The Lakers handled the Hornets

The Lakers jumped out to a big lead in the first quarter, running their offense, taking advantage of all the size mismatches on the inside, and drilling every open look they got.  The Hornets didn’t give up all game, cutting the lead to single digits several times, but in the end, they couldn’t hit their own open perimeter shots and fell 102-84 to the Lakers. (Box Score)

I said before the games that for the Hornets to win, they were going to need Landry to go off and their perimeter guys to hit their shots.  The Hornets perimeter guys, however, didn’t comply, and it wasn’t because of some sort of stellar perimeter defense.  They simply failed to knock down the open shots they did get.  3-17 from deep, including 1-10 from Marco and Trevor.  I expect that from Trevor, but Belinelli’s inability to hit his shots hurt badly.  Paul himself was off for a lot of the game, shooting several shots so short that they were very nearly airballs.  23 points from three of your starters?  That’s not cutting it against anyone.

Carl Landry

Landry was flat out a beast tonight.  We needed him to score, but he scored and put the Lakers impressive stable of big men in constant foul trouble all night.  Offensively, he was relentless, attacking, drawing contact, and running the floor.  He was one of the primary reasons the Hornets were able to make their little runs at times.  He finished with 24 points on 16 shots and 10 rebounds. 

However, not everything was lollipops and rainbows.  Landry was simply too small to cause many problems for the Lakers.  Gasol scored over him at will, and both of the Lakers big men repeatedly just reached up and plucked rebounds away from him in the first half.  I don’t blame him for this – it’s not his fault he’s only 6’7″.  (He was standing next to Kobe and was the same height)  Still, this sort of thing matters.

Aaron Gray

I have to give the big man credit.   He was a difference maker out there against Andrew Bynum.  Was Bynum better than him?  No Question.  However, tonight Aaron Gray did everything he needed to in order to make Bynum work in the post and then controlled his side of the basket very well as a rebounder.  When the other side is throwing big men at us with limited mobility, Aaron Gray will play fairly well against them.  I know it’s pointless to say so, but sometimes I wish Gray felt the urge to be the best basketball player he could be.  If he dedicated himself to get fit, he could have been special.

Other Observations:

  • Ariza was abysmal except for a brief stretch in the third when he drove and dumped the ball off three times for layins by the bigs.  Every time he went in looking for a shot himself, however, it was a bit like watching the movie 2012 – or any of those other disaster movies where the world ends.
  • Jack had a great stretch in the second quarter.  Sadly he wasn’t able to duplicate it in the fourth.
  • The fact that Paul’s shots were all front-rimming suggest dead legs.  It is the third game in four nights, on the road, and Paul has already shown us this season that he can look flat out bad without enough time to keep that knee in decent shape.  We saw that again tonight.
  • Okafor had 8 offensive rebounds.  I don’t think the Hornets ran even a single offensive play for him tonight, but those boards made him still nicely effective on that end of the floor.

Not much else to say.  We’ll be recording the podcast tomorrow night due to the Lakers game being somewhat late, so you should have it available Tuesday.  Have a good night.

18 responses to “The Lakers handled the Hornets”

  1. didnt prove as bad as i thought it might’ve. score didnt represent the game i feel for the most part. showed more encouraging signs for the playoffs if we do have to play them. if landry can produce like that and the perimeter guys do their job we could at least compete

  2. My money says that Gray is going to spend this summer just like last year– working hard and getting in even better shape. I’m thrilled that he’s the backup center.

  3. why montys refusal to run okafor and gray at the same time? especially the way gasol was playing against landry. also, im not sure why we dont give qpon more miuntes. i figured he would be our back up sf by now, but we still see stupid stretches of paul, jack, and green out at the same time. montys rotations…yuck.

    • Agree q-pon looks to have polished his offensive game almost overnight, looked awesome against I think it was the jazz

    • Okafor and Gray can’t play together, because that would create the most offensively inept lineup in the league. Think about it:

      Okafor: Range = 4 feet from the basket
      Gray: Range = 2.2 feet from the basket
      Ariza: Please don’t shoot or handle the ball! Please!
      Belinelli: He’s a streaky shooter, and he was way off last night.
      Paul: The only guy in this lineup who can create a shot for himself.

