In advertising, sex sells.

In basketball? Lakers sell. Check out this little excerpt from the Hornet’s official site

“If you were still hoping to purchase tickets to Friday night’s 7 p.m. Lakers-Hornets game at the New Orleans Arena, it’s too late. The team announced Thursday that the game is completely sold out, making it the seventh capacity crowd of the season.”

At least we’ve got that going for us, now on to the game…

Marquee Matchups -

Point Guard – Derek Fisher and Jordan Farmar vs. Chris Paul: Truly, the Lakers seem to enjoy making opposing PG’s look like HOF’ers. That’s why having a MVP candidate manning the point makes me more than a little queasy. He’s fast, he’s quick, and he knows how to finish around the rim. I’ve even heard references of Tony Parker being a poor man’s CP3. when a poor man’s Big Shot Rob (Fisher) goes up against a rich man’s Tony Parker, you kind of have to hope CP3 has an off night.

On the plus side, a lot of the damage that CP3 does defensively comes from guarding a ball dominating PG and going for steals. If our PGs become more spot-up corner 3-ball shooters, that will eliminate most of his defensive edge.

Advantage: Hornets.

Shooting Guard – Kobe Bryant vs. Morris Peterson: He had that one great year with the Raptors and now it’s as if he’s faded into the background. He does however, remain a dangerous 3-point shooter, and is exactly the kind of guy Kobe might get too confident about. I mean, the dude is the guy Kobe scored a bunch of his 81 on. On a side note Kelly Dwyer though he actually played good defensively that night.

Still, the word on the street was that Kobe plays pretty well injured, so I’m not to worried about this match up.

Advantage: Lakers.

Small Forward – Vlad Rad vs. Peja Stojakovic: It’s finally manifested; the final battle (during the regular season) between the master and the apprentice. With all the excitement and attention garnered by Paul’s performances, Peja is often the forgotten man. He’s been shooting the ball extremely well from behind the arc (46%) and has been making an average of three of those a game. Vlad Rad is a pretty much a forgotten story on the Lakers too, but that’s actually his own fault, as his 0-5 performance against the Raptors pretty much typifies his inconsistent play this season. However, if you’re looking to get about half the offensive contribution and about the same level of defensive impact, Vlad Rad doesn’t disappoint.

Advantage: Hornets.

Power Forward – Lamar Odom vs. David West: He’s everything to CP3 that we hoped Odom would be for Kobe. A reliable second option and 0.1 points away from being a 20/9 guy, he also chips in with about a steal and block per game. This shouldn’t take anything away from Odom though, as he has been absolutely spectacular in recent memory. The last game against the Raptors is probably the most dominating he’s been in a Lakers uniform ever. If he can manage to consistently start replicating even just one of those two minute spurts where he leaves his mark on the game, we might finally be able to stop talking potential and start talking All-Star.

Advantage: Even.

Center – Pau Gasol vs. Tyson Chandler: Offensive finesse vs. raw defensive power, although to be fair Chandler does have a knack for offensive rebounds and alley-oops. Chandler is a force to be reckoned with in the paint, but with the trigger happy bench duo of Jordan and Sasha, that might not even be a worry…

Advantage: Lakers.

Bench -

Jannero Pargo can get hot. Last year with four of their five starters out he absolutely torched us in that game when everyone thought we would win easily. Bonzi Wells is back from injury and could see significant minutes. Other than that I doubt any other bench member is going to make enough of an impact for the Hornets, as they continue to have depth issues. Mike James might make an appearance, but the painful memories of 81 might affect his performance (between him and Mo Pete, the Hornets two of the three players that guarded Kobe on that fateful day… Just a fun fact).

Personally, I prefer our bench trio (someone needs to name them something… and soon).

Advantage: Lakers

Lets play coach!

Key Matchups -

Offense – Pau vs. Chandler: The one thing that I haven’t seen that I would love to see more often from Pau is 8-15ft jump shot. We know he can make those consistently, and making Chandler have to respect that shot will really make the Hornets have to adjust how they play defense.

I mean, if Chandler has to play Pau tighter and Kobe drives to the hole, that gives Kobe more room to operate and makes Chandler have to cover more ground to challenge the shot. If Chandler focuses on challenging the shot, then that means Pau, at least, is going to be wide open. And if not? Let the critics complain and the Rockets fans yell about ball-hogging over team play, Kobe will take what the defense gives him, and the Lakers usually like what he takes.

Defense – Fisher vs. Chris Paul: we have to make him a scorer. As illustrated by T.J. Ford in the last game, you can be the quickest fastest point guard and score lotos of points on us, but if you’re dribbling over half the shot clock away trying to find an opportunity to drive or trying to figure out what spot on they floor you want to elevate for that jumper from, then you’re taking your teammates out of the game. And when they’re out of the game they don’t get into good offensive rebounding position and become too cold to make the shots when given the opportunity.

Of course, Chris Paul may be too fast and to good for any of that to matter.

Everything Else: The perimeter defenders need to stay home on their shooters. Hopefully, P.J. talks some sense into Sasha and Farmar and they take it to the hole more. I would try to get Vlad into an offensive rhythm early, but only after getting Pau some easy looks first. Not turning the ball over usually makes the pre-game show’s keys to success, so I thought I’d throw that one in.

Statistical Predictions -

Feel free to copy and past this part into the comments section with your own predictions. I don’t promise to keep track of winners or anything but it’s always fun to predict stuff.

20+ Points: Kobe, Lamar, and Sasha.

10+ Rebounds: Gasol, Lamar, and Kobe.

3+ Blocks: Turiaf.

Closest To A Triple-Double: Kobe.

