The Lakers Beat the Hornets
The Hornets got torched by the Lakers again, once more making a run at the end that made the final score not look so bad. Don’t let it fool you, they were terrible. Let me list the ways:
- The Lakers interior defense was tough, a function of all the really tall and athletic guys they can run at you. As a result, every time West entered the paint, he got bumped around and was forced to shoot over two converging players. In the second and third you could tell he wasn’t even thinking about a move into the paint when he got the ball. He’d pump fake, dribble and either go for the fall away or pass back out again. No repost. They simply took him out of the game.
- When Tyson gets fired up for a game, two things can happen: the Hornets find him early, he gets some easy buckets, which gets him clicking on defense, and he plays great OR the Hornets can’t find him early or he’s fouled hard repeatedly and can’t get easy buckets, he starts getting frustrated, and the Hornets fall apart on both ends. The guy really is pretty key to what they do, and tonight he was a mess. As a result the baseline defense completely disintegrated in the second, giving up 4 easy baskets when no one rotated to help when the guy drove. In three of those drives, it was Tyson’s job to come over and help out, and he got over way to late to do anything.
- Pau Gasol frequently slipped across the lane off a screen, received the pass, and either found an open teammate on the perimeter or took a short shot. The Hornets were rarely able to even get to him, as he finished again and again. He’s a great fit for that triangle offense.
- The Hornets offense is predicated on having wing players who can space the floor and shoot. That’s what makes the high pick and roll deadly, and allows West a safety valve on his post plays as he can send the ball whipping out to shooters to give him some room to maneuver. Devin Brown did his job in taking the shot, but he didn’t hit anything. Tonight he wasn’t even coming close, and all three of his shots were not even contested. It’s a problem against good defensive teams.
- Posey and Morris Peterson picked up a ton of fouls early on and as a result Julian Wright finished out the first half. He frantically ran back and forth from the three point line to the basket on offense, and was typically open. Unfortunately, the Hornets were running double screen for a Posey three, and then a high post look for West, and looked away from him during both offensive sets. That’s rough. Kids trying to make an impact. Still, I don’t know what to say. On a set play like that, he’s probably supposed to have a designated spot – not be running back and forth the entire play.
- I liked what Butler did out there. Would have been nice if we had Peja joining Butler on the perimeter tonight.
- Brown did show where he is effective, at least: attacking the basket with the second unit. Armstrong-Posey-Peterson-Brown-Daniels could be effective with both Daniels and Brown driving and kicking, Posey and Peterson finishing, and Armstrong turning the ball over.
- Posey tossed Kobe to the floor and barked at him after Kobe repeatedly threw his body into him for about five seconds. It earned good ol’ Posey a technical, but I was fine with it. It was also nice to see Kobe finally earn some three free-throws, because on four of the previous five calls resulting in him getting free-throws, he was not touched anywhere but on the hand – which is legal.
- Hilton’s block on Odom was pretty, as was his stuff and forced jumpball against Andrew Bynum. Of course, he followed both with turnovers, but they were still nice.
Have a good night.