Lakers Beat the Hornets Behind Gasol, Zebras

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.


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