The Lakers Pounded the Hornets

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Published: November 9, 2009

The Hornets lost again tonight in rather embarassing fashion as the Lakers took it to them early, and then never let them threaten again.  Blowouts appear to be the norm this season for opponents of the Hornets.  Good times.  Good times. For them. Now, you can say “But it’s the Lakers!” but both Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum were out and the Hornets still didn’t look like they belonged on the court.

The first play of the game was indicative:  Kobe Bryant strips Devin Brown and takes it in for a dunk.  If any of you were surprised by that, you haven’t watched the Hornets the last 12 months.  Observations – such as they are:

  • Chris Paul didn’t have an other-worldly shooting night for the first time this season, and it made it even more apparent how poorly the rest of this team is playing.  Paul still did alright with 15 points and 9 dimes, but he rode the pine for a lot of the fourth as the game was over by halftime.
  • Devin Brown wasn’t shy in creating contact with Kobe.  Unfortunately, he didn’t really make Kobe’s life any harder – or deny him the shots he wanted.  That’s one thing you should take away from tonight.  If you took a look at the tape and analyzed the plays, you will see the Hornets do a solid job of contesting shots. They are there, with a hand in the Laker’s faces for a lot of the shots.  The problem is that those are the shots the Lakers want.  The Hornets don’t take away offensive options – they merely contest shots when they are  taken.  That’s a recipe for disaster.

  • The best part of the game tonight was the 4th quarter, when the team started running.  If Byron wants his team to get out and run like he’s claimed over and over and over, he needs to put in players who CAN run.  Collison’s speed and decision making on the break is in another league from Bobby Brown’s – and he was great in the open floor with Thornton and Julian filling the wings in the last quarter.

  • David West has always been bothered by Lamar Odom.  His best work against the Lakers has always been with Pau Gasol on him – but like I’ve said a thousand times before, he can’t score on fast, long defenders.  Tonight, he pretty much settled for the mid-range jumper all night.  There’s a reason why the mid-range jumper is a bit of a lost art.  It ain’t efficient. 4-11 for 11 points.  And 4 rebounds.
  • Julian Wright had four layups that bounced off his fingers, and he was bailed out on one of his “fast breaks” where he continued to push one on two.  I’m not sure which is worse for me right now – watching someone in a Hornet’s uniform take a three point shot, or Julian trying to handle the ball.  Both are more likely to end poorly than not.
  • Okafor had a nice game, including two vicious dunks on post moves.  I’d like to be happy about that, but he was being guarded by DJ Mbenga and Josh Powell.  Yeah, that does kinda take the shine off of things.

So . . . that’s about it about the game.  I do want to say one other thing before heading off to sleep.  If you went back and looked at the past posts on this blog, you’ll find me defending Byron Scott a lot.  I like a lot of things Byron does, and I like a lot of his philosophies.  Tonight, however, the scales tipped for me.  My level of frustration about his decisions this season has passed “open-mouthed in disbelief” and reached “weeping blood”.  I don’t even know what to say at this point.

Clippers are tomorrow night.  Maybe our guys can avoid a blowout.

UPDATE: Video highlights from NBA.com:

Also be sure to check out Mr. Kennedy’s Hornets-Lakers report in our Journals section.

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