Hornets steal game one versus the Lakers

By:
Published: April 17, 2011

The Hornets just shattered a whole host of sweep predictions, winning 109-100 (Box Score) on the defending champion Lakers home court.   The Hornets led for almost every minute of the game, played record-tying mistake free offensive basketball, and weathered a storm of free throws in the Lakers favor to start the game.

As always, it was a tremendous team defensive effort that made the win possible as the Hornets combined to limit Bynum with foul trouble and Gasol in general.  That, in turn, made Bryant take most of the shots through the second half, and history has shown that the Lakers are vulnerable when Bryant is being forced to carry most of the load himself.

Then, of course, there was the Eater of Souls.

CP3

17 points in the fourth quarter.  33 overall.  11-18 shooting, 14 assists, 7 rebounds, 4 steals, and a bare pair of turnovers.  He got to the hoop at will, he took guys off the dribble and drilled shots in their face.  He set his feet and knocked down his threes.  He had a brilliant steal on Bryant that he simply plucked from his hands.  He pushed on fast breaks.  He manufactured two for ones.  He handled tough, physical defense with tough, physical offense of his own.  He was brilliant in every sense of the word.

In the first half he controlled the game, dishing for 10 of his dimes, while taking the open shots that were there.  To close the game, he was simply un-guardable, with a jumper that was automatic from all ranges.  Incredible.

Aaron Gray

Nothing hurt more than seeing him have to be helped off the court at the end of that game, because Gray was a monster.   With Okafor drawing fouls every time he shrugged his shoulders, Gray came in and made Bynum struggle to get position in the paint.  While it resulted in a lone rebound for the big man, his ability to tie up huge chunks of space in the paint allowed the Hornets team as a whole to control the defensive glass, and limit a huge Laker advantage.  His offense on the other hand was excellent as he floated to the empty spaces and Paul found him for easy look after easy look.  Come back strong, Gray.

Other Observations

  • The bench was vital tonight, but it wasn’t just their hot shooting.  Their assault on the paint in the fourth quarter as Willie, Jack and Gray rumbled towards the hoop put the Hornets in the bonus with more than eight minutes to go.  The result was that a game that formerly had the Lakers winning the free throw game 28 to 12 ended 33 to 33.
  • Free throws.  See that, McNamara?  The Hornets can get the easy, necessary free throws!
  • Willie Green got his minutes against the Lakers bench, which struggled mightily tonight.  His slashing game was important, but Monty made the right call in putting in Ariza to track Bryant.  Ariza’s defense was brilliant down the stretch.
  • Of course, Ariza’s offense was as cringe-worthy as usual, as it was his offensive forays that let the Lakers get back into in the third.  Still, his defense and contributions on the boards made him a net-gain in my book.
  • The Hornets were determined to slow Gasol.  While Gasol was playing, the Hornets kept cycling Okafor and even Mbenga on him to make sure a tough defender was bodying him at all time.  They opened the game with Landry on Bynum to make that possible.  A risky plan by Monty, but the Hornets need to take some risks to pull this series out.  Good on ya, rook.
  • Jack, for all this being his first playoff game, was playing pretty free and easy.  When he took that three in the fourth that stuck on the rim, he was actually grinning.  Pressure wasn’t getting to him.  Oh, and 15 and 5 for the back-up point, including two brilliant veteran plays to draw free throws.  Anyone want to murder him this time?
  • Fisher is a hard-nosed son of a bitch.
  • In the third, I was getting really worried as the Laker defensive pressure ramped up and they started getting to the line.  But then the Hornets answered that run like they answered all the others.  Phew.

For those of you who went to the Watch party, I hear it was absolutely magnificent.  Thanks for coming out and sharing the good time!  Joe is going to be holding another watch party at the same place for the Wednesday game too.  Spread the word and bring your friends!

Oh – and I just recapped a Sunday win.  That hasn’t happened all year.  Must have been my abandonment of numbers in favor of my emotion-inspiring video.   Go watch it again.

We can counter, and we still got Paul.  All the Paul you can handle.

