big picture. Unfortunately, it’s the playoffs and, well, the big picture is 16 wins away and the Lakers are still looking to scratch one off the list.

No matter how the Lakers try to spin that loss (they don’t play well in afternoon games, the Hornets wanted to win more, etc), the fact remains, they were beaten in the post-season as a #2 seed by a #7 seed who has absolutely no one to contend with their size. Two of the Lakers’ greatest advantages, Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom, played so small, the team could have certainly loss that game without their help.

The Hornets held Gasol to just eight points, by keeping him around the perimeter, and rather than going at the basket aggressively and getting physical with the New Orleans bigs, he stayed out of his most productive place on the court – the paint.

And Lamar Odom had just ONE REBOUND. Whatever it was that kept Odom out of the ball’s way doesn’t matter because he is usually the first to fight for that board no matter where it’s falling. As the newly minted Sixth Man of the Year, he needs to provide that energy off the bench that the team relies on him to contribute. With that energy, he needs to lead that bench unit, who was sorely outplayed by the Hornets’ reserves.

Expect solid efforts from Kobe Bryant, Derek Fisher, Andrew Bynum and Ron Artest – all who kept that Lakers from getting blown out on Sunday. And hopefully, we can expect a greater contribution from Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol. Their production is beyond desired for the success of this team – it’s absolutely necessary.

With a greater attention to detail on ball movement, and an even greater attention paid to containing Chris Paul as much as possible, the Lakers should redeem themselves from the Game 1 loss.

Starters
Lakers: D. Fisher, K. Bryant, R. Artest, L. Odom, P. Gasol
Hornets: C.Paul, M.Belinelli, T.Ariza, C.Landry, E.Okafor
Tip-off: 7:30 PST

Television -

  • FSNWest – Stu Lantz, Joel Myers

Radio -

  • Los Angeles: 710 ESPN (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
  • New Orleans: 106.7 FM KMEZ (Sean Kelley & Gerry Vaillancourt)

Injuries -

Lakers:

  • Kobe Bryant (Sprained Left Ankle) Will Play
  • Andrew Bynum (Bone Bruse, Right Knee) Will Play
  • Matt Barnes (Sore Right Knee) Will Play
  • Steve Blake (Chickenpox) Will Play
  • Devin Ebanks (Stree Fracture, Left Tibia ) Out

Hornets:

  • David West (Torn ACL, Left Knee) Out
  • Aaron Gray (Sprained Right Ankle) Doubtful
  • Luke Sucks

    Nice win by the Lakers but what is going on with Gasol? If he keeps playing like this the Lakers will not make it to the Finals. Grow some balls, will ya?

  • Sheds

    The refs should definately stop calling every tiny thing. Chris Paul especially… he was flopping all over the place. In the third or fourth I bursted out laughing as he seemed to make contact with someone below his own basket and instantly fell down with emphasis, as if he was hit by a truck. When it was him actually moving into the other guy. Emeka Okafor and Aaron Gray were the same, Okafor even trying to flop on smaller guys. I mean, yeah… Pau is a flopping queen too at times. But at least it isnt as obvious as these guys today.

    In a game that is much closer, calls for these kind of flops can decide the outcome. Thats the sad truth…

    I mean, I like Chris Paul. He is a cool and very relaxed guy, and from the interviews he gives he is always respectful towards his opponents, but on the court when he does his flopping act, always looking to get the refs to call something, especially when holding his dribble… it really pisses me off.

  • Gkamboj32

    The headline picture, Kobe: “Man, this game sucked but… look at my d*ck, thanks god.”