This is a very bad sign for the New Orleans Hornets. If you would have told Monty Williams his team would hold the Lakers to 87 points, keep Kobe Bryant under 15 points and get 22 from Trevor Ariza he’d have thought his squad would be in line to stun the hoops world having taken two from the champs.
Well…that’s why you can’t rely on stats to tell the whole story. Just ask Chris Paul about that.
Paul posted a respectable 20 and 9 but he was flustered all night long. The Lakers truly took a team approach to containing CP3 by rotating defenders onto the Hornets’ Point God. KB24, Ron Artest, Derek Fisher and Steve Blake were among the Lakers that took turns taking the game out of Paul’s hands and taking this series to one game a piece with an 87-78 victory.
Aside from the first six minutes of this contest, Game 2 was all Los Angeles.
This game felt a lot like those Knicks/Heat battles from the mid 90’s. There was plenty of D, very little O and a lot of attitude while the refs swallowed their whistles. The temperature on this series shot up as New Orleans became increasingly frustrated by the inspired effort from Phil’s men.
The Lakers may have finally solved the Carl Landry curse. Andrew Bynum asserted himself early and got under Landry’s skin late. The Altered Beast abused the smallish Hornets in the paint and made a point to push Landry whenever he could. Those love taps were subtle reminders to Landry that he might have heart but he doesn’t have a 7-foot, 280 pound frame.
Drew dropped 17 and 11 but fouled out on a foolish play late. None the less, Bynum played with his motor running non-stop and threw his weight around. All good signs as this series shifts to the Big Easy.
Tonight the Lake Show played with passion and pride and a lot of that was a direct result of the energy Lamar Odom showed up with. LO got his 6th man award and then went out and proved why he earned it.
Odom is such an asset off the pine. His ability to step into a game cold yet play as if he’d been in since the opening tip is truly a game changer. Tonight, the Lakers needed all 16 of Lamar’s points as this team struggled to score.
Speaking of struggling…
Has anyone seen Pau Gasol?
After owning the Hornets in the regular season, the Spaniard has been NO property in the playoffs. Another 8 point effort is baffling to say the least.
Speaking of baffling…
How many playoff games have the Lakers won when Kobe goes 3 of 10 and only scores 11?
But who needs Kobe and Pau when you’ve got a renewed Ron Artest. Ron Ron is looking like the guy that ate up the Lakers back when he was wearing a Rockets jersey just a couple years ago. Artest is putting his size to good use by bullying the Hornets in the paint. For good measure he’s also knocking down open Js. After the game Artest, was quick to deflect props instead giving Kobe praise for sacrificing his game for the good of others.
Yes, this is truly a bad sign for the Hornets.
Not all of the Laker woes have been solved. But when this team commits to playing D like they did tonight and comes out with the mad-death-energy of champions no team on the planet is capable of beating them. Certainly not an undersized, one-man-show with a rookie head coach.