The Lakers played excellent down the stretch in Oakland, against the Warriors, the 17-3 run laid on them, 33 assists as a team and timely defensive stops in the fourth quarter were the difference.
The Lakers are at home and prepared to face a stiff challenge from this Chris Paul led team; this will be round four versus the Hornets this season.
The Lakers beat the Hornets twice in New Orleans 93-86 on 11/ 12 & 100-87 on 12/23 2008, but were beaten by them in Los Angeles 116-105 on 1/6. No one has to inform the Lakers not to sleep on them or that they’re still a very dangerous team. Make no mistake this is a playoff game and the Lakers need to make a statement.
In the last match up the Lakers and Hornets played almost even for three quarters with the Lakers taking a 3 point lead into the fourth quarter, prior to being outscored 27-13. Chris Paul & David West combining for 72 points and New Orleans defensively taking the ball out of Kobe’s hands and not allowing him to get a shot off in the fourth quarter was the difference.
Kobe had 39 points, 7 assists, 4 rebounds and 1 block in that game. The Lakers were outrebounded (44-39), outshot (50.6 % – 41.9 % FG’s & 89.2% – 77.3% FT’s) and had more turnovers than the Hornets. Pau Gasol was saddled with foul trouble which contributed to West’s big night.
The Lakers were without Jordan Farmar, received a 3 point contribution from Radmanovic and 27 points from the bench mob, despite an off-shooting night.
Lamar had 1 board in the loss, tonight will be different, and he’ll matchup with David West and has to limit his scoring & rebounding.
The biggest match up will be how to defend Chris Paul. He is an excellent point guard almost unstoppable using the screen and roll play, he’s been expertly reading defenses and destroying them league-wide.
The Lakers will have to show him several different looks, such as double-teaming him to get the ball out of his hands, creating a wall of players in the middle to stop his dribble penetration or force him baseline to trap him among larger players.
The Lakers are playing to their advantage running their offense and establishing Pau Gasol in the low post.
The Lakers have to control the tempo and the glass while rotating out to open & three point shooters. The trio of Kobe, Pau and Lamar will be up for this game and the bench will be a huge factor.
Tipoff: 7:30 PM PST
- Los Angeles: Fox Sports West 1 HD (Joel Myers & Stu Lantz)
- New Orleans: Cox Sports Television (Bob Licht & Gil McGregor)
- Los Angeles: AM570 KLAC (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
- New Orleans: WTIX 94.3 FM & 690AM (Gerry Vaillancourt & Sean Kelley)
- Andrew Bynum (Knee)
- Tyson Chandler (Toe)