Lakers Beat the Hornets Behind Gasol, Zebras

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Published: February 5, 2011

Despite the Hornets making a valiant effort, there was no overcoming Emeka Okafor’s absence against the Lakers. The Hornets kept it close throughout, and really seemed to have a chance, but with each whistle that went against them you could tell that it just wasn’t their night.

Let’s start with what we all knew going in. The Hornets have no answer for Pau Gasol. They didn’t have one before the game. They didn’t have one during the game. They certainly don’t have one after the game. The guy was completely and utterly unstoppable for the entire game. He had 32 points on 17 shots through 3 quarters, and did just enough in the final on on the boards to put his team over the top.

What we didn’t expect is that the Hornets would take a total of four free throws all game. If you’re curious how fans felt about it, check out the recap from the live chat. Anger doesn’t begin to describe it.

This is the second time this year that I’ve said the refs did their jobs so poorly that it obviously effected the outcome of the game. I won’t apologize for criticizing them if they won’t apologize for making obvious bad calls. The ball is in their court. Monty is probably going to get fined for his comments, and for good reason. That was absurd.

If there is one positive thing to say, it’s that they were consistent. All game long they called things the same way.

That said, the Hornets didn’t attack the rim in the second half, and they have nobody but themselves to blame for that. As Michael pointed out, if the Hornets take that kind of play to the postseason, it’s one and done for sure.

David West had a big first half, going for 14 points and 9 rebounds. Without his presence inside there wouldn’t have been a chance the Hornets could have kept the game within striking distance. Paired with Aaron Gray and DJ Mbenga for the most part, there just wasn’t much West could do to limit the Lakers bigs, who were having a field day down low.

With about 8 minutes to go in the third quarter he took his third foul on a tickey-tackey call on the offensive end. With a front court of Aaron Gray and David Anderson, it wasn’t unreasonable to think that the Lakers would pull away and never look back.

Chris Paul and the Hornets big men had other ideas. Gray and Anderson combined with Chris Paul to battle Pau Gasol blow for blow. Dunks by Gray and jumpers by Anderson gave Paul the help he needed off the pick to unleash his inner CP3. The dude was straight up balling like it was 2008. He put up 13 points and 6 assists in that quarter alone, including a three pointer at the end of the quarter that put the Hornets up one.

The fourth quarter was a back and forth affair until Kobe knocked down a wide open three pointer with a little over three minutes to go to put the Lakers up three. Anderson missed a three of his own and after a tip in on the other end by Lamar Odom, the Lakers were up five. I don’t think the Hornets took another meaningful good shot the rest of the way.

On on possession West stood motionless just inside the arc with the ball for 12 seconds straight. What was that?

It would stay that way into the final 30 seconds. After a timeout in which the Hornets apparently weren’t talking about the next play, they threw up a bad shot and that was essentially all she wrote.

All things considered, it was quite an effort by the injury depleted team. The crowd was great (aside from there being way too many Lakers fans), and gave a number of standing ovations and cheers when the Hornets hustled hard or made a big shot. It was a playoff atmosphere, and despite the outcome it was a blast to attend.

Game notes

  • Sasha Pavlovic made his Hornets debut, playing 9 minutes and recording three assists. Aside from scoring, it was a positive night for him. He an Q-Pon combined for zero points on 4 shots from the small forward position. It was almost like watching Trevor Ariza.
  • Q-Pon was straight up bad tonight. His stat line reads 15 minutes, 3 shots, 0 points, 0 rebounds, 0 assists, 1 block, 2 fouls.
  • When West came back into the game in the fourth quarter, he was trying to force it too much. Rarely does his entrance into the game hurt the offense, but tonight that was the case late in the game. He scored only one basket in the second half.
  • Paul played a game high 44 minutes, and wound up with 21 points on 11 shots, and 15 assists versus four turnovers. It was vintage CP3 for much of the night. It’s too bad he didn’t try to close out the game himself. That would have been fun to watch.
  • David Anderson had another big game for the Hornets, going 5-7 for 14 points and 6 boards in only 20 minutes.
  • Aaron Gray recorded 10 points and 10 rebounds in 25 minutes. His rebounding was key when West was on the bench.
  • I like Marco as much as the next guy, but why was he on the floor for so long there? He just wasn’t feeling it.
  • The Hornets were 9/21 from deep, which is without a doubt the reason they were able to stay in this game as long as they did.
  • Attendance was 18,426, the highest number since before Katrina.
  • The Hornets had zero steals
  • (edited)The Hornets had zero fast break points in this game, and the Lakers have now limited them to only three total in the three matchups between the teams.
  • Los Angeles only turned it over four times.
  • Hornets bench outscored LA 39-15.
  • If you live in New Orleans and were at the Arena tonight rooting for the Lakers, then you are no friend of mine. There were way, way too many Kobe fans at the Arena. Frankly, it makes me sick.

