The Lakers beat the Hornets

With our guys coming off a flawless three game road trip and playing their first home game of 2008, the Arena was hyped for the Hornets to take on Coby Karl Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers tonight.

Unfortunately, the game sucked. It sucked a lot. Here's how…

Chris goes at Andrew Bynum 


Melvin Ely is out for warm-ups and expected to make his return tonight. He's wearing a face mask thingy, which apparently the chicks really dig these days. Not to be outdone, Marcus Vinicius got his hair chopped. He is married though, so I'm guessing the new 'do is mostly for aerodynamic purposes.

Kermit Ruffins does the anthem thing real good and we're about ready to tip.

First Quarter

We've got our usual five. LA starts with Derek Fisher and Kobe Bryant in the backcourt, Luke Walton and Lamar Odom up front, and Andrew Bynum in the middle.

The Lakers come out on fire. They make their first eight frickin shots and are up 16-4 before the Hornets pull the finger out and start playing some basketball. Every Laker starter has scored within three minutes. Kobe is looking scary-good, as he goes right at Morris Peterson three times and scores three different ways.

7:25 – Finally, some defense. Mo-Pete gets in the passing lane and tips one away from Kobe, then dives on the floor to claim the loose ball. He gets it out to CP, who's ahead of the pack for the lay-up.

5:52 – Timeout Hornets, after Chris elbows Derek Fisher and Fisher gets called for the foul. Those two are really going at each other. The Hornets have put together an 8-2 run and clawed back within six, 18-12. The offense is looking pretty stagnant though, with our only scores coming off isolations.

2:35 – Luke Walton buries a three from the corner. Lakers lead, 27-16. Our defense is collapsing on Kobe, but he's easily finding his teammates and they're knocking down the open looks. We're getting killed on the boards, too. Tyson is invisible out there.

1:23 – Chris gets two in the lane. He's got 10 points already. There's nothing happening on offense so he's doing it himself.

0:47 – Hilton Armstrong checks in for Tyson. Kobe misses a jumper, Bynum gets to the rebound ahead of Hilton, then shakes him up with a funky move before dropping a hook. At the other end, Hilton turns it over, then comes out of the game for Jannero Pargo. Excellent cameo.

The quarter ends with the Lakers leading 32-19. Not pretty so far.

Second Quarter

We start with Pargo, West, Bobby Jackson, Melvin Ely and Ryan Bowen. Strange five. We essentially have three power forwards and two undersized shooting guards out there. Meanwhile, the Lakers are ready with Kobe, Odom, Farmar, Trevor Ariza and Kwame Brown.

The quarter starts out okay, as West gets a couple buckets and Ely earns one from the line. Ronny Turiaf comes in for Odom after a minute and matches up with Ely down low. It looks funny.

9:00 – Bobby fouls Ariza on an attempted alley-oop, but both freebies are good and the Lakers are back up a dozen, 36-24. Kobe takes a seat.

7:28 – Still down a dozen, Byron calls time. Our defense does not exist and the Lakers are scoring almost every trip.

CP gets back in the game after the timeout, and Farmar picks him up.

6:38 – After Kwame blows a layup, Tyson gets a rare rebound, but has it stripped by Turiaf. Kwame gets another chance and this time fakes Tyson into the air. Basket, and 1. That was extremely ugly.

4:35 – Some dude named Javaris Crittenton scores an easy one for LA, and Byron needs another timeout. We're now down by 19 points, and not even Honeybees in tight jeans can make me feel better.

The Hornets really need to start looking for Peja. Dude has only taken two shots so far in this game. I know the Lakers are focused on him since he dropped ten threes on them back in L.A., but surely we can run him off fourteen picks or something and have him get a clean look.

2:36 – Peja and Mo-Pete double Kobe and end up fouling him. I see L.A. are winning the rebounding battle, 26-15.

1:10 – West gets a sweet block on Bynum at one end, then draws the foul from him at the other. Give him 15 points after he downs both free throws.

0:29 – Peja finally gets loose but misses the three, but Big Easy D-Weesy is there for the emphatic one-handed put-back jam. He's keeping us alive right now.

