The (52-20) Los Angeles Lakers will be in their Sunday white jersey’s hosting the (42-31) New Orleans Hornets. The Lakers are seeking a season sweep of the Hornets after winning the three previous games. Lakers won last year’s season series 2-1. They’re 8-2 in their last 10 games against Hornets, and winners of six of their last seven overall. Also, they’re 7-3 in their last 10 home games against them and are 13-4 all-time at the Staples Center.
The Hornets, 7-3 in their last 10 games are on a two-game winning streak and fighting for their playoff lives without the services of All-Star David West. West was lost for the season when his left knee buckled late against the Utah Jazz. They’re in the bottom half of the playoff bracket, currently the seventh seed amidst four teams separated by four games in the loss column. They’ve replaced David West in the lineup with a familiar nemesis; Carl Landry.
The former Houston Rocket and Sacramento King is an undersized, high-scoring power forward. Landry is a solid post player with great instincts around the basket. He’s a scoring machine that can knock down the mid-range jump shot. Landry and West not only have similar styles of play but they are both identical in size. That means no change in the Lakers domination. Pau Gasol has a size advantage over both and torched West for a season-high 34 points. There is no evidence that suggests the Lakers Nation will not see a repeat performance tonight.
The Lakers are the hottest team in the association, winners of 14 of their last 15 games since the All-Star break. If the playoffs started today, the Hornets would be the Lakers first round match up.
Andrew Bynum’s effort energy on defense and rebounding has been a huge factor in the Lakers stellar defense. They have to control the tempo of the game, stop the dribble penetration of Chris Paul and do a solid job of defending the screen and roll plays.
Chris Paul is a double-double waiting to happen; the Lakers have to make him a scorer. They need to limit the Hornets to one shot per possession out-rebound, out-hustle and out-work New Orleans.
The Lakers have to take care of the ball and limit their turnovers, get back in transition, quickly rotate out to open shooters and dominate the painted area. They have to exploit their size advantage by establishing both Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum in the post. The front line has to be aggressive on both ends of the court. They should finish with a stat line that shows them posting 50+ points and 30+ rebounds.
Lakers: D. Fisher, K. Bryant, R. Artest, P. Gasol, A. Bynum
Hornets: C. Paul, M. Belinelli, T. Ariza, C. Landry, E. Okafor
Tip-off: 6:30 PM PST
- Los Angeles: FS West (Joel Myers & Stu Lantz)
- New Orleans: Cox Sports Television (Bob Licht & Gil McGregor)
- Los Angeles: 710 ESPN (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
- New Orleans: KMEZ 106.7 (Sean Kelley & Gerry Vaillancourt)
- Theo Ratliff ( Left Knee) Out
- Kobe Bryant (Ankle) Day-to-Day, will play
- Devin Ebanks (Stress Fracture, Left Tibia) Out
- PF David West (Torn ACL) Out