Monty Quotes…

On the game

“I love this team”

“I don’t think many people thought we would be in this thing tonight.”

“We don’t use anything as an excuse.”

“If you put an NBA jersey on, you have a chance to win the game.”

On the 27 fouls shots for the Lakers and the 4 for the Hornets

“Im choosing my words wisely since I don’t want to get fined for this”

“I just don’t understand”

“I thought we deserved a little bit more”

On Chris playing so much time

“I rode him too much.”

“I’m making some boo-boo’s playing him so many minutes in a row.”

Winner of the get-well-soon-card award

Congrats to JNR who won two-5th row tickets to see the Hornets play the Timberwolves on Monday. Check out his entry, here.

Everyone who entered will receive something if they answer their emails.

45 comments
lancebrou68
lancebrou68

does anybody know how close mek is to coming back

QueenBee
QueenBee

Mek probably won't return until after All-Star break.

Diane
Diane

@Joe The Laker's have jillion's of fans - anywhere they play you will see lots of Laker's fans in their jerseys - I really noticed that here in OKC when the Laker's come to town. They even had the nerve to show up last year at the playoffs here in OKC. Chris Paul just isn't playing like himself right now for some reason. He probably could score 40 points a game but he just isn't into.

QueenBee
QueenBee

I don't think Monty wants Chris Paul scoring 40 points a game. If it were Byron Scott, then maybe yeah, but Monty is trying to get more out of his other players.

QueenBee
QueenBee

I mean Monty is actually trying to make creators out of Trevor Ariza and Marco Belinelli. If CP3 were averaging 20&10 right now that would mean we most likely aren't getting much from other players and we probably wouldn't be 32-20 right now either.

bgalella
bgalella

New Orleans has been on the wrong end of a lot of calls lately, think it might be team Stern showing the team the league owns is getting any favoritism.

QueenBee
QueenBee

Slightly OT:CP3's Celebrity Bowling on ESPN at 3:00pm Central time, 4pm ET.

NOEngineer
NOEngineer

Three examples of refereeing that cost us the game: - Stretch where Gray is "blocked" over the back with mega-contact by Bynum, then Kobe air-balls but they say we tipped it, the Q-Pon gets called for a phantom foul before the ensuing throw-in, with free throws. - Fisher loses the ball out of bounds and they call it off the Hornets. - Blocking foul on Marcus when Kobe lowers his shoulder and head twice in a row, with shots. The fact that West and Gray combined for 23 shots and zero free throws is completely ridiculous. Actually, the only two players that disappointed this game were Thornton and West. West started 6 for 8, and finished 8 for 16. He started the 2nd missing an open jumper, and let the refs ruin his game. Thornton had 3 straight bricks in the 4th. The first was a hurried shot with plenty of clock left, the second an air-balled three, and the last a good look that rimmed out. Belly had enough made threes to make his game just mediocre. Anderson played the best defense on Odom by any recent Hornet. All in all, a great tough loss. Hopefully Gray, Anderson, and Pavlovich will see some more PT and we can rest our other bigs.

Thornton's Thunder
Thornton's Thunder

Why Pav what did he do that deserves playing time. 10 uneventful minutes. That is part of why we lost. Poor decision making on rotations by the coach.

NOEngineer
NOEngineer

He played good defense on Kobe. He made several excellent assists. The one where he saved a high pass and tipped it to Thornton for an easy corner three was brilliant. He didn't take any shots that I remember but I'm okay with players who don't shoot but instead create for their team. Ariza and Thornton and Green do that on rare occasions, but mostly they are jacking something up whenever they get the ball. Based on a small sample of Sasha, he might have more discretion than any of our two's or three's. I did not see him make any glaring errors, like Thornton leaving Kobe WIDE open for the game-breaking three or getting blocked leading to a fast break the other way. He's obviously taller and longer than Green, Pondexter, or Thornton, and he seems to be able to run. Other than that, no reason....