      Landry has to be in there with one of the two bigs. Only he can create for himself. Not to mention, Okafor/Gray would create a very slow-footed lineup as well. I know the size would help, but we don’t have scorers on the wing to be able to pull that off.

  4. and yet we continue to trot out small-ball during games against quality large men. Stop the madness! Yeah, CP3 gets perimeter players open looks. But our small guys don’t hit from the perimeter with any more consistency than do our big guys.

  5. It’s so depressing to lose, but we had that game right there in front of us, down 4 in the fourth. These guys need to believe they can beat LA for more than a couple of stretches and actually go out there and beat them.

    Like coach Mike Malone said at halftime, “We just need to get the belief that we can beat them, we don’t have that yet.” I think everyone except Chris Paul showed that in the second half.

  6. We definitely need to utilize the gray and okafor combo a little more.I also wouldn’t mind seeing qpon and trevor on the floor with the them. I’m not going to make too much of a deal out of the loss though. we have to keep in mind that this is only the second game that landry has gotten extensive minutes with the other starters. It is imperative that we get production out of the back court in some way. I can see why Monty uses paul,Jack and Green together. But it defeats the purpose when your offensive game plan stays the same. if you use your smaller lineups then why not push the offensive tempo and get those guys out and running with CP3. however, we must knock down wide open shots. I’m still believing that we will have great success once the playoffs arive. We just have to make sure we ARE there,when they do Arrive.

  7. Sometimes, you just face a team thats better than you. This is one of those cases. This Laker squad is just a bad matchup for the Bugs. Fisher gives Paul fits in end-of-game situations, Kobe is Kobe, Odom can play all 5 positions on the floor and is a matchup nightmare for anyone facing him, Gasol is an elite player and can get whatever he wants over the likes of Landry, and Gray will give a valiant effort but is really no match for Bynum.

    I really liked the effort I saw from the Hornets last night. They played with heart and pride, and didn’t back down even though they were out-manned. They just faced a legit championship contender thats on a serious roll. The only game the Lakers lost since the all-star break was in Miami.

    I think the Hornets can give the Lakers a fight for each and every game in the playoffs, but ultimately get swept. If the Lakers are the 1st round matchup, just dont get “Nuggeted”, and I’ll call that success.

  8. Belinelli, Jack, and Green went 10-35 for just 23 points. Kobe outscored them by 7 all by himself. If none of them are hitting their stride during any of the games, our chance of winning them are slim to none.

  9. I’ve been a fan of Gray’s since he was beasting at Pitt and was stunned he wasn’t drafted higher. I think if he really dedicates himself he could be a poor man’s Andrew Bogut, which as a backup center is fantastic

  10. I’m also frustrated with the small ball lineup. If we’re not going to run out of that lineup I don’t get the point in doing it. It’s certainly not that we have three marksmen on the court when we go to that lineup. I’d like to see some Gray and Okafor combo time. The biggest problem with that lineup is that you are seriously limited in the offense you can run and your ability to score. Unless, of course, your game plan with that lineup is to go with CP3, Jack and Ariza and hope to be able to defend, rebound and run.

  11. Monty did play some Okafor/Gray combo in the Utah game and it worked pretty well. Maybe he didn’t want to show that look to the Lakers? If we do face them, we’re going to have to have something different if we want to steal a game or two.

    • I love the Gray/Okafor lineup, particularly against the Lakers. It’s size, rebounding and all of that. Against LA I’d love to see Paul/Ariza/Landry/Okafor/Gray against Fisher/Bryant/Odom/Gasol/Bynum or if you are confident in defending Belinelli against Bryant then throw him in for a scoring punch.

  12. Gray…can he shoot outside or not?
    I don’t know, really, and I have watched him for his 4 years as a pro.
    I know he can shoot free throws.
    I am just not sure if he has been told not to shoot the outside shot.
    Perhaps in prctice they see he can’t.
    But truthfully, has anybody really seen him shoot outside…or at least 5 feet or so?

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