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.
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
- FSNWest – Stu Lantz, Joel Myers
- Los Angeles: 710 ESPN (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
- New Orleans: 106.7 FM KMEZ (Sean Kelley & Gerry Vaillancourt)
- 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
- David West (Torn ACL, Left Knee) Out
- Aaron Gray (Sprained Right Ankle) Doubtful