Out On A Limb: Luke won’t get blocked on his back-turned-to-the-basket-turnaround-hook-shot

Game Information -

Radio: KLAC & KWKW

Television: KCAL & COX

Online: NBA LP

Burning Questions/Sage Answers -

What are the odds that Coby gets non-garbage minutes for the second game in a row?

Does anyone else find it funny that the Nuggets are probably going to be left out of the playoffs (personally I’d prefer the Warriors miss out, because their coach won’t play the promising young rookie that they’ll get in the draft)?

How on earth can we get rid of Luke Walton’s contract? <—- I’m curious about that one.

At this point, is it fair to assume that D.J. Mbenga is getting annoyed with the close games?

  • Michael_23

    These are the kind of games the Lakers are more into. (eg. Phoenix, Dallas) Lakers tend to sleep on teams like Kings, Clippers, and Portland whether they win or lose.

    This road trip is good for the Lakers.

  • pa

    “How on earth can we get rid of Luke Walton’s contract”

    Trade him for GS’ non playing rookie?

  • kb24b3stever

    20+ Points: Kobe, pau, and fisher.

    10+ Rebounds: Gasol, Lamar, and Kobe.

    3+ Blocks: Turiaf,kobe.

    Closest To A Triple-Double: Kobe.

    Out On A Limb: kobe its gonna hav 2 take over the game

  • vida24

    i dont mind blow out like last time but i dont want lakers to get blow out tho .lets play with passion ..like we did in that 9 game road trip !

  • MIKE SANDERS

    I don’t think Kobe will have to take over the game, but I do see him coming out very aggressive to start. If we can jump out to an early lead it will take the pressure off of our bench on the road. Establishing Pau early is a good idea, but not with 15 footers. He needs to get in the paint and create some contact, in hopes of getting to the line. If Tyson Chandler picks up a couple fouls he will be less effective on the defensive end. As for Chris Paul, forcing him to score is not the answer. We must force him to play defense. Fisher and Farmer must put some pressure on him on the offensive side of the floor. Hopefully the extra work on both sides of the court will slow him and his production down a little.

  • Michael_23

    Hey put in the Bird Man!

  • armo4life24

    lakers will blow out the new orleans score will be 115-107
    lets go lakers #1 CHAMPSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS.
    KB24=MVP
    Chris Paul SUCKS Balls

  • kb24b3stever

    i really tink kobe its gonna hav 2 take over dis game nd wat i mean by taking over dis game its not just on scoring am talking bout in every possible way,kobe must touch da ball everytime da lakers hav da ball..if u remember last time we played da hornets we did crush dem but it was bcuz we had bynum 2 stop tyson chandler but now we dont i tink pau its not gonna b able 2 stop tyson chandler he might score on him but on da defensive end its where pau its gonna hav trouble guarding tyson…WELL I COULD B WRONG…
    BUT 4 ME KOBE MUST HAV 35 PTS 10 ASST 8 REBOUNDS ND A COUPLE OF STEALS OR 50PTS,5ASST,10+REBS ND COUPLE OF STEALS..

  • kb24b3stever

    i really tink kobe its gonna hav 2 take over dis game nd wat i mean by taking over dis game its not just on scoring am talking bout in every possible way,kobe must touch da ball everytime da lakers hav da ball..if u remember last time we played da hornets we did crush dem but it was bcuz we had bynum 2 stop tyson chandler but now we dont i tink pau its not gonna b able 2 stop tyson chandler he might score on him but on da defensive end its where pau its gonna hav trouble guarding tyson…WELL I COULD B WRONG…
    BUT 4 ME KOBE MUST HAV 35 PTS 10 ASST 8 REBOUNDS ND A COUPLE OF STEALS OR 50PTS,5ASST,10+REBS ND COUPLE OF STEALS..

  • kbforever

    The Lakers will kill the hornets by 30 Points. Chris Paul will only score 5 points. lakers will go all the way the finals. Kobe for life.

  • cneo

    by bench trio I hope you are referring to: Farmar, Sasha, and Turiaf
    haha, how about… FaSaTur => FaSTur => FaSTer

    because according to Ronny (LA Times, linked on front pg):
    “We try to run a little more, pick it up defensively a little higher,” Turiaf said. “We can bring some youth, a second-breath atmosphere out on the court. We try to give them a different look than the first team. The first team runs a little more of a half-court offense.

    Luke – The Lakers rewarded his play last year with a nice contract, only to find him underachieving and overpaid. Personally, I’ve never been too fond of him and always thought the indistinguishable chants of boooo and luuuke helped him stay on the court. When Ariza is back and playing at full strength, Luke should be third in the depth chart. Trevor > Vlad > Luke

    Anyhow, what I’m looking for tonight? Tougher Defense from our squad. We’ve been soft and lacking on the defensive end. If we don’t fix that now, we’re not going very far in the playoff picture. This roadie IS a BIG TEST, and i hope the boys in purple and gold come out ready to ace the exam. ;)

  • DCLAKER

    We’ll win but it won’t be easy.The Hornets is the team we need to be worried about. LOOKSLIKEAJOBFORTHEBENCHMOB.com,ROAD TO THE FINALS HAS BEGUN!!!

  • 8KB24LAL

    The official name of the bench is the “Bench Mob”. Its in the LA Times.

    http://www.latimes.com/sports/basketball/nba/lakers/la-sp-lakebench13mar13,1,5225950.story?track=rss

  • Phant0M

    That’s OLD^

  • Jonny

    [Comment ID #29368 Will Be Quoted Here]

    i love it!! the FaSTer Bench Mob

    [Comment ID #29349 Will Be Quoted Here]

    brilliant haha, if only kupchake could pull that off haha

  • Karl

    How is the “Bench Mob” old? That’s like saying Sasha’s nickname of “The Machine” is old.

  • ryguy2303

    Pau just rolled his ankle ): NO!

  • LAL

    damn gasol is hurt now noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!