At the other end, Walton misses a long three, West boards and finds Chris breaking. CP zips down the floor and throws a lob to Tyson who crushes one with about a second left in the half. That's a 7-0 Hornets run, and the Lakers' lead is down to eleven, 54-43.

Kobe glides by Chandler

Halftime Thoughts

  • Save for the final minute or so of the half, it's been a pretty shitty performance by the Hornets so far. Credit the Lakers for coming ready to play. They've done a great job on us defensively, making it hard for our shooters to get open and crowding West and Chandler in the post.
  • So far, Tyson is sucking big-time tonight. He's been outplayed by Andrew Bynum and Kwame Brown.
  • Looks like a sellout tonight, or perhaps just shy.
  • My main man Toney Blare of New Orleans Nation has joined me for this one. He points out John Georges eating peanuts like squirrel at his seat on the baseline.
  • Halftime show is Rubber Boy.

Third Quarter

The quarter starts with Chris Paul scoring six points and getting us within seven, but then the Lakers start scoring again. Kobe and Waton hit tripes, Fisher knocks down a jumper, and Bynum continues to impress with a lay-in off a tough catch.

10:03 – Chris Paul and Derek Fisher are still going at each other, and I could have sworn Fisher just slapped CP in the nuts a minute ago. Fish picked up his dribble, Chris smothered him, then came away holding his groin and barking at the refs. Could have been an accident, could have been nothing. Either way, I bet Julius Hodge is smiling right about now.

7:35 – Kobe misses a jumper, but Bynum somehow comes up with the rebound off a better-positioned Chandler, composes himself, and dunks it. Tyson, this kid is killing you.

6:26 – Finally, Peja is getting some looks. Two shots, five points, but we still can't stop the Lakers.

3:44 – The Lakers have scored on nine consecutive offensive trips. No, really. Odom just capped it by driving right by Tyson on the baseline for an easy two. The Lakers lead is now twenty, 80-60. Chris Paul looks pissed off, and goes into the lane to unleash the fury at the other end. He ends up getting to the line and making two free throws.

3:25 – The Lakers finally come up empty on offense, but Paul and Fisher get called for a double tech battling for the inbound.

3:13 – Chris goes right by Fisher, who gets called for the blocking foul. That's four on him, so he'll sit for Farmar.

2:57 – Chris rebounds a miss by Kobe, and gets triple teamed in the backcourt. I think it was Farmar, Walton and Odom trying to trap him in the corner, but CP just did something crazy with his dribble and escaped up the sideline. I'd like to see that again, because he pulled some Houdini shit right there. Right after, he found Peja for an open three but he couldn't connect.

0:12 – Bynum gets another one to go over Tyson, and this time leaves his hand in the air as he runs back down court. And well he might. Young fella is the real deal, and our big didn't bring it at all tonight.

84-68 Lakers at the end of three.

Fourth Quarter

Make or break time. Chris puts home a jumper to make a 15-point game 90 seconds in, but Odom comes down and banks in a three. Next trip, CP gets caught in the air, turns it over, and Trevor Ariza ends up with a dunk to finish the Lakers fast break. 9:33 left in this one, the difference is 20 yet again, and the Hornets don't look like they're going to turn it on at all tonight.

8:26 – During a timeout, the Hornet coaches do that thing where they form their own huddle on the court, and the players hang out and talk amongst themselves on the bench. Second time I've seen them do that tonight, and I really don't get it.

7:57 – Melvin Ely gets double teamed on the post-up, spins baseline and teleports to the other side of the lane. The refs call it a travel.

6:59 – Jordan Farmar gets a W I D E open three. Nails it. 24-point game, and folks are already heading for the exits.

I'll end my game notes there, too, because work has to happen in the morning and there's not much of note the rest of the way. Julian Wright got some burn and played a little point guard, but that's about it.

Final score was 109-80. Linkage: box | recap | standings

Walton, Chandler and West battle inside

Postgame Thoughts

Two steps forward, one step back.

A typical loss wouldn't have bothered me tonight, but the Hornets got annihilated in this one. The Lakers had a good defensive game plan and they executed it well, making life particularly tough for West, Stojakovic and Peterson. They also happened to shoot the lights out, but then we did give them a billion open looks.

Anyway, my brain is cooked. Gotta get some sleep, and I'll ponder this one some more tomorrow.

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