42
42

Q really disappointed last night. I'm not concerned with his line directly, but with his inability to earn minutes, which, of course, was affected by the line. Gray did well. I'll assume that not bashing him is equivalent to praise here. Without blaming the refs, I'll say that the Lakers are a savvy team. They do the little things right. These pricks are also always looking for some prick to pass it to, and they do that well. We rebounded well and did well in the paint. Good job, guys.

Dontae
Dontae

It was close but I hated this. Chris Paul can't do it alone. He had a good game 21 pts, 14 assts but no one else really stepped it up. David West had 16 and 12, I know this is good but if everyone's calling him an all-star he should of put up 20. I really hate to see CP3 do his best and still lose. I hope the Hornets do something by the trade deadline.

Hornet Seantonio
Hornet Seantonio

every player in a hornets jersey (excluding maybe belinelli) did everything they could last night to win that game. not having trev + okafor and having the refs against we just didnt have enough to overcome it

42
42

You think Ariza on Kobe would have helped? You think West playing 12 fewer minutes than Paul affected his output?

Ainge
Ainge

I think Belinelli has done well this season, maybe apart from last nights game. Should give him his dues and give the dude another chance to redeem himself. http://sportsloop.blogspot.com/

42
42

I can't stand the 'possessed' Hornets fans. It's maddening listen to them cheer in my Arena. Good work, JNR.

Monty'sDoghouse
Monty'sDoghouse

BTW, the Belinelli honeymoon is officially over. This crap isn't even funny to argue about anymore. He can not and should not be our starting shooting guard come playoff time. He is now shooting 38.8% from the field (33.6% from downtown) since the beginning of December. "Deep threats that spread the floor" do not go on 40 game slumps. Yeah he's cute and he was a feel good story. Know what's a better story? Us winning a playoff series.

Monty'sDoghouse
Monty'sDoghouse

I sold my season tickets to this game and went and checked out Korn/Disturbed in Biloxi. Glad I did. I can't stand all the fair weather Kobe lovers and the terrible officiating. No NBA team EVER EVER EVER EVER deserves to shoot almost 8x more free throws than the other team in ANY NBA game. This crap is really starting to piss me off. First Phoenix, than the SAME EXACT OBVIOUS no-call at a very crucial juncture in the OKC game, than this bullsh*t. David Stern needs to put a better product out on the floor than this. The officiating has literally played a huge part in 3 of our last 4 losses. That is flat out unacceptable. *Off Topic* Jonathan Davis looked as close to 100% as I've seen him in recent years. Props to the man for obviously working his tail off to fight through his breathing issues. Night and day between the awesome 2011 show and the craptastic 2009 show at the Coliseum.

42
42

I saw them open for Megadeth at the State Palace Theater in thr 90's. I saw Munkey and Fieldy out. Decent guys, if cocky. I have yet to see Disturbed. I want to; it just didn't work out tonight.

Mark
Mark

"The Hornets had zero fast break points in this game, and have now limited them to only three ALL YEAR." Wait... seriously? What constitutes a fast break? I could have sworn we've had more.

Joe Gerrity
Joe Gerrity

The Lakers have limited them to 3 all year. Sorry.

Mark
Mark

Oh wow, that's a great accomplishment by the Lakers. Thanks for the clarification.

NolaHog
NolaHog

It's nice to see these bench guys get some minutes. If we're going to have some injuries, this is the time of the year to get it out of the way. It forces you to have to play your bench guys, and it gives Monty the opportunity to really evaluate them in game scenarios. Aaron Gray looked lost on defense out there at times, but his hands are looking at little softer when he's catching passes on offense. I was surprised to see that Anderson has modest ability at creating his own shot, and he seems fairly calm when he's handling the ball. I think these games are great at figuring out what we've really got on the bench for when we get towards the end of the season. I really don't think Demps' job this summer can be understated. We're not perfect by any stretch, but considering where we were last year and where we are now this year, I think he did a great job at assembling a lot of different pieces while still saying underneath the luxury tax limit.

