The Hornets beat the Lakers

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Published: March 15, 2008

I'm both happy and disappointed with the win tonight.

On one hand, we beat another top-tier Western Conference team, despite some horrible officiating. On the other, the Lakers were missing their two starting big men, so we really should have turned it into a blowout instead of having our starters in there until the death. A win is a win and all that, but I'm pretty sure we would have gotten whupped tonight if Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum were healthy.

Tyson Chandler trows one down against the Lakers

Some quick and dirty notes…

  • Final score was 108-98. Linkage: recap | box score | standings
  • Chris Paul turned in another quality performance, finishing with 27 points, 17 assists, 4 rebounds, 4 steals and just 2 turnovers. Incredible stuff. He had that ball on a string in the final couple minutes, somehow escaping multiple Laker defenders when they tried to press and trap. I've never heard a crowd get so excited for a guy dribbling at halfcourt.
  • I thought the game turned in our favor when Paul and Tyson Chandler started working the (way) high pick and roll in the second half. The Lakers couldn't seem to handle that, as predicted by Kurt of Forum Blue and Gold in his game preview earlier today…

    The Lakers need to play the pick-and-roll a lot better than they have the last couple of games. If Paul gets the kind of space to operate TJ Ford did this will be a long night for the Lakers.

  • Gasol went down with a left ankle sprain less than three minutes into the game. He had to be helped off the floor and didn't return.

    Without him, the Lakers really only had Kobe and a bunch of spot up shooters. Lamar Odom did some things, but he's not a guy you worry about beating you. Gasol is, and we lucked out with him going down.

  • David West scored just 12 points (4-10 FGs) but grabbed 14 boards. He wasn't having great success in the post, coughing up some turnovers, and just having to battle to get the ball down low in the first place. He turned his right ankle midway through the fourth quarter and couldn't finish the game. No update on his status for Sunday at Detroit. It was his left ankle that caused him to miss those three games recently, but I wouldn't be surprised if he misses a couple more with the latest tweak. Didn't look like a mild one.
  • Tyson Chandler had himself a monster game. 14 points, 20 rebounds and 2 blocks. It seemed like we were getting murdered on the boards in the first half — so many second chances for LA — but we actually had the rebounding edge through the first two quarters and finished with a 55-43 advantage on the glass.
  • Once again, the trio of Morris Peterson, Bonzi Wells and Julian Wright all took turns guarding the opposing team's best player; Kobe Bryant in this case. Kobe dropped 36 points on 10-of-23 shooting, which I guess was a good result for us, especially considering the offensive load he was trying to carry with Gasol unavailable. I didn't think any of our three defenders did a bad job against him, and guys like Tyson, West and Peja Stojakovic were there with good help most of the night.
  • Gotta love Julian Wright. Knocking down long jumpers, finishing fastbreaks, holding his own against Kobe. Between his emergence and the addition of Bonzi Wells, our bench is looking pretty sweet these days.
  • Oh yeah: the officials. Well, mostly it was Joey Crawford making a bunch of bad calls out there and missing even more. Of course, the Lakers got burned by bad officiating several times tonight, too, but the majority of the whistles seemed to go against the Hornets.

    I could list several examples here, but I'll just go with the most ridiculous. That would be the foul called on Bonzi (his fourth) with 3:29 left in the third. Kobe actually turned into him with his elbow, caught him in the chest and knocked him to the floor. It wasn't a dirty play by any means, and Bonzi actually got into that good defensive position by chance, but Crawford somehow saw it as a foul against the Hornets. Crazy fool.

  • Massive crowd in attendance. 18,199 was the official count, which I believe is about a thousand more than an official sellout. Folks were there pretty early, too, and the volume was nice and loud all night.
  • Play of the game: Chris picks up Kobe for the last couple minutes of the third quarter. Final seconds of the period ticking off the clock, and Kobe gets by Chris, across the lane, and is challenged on a fadeaway by an outstretched Tyson Chandler. The box score will count it as a block. Six seconds left. West grabs the board, outlets to Chris, who blazes down the middle of the floor and finds a streaking Jannero Pargo on the wing. Pargo looks to have a decent chance at a layup, despite the recovering Lakers defense, but he dumps it back to a trailing Chandler just to be sure. Tyson rams home the dunk, then unleashes a flurry of punches at the basket support as the crowd explodes. Eight point lead. Bring on the fourth quarter.

Okay, I gotta run. Apologies for the half-assed recap; I took a bunch of notes tonight but don't have the time to spill it all out. Feel free to fill in the blanks via the comments.

Next up we've got the Pistons in Detroit on Sunday. Early tip (noon Central) due to the ABC televization.

Yeah, televization.

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