The (13-3) Los Angeles Lakers are in the midst of a six game home stand tonight they’re hosting the (7-10) New Orleans Hornets.
The Lakers have been on a roll of late and have looked a lot like their Championship selves recently. They’ve literally destroyed every opponent with the return of All-Star Power Forward Pau Gasol to the lineup. The Lakers have been dismantling the post defense of several teams, killing them with points in the paint and controlling the boards. Keep in mind there used to be so many questions; can Gasol & Andrew Bynum co-exist? Would the transition defense suffer? etc.
The Lakers are holding their opponents to 90.8 points per game during their winning streak. The scary thing is that the Lakers are still in the process of improving their game. Los Angeles; one game removed from beating the Nets, a team dealing with an avalanche of misfortunes.
Tonight’s guest, the Hornets, has gone through several changes since the teams last met a 104-88 Lakers win on November 8th. The 16 point beat down administered by the Lakers was without both Andrew Bynum & Pau Gasol. Head Coach Byron Scott was run out of town despite the fact that the team’s problems are more the fault of their GM/Head Coach Jeff Bower. It is only right that he coach the team he constructed. New Orleans has also been bitten by the injury bug as All-Star point guard Chris Paul will not play.
Rookie and former Bruin Darren Collison has been given the keys to the car and the team is attempting to play at a faster pace. Things haven’t gone as planned and the team has continued to struggle. Ironically their big men David West & Emeka Okafor are starting to develop some chemistry and familiarity with each others playing style which should benefit them in the long run.
The new found familiarity has seen Okafor posting up more, playing closer to the basket and West displaying his jumper and finding space to shoot. Okafor is a good rebounder, he needs to be denied good position. The Hornets will attempt to employ the pick and roll play against the Lakers but it will appear to be more of a pick and pop or spot up with David West spotting up.
West has an excellent mid-range game but he will have to deal with the challenge of Ron Artest defending him and forcing him further away from the basket. The Hornets want to run and get up and down the court. The Lakers will have to control the tempo and get back in transition.
The Lakers will force them to set up and run their half court offense. In the painted area is where the destruction will start for the Hornets; with no answer for Bynum, Gasol or Kobe Bryant.
Tip-off: 7:30 PM PST
- Los Angeles: Fox Sports 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)
- Luke Walton (Back)
- Chris Paul (Sprained Ankle)
- Peja Stojakovic (Personal Reasons)