MaxJD_Nola2NYC
MaxJD_Nola2NYC

I still don't understand, can someone tell me why Bellinelli is our first and only option at the end of this game?!? I'm so pissed, and freakin frogboy "westbrook" won. I hate okc!

AgentZiko
AgentZiko

He isn't the first option. Chris Paul did what he always does. He drove and drew the defense into the paint. Then kicked it out to an open Belinelli. If CP WANTED to. He could have taken a shot. Instead he dished. It's not like Marco got a rebound, dribbled it up the court and fired away.

QueenBee
QueenBee

I hate them AND Utah. Too bad both of them couldn't lose tonight though. LOL!

Hornet Seantonio
Hornet Seantonio

Just got back from the game the loss hurt, but we showed so much heart and fight. I love this team too much, reppin NOLA and the Hornets till i'm suckin dirt

QueenBee
QueenBee

Monty... "I felt like we were playing against so much tonight." You sure were Monty. You sure were.

Bee-fense
Bee-fense

How about Artest's take-down of QPon under the rim? No tech called, not even a personal

QueenBee
QueenBee

No respect at all. I don't even know what's the sense in watching.

Gec
Gec

"David Anderson had another big game for the Hornets, going 5-7 for 14 points and 6 boards in only 20 minutes." yes but he did some key mistakes on defense during the fourth.. Marcus had to collapse into the paint and Kobe got the wideopen three, then he didn't box out Odom for the tipin, -5 hornets. Another good team effort.. execpt those last 3 minutes..

JNR
JNR

I was infuriated with the officiating. There's no way you can justify that sort of disparity. No Okafor, no Ariza, and they still needed help from the referees to win. I had a bitter taste in my mouth the entire way home, and I don't think it's going to go away for a little while. I was shocked by how out of rhythm West looked in the 4th, but I guess that's what happens when you get ridiculous fouls called on you every time you breathe on Pau.

Mark
Mark

Congrats on the tickets JNR.

42
42

You done good.

JNR
JNR

Thanks!

m-W
m-W

No one likes to lose, but this team gave their all. I respect that. I love that.

BIGBREED
BIGBREED

m-W, I agree w/ you on that one bro! Seeing "all" of the HORNETS games "live" plus having alot of basketball experience, I get to see alot of things that the TV doesn't show. MAN....Aaron Gray doesn't know has offensive plays! -one more thing- Missed 3pt attempts helps the opposing team to start their fastbreak, which hurts the HORNETS defense! {thats the reason MT5 isn't in the starting rotation} The Defense sets the tone, then MT5 comes in w/ an unconscious offensive attitude which propels the team in their struggles after playing hard-nose defense. Playing Defense, takes a toll on players legs which affects their free throws & jump shot percentage. {There's a reason why MT5 isn't in the starting 5! Plus its not who start the game but who finish the game that matters!} MT5 finishs games and he's in his best role.........."Being An Offensive Assassin!" -BASKETBALL 101- {A long "missed' jump shot will equal a long rebound, which will start an "easy" fast break for the opposing team} Remember...WE ARE A DEFENSIVE TEAM! -EXPANE YOUR BASKETBALL KNOWLEDGE-

Mark
Mark

A real moral victory, knowing that we can hang with top teams without key players. Or, just a testament to how important CP is to our team. I'm buzzing.

MaxJD_Nola2NYC
MaxJD_Nola2NYC

I'm feeling very depressed, why in shits name is marco bellinelli shooting the final shots??!?! CP hit shots at the end of the third... Man I wish the game ended in the 3rd!! Thornton should shoot the final shots

QueenBee
QueenBee

The Hornets owe the Wolves one on Monday and they better pay up.

QueenBee
QueenBee

On one of those last possessions it looked like CP was zipping the ball to Marcus and Belinelli intercepted it and bricked the shot. SMH. LOL! And there were times underneath the rim the Hornets should've been shooting free throws but....well.

QueenBee
QueenBee

So no Ariza, no Okafor, 4 funky ass free throws and the Lakers won by 6. SMH.

QueenBee
QueenBee

"On on possession West stood motionless just inside the arc with the ball for 12 seconds straight. What was that?" Hell at one point I was scared for West to move. It seemed like every time he moved the whistle blew.