The (21-10) Los Angeles Lakers are in New Orleans to face the (18-13) Hornets.
The Lakers are playing in a terrible funk; it might even qualify as sleepwalking. They started off strong then faded fast against the Spurs. They’re in the midst of a three-game losing streak, on the verge of matching their longest losing streak of the season.
Everyone wants to know “What’s Wrong?”
I could fill up at least two pages with disturbing numbers in terms of the Lakers production or lack thereof. Case in point, Tim Duncan had one of the worst games of his career last night and the Spurs still dominated.
The Lakers have come out flat on too many occasions. They appear to be a slow, methodical team that has no energy; a lackluster effort and no execution. There has been too much one-on-one play and the ball isn’t even going into the post. They aren’t communicating on defense and are having too many dry spells, where the team isn’t scoring or stopping the opposition.
It is looking bleak, 3 -6 against teams over .500, but despite what you’ve heard, it isn’t time to panic. They have the time to redeem themselves. After tonight’s game in New Orleans, the Lakers have home games against teams they should beat. They’re a frustrated bunch and we have seen this team go though and come out of some rough patches before and I know they will again.
However to get back on track, they need to run their offense through the post. The one thing, the poor play as of late has shown that when the team doesn’t run their offense through the post they suffer.
The Hornets, like the Lakers, have won two of their last five games. The Lakers face one of the league’s best point guards in Chris Paul. Like several other small quick guards, he has had his way against the Lakers. They can slow him down and limit his impact on the game, but it is easier said than done.
The Lakers have to increase the tempo and play at a faster pace. The team needs to get a burst of energy from their second unit. The reserves have to go back to being Killer “B’s”. They have to establish Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol in the low post. This tandem needs to be given several touches and opportunities to attack in the painted area.
The Lakers need to stop Chris Paul’s dribble penetration, get on the same page defending the screen and roll plays, get back in transition and quickly rotate out to open shooters. They have to box out their men and collectively out-rebound and out-work the Hornets.
The Lakers activity level has to increase dramatically. It is going to take a team effort. The corrections that have to be made and can’t be forced. They need balanced scoring. The team needs to utilize excellent ball movement and excellent player movement to find a high percentage shot.
The love affair with the three-point shot needs to end and everyone in a Purple & Gold jersey needs to step their game up and play as a unit and not as individuals.
Lakers: D. Fisher, K. Bryant, R. Artest, L. Odom and P. Gasol
Hornets: C. Paul, M. Belinelli, T. Ariza, D. West, E. Okafor
Tip-off: 5:00 PM PST
- Los Angeles: KCAL (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
- Andrew Bynum (Right Knee soreness) Probable
- Kobe Bryant (Sprained Pinkie Finger, Right Hand) will play
- Willie Green ( Personal Issues) Day –to- Day