85 comments
ryan a.
ryan a.

i watched the game at a sports book in vegas surrounded by 200 lakers fans and not one other hornet fan that i could see. very hostile enviorment but i loved the silence in the last two minutes. the hornets played a great game but it wasnt the best they can play. ariza did a good job of attacking the rim if half of his shots fall its a blowout. the hornets shot terrible from the line in the first half and bellinelli couldve played better and they still won. if gray cant go that will be huge but i like what i saw from dj in his limited minuites. the hornets need to focus on keeping mek on the floor and out of foul trouble. with all that said it was a great win for the hornets. they have the lakers on the ropes all the pressure is on them and the hornets have nothing to lose. if they stay aggressive they have a real chance in this series

QueenBee
QueenBee

Good post ryan a. Did you have on any Hornets gear in that place? I agree. I think the Hornets can do better also. Sure, Gasol and Odumb will probably have a better game next time but I don't expect the Hornets to miss 10+ free throws, I don't expect Emeka to always be in foul trouble and I don't expect Ariza to go 2-13 in every game. Hornets said they have to go into the next game as if it's 0-0.

ryan a.
ryan a.

i had the d west jersey on so i was pretty recognizable in a sea of gold. i expect gasol to be better than he was on sunday but if they continue to play physical with him it'll be the same story. make him work for every bucket in the paint and dont give him the 15 ft jumper and gasol becomes average at best. i also think offensively ariza is the key to this series cp probably wont have 33 every game. the lakers struggled to keep ariza from getting to the rim he just couldnt finish. the ability to finish those drives will be huge down the stretch.

TheGravyTrain
TheGravyTrain

It really hurt to see the Gravy Train go out the game when he was playing like that, hope he is okay

AllBall
AllBall

If you still don't think CP is the best PG in the L, then fck you.

PeeDee
PeeDee

i cant wait to be in the hive friday

James Online
James Online

I was lucky enough to be in Staples Center for this one, lower bowl, wearing Hornets' colors, a Marco Belinelli jersey. There were precious few of us there: I spotted two or three others, and one was a pint sized kid. We were high fiving all over the place. Sat among a bunch of Kobe/Black Mambas (of course) and had a great time watching them begin to pour out with two or three minutes left. Like always, they arrived late, left early, and displayed precious little knowledge of the game. Lakers and their fans treated this game like a regular season game against a so-so opponent. There were more Boston fans there (hatin' on the Lakers) than Hornets' fans, but that was cool. We were hoping for the same outcome. I will say this: Staples Center and the way the Lakers produce their entertainment is first-class. Doesn't diminish my great dislike for the Lakers, but you gotta give credit where due: it's a first class organization. Got there an hour early to watch warmups. The Hornets were incredibly focused and serious. And during the game there was tremendous bench involvement all the way through. These guys really do support each other. They have grown together as a team. Gray's injury is very worrisome. It happened right in front of me. He was in tremendous pain and could put no weight on the leg. I hope it's better than it looked because it looked serious. It was a truly great experience watch the Hornets win this one. Chris Paul has to be given all the credit in the world. He hasn't looked that tough, strong, and focused all year. His shot selection was superb, and was making them. The only downer was Ariza who was horrible. And please, very little credit should go to him for defense at any point in the game. On the offensive end, it was one brick after another and absolutely nothing even close from distance. He nearly shot the Hornets out of the game at one point. He's got to play better because we aren't likely to get this kind of performance from Chris and the rest of the cast again.

420ftjesus
420ftjesus

Good job, James. I know you get flack for some of your comments; I just hope people remember these actions, too.

James Online
James Online

I write what I honestly see and I don't care what others think. Originality always begets resistance. Beyond that, I'm an unabashed Marco fan and will always provide a point of view that represents his talents and contributions. I doubt anyone has traveled twice to NOLA from 2,000 miles away to watch four games, and managed to see two others in Golden State, two more in Sacramento, and two more v. the Lakers in LA. I support the team but am not blind to their problems and call it as I see it. I'm also somewhat conflict because the talk of the Hornets moving to San Jose is, of course, more than interesting. Yet at the same time I love New Orleans and would hate to see the team leave. There must be a huge fan turnaround next year for the team to be viable in New Orleans. And I shudder to think where the attendance goes if the Hornets don't make the playoffs.

420ftjesus
420ftjesus

All that is appreciated James, and I'm glad you stick around. I just wanted to make that perfectly clear. It's not easy having unpopular things to say that honestly come from the heart.

ur_gmas_daughter
ur_gmas_daughter

I may have been 1 of the 3 dudes you saw with the Hornets jersey I was behind the Hornets bench (18 rows) and about a $20 beers' throw away from Jack Nicholson. It was short notice when I got the tix but man I wish I couldve got on here and met up with the West Coast Hornets247 fans cause I know theres a couple on here. Great game and we may have high-fived on the way out of Staples Center cause I tried to connect everybody with a Hornets jersey today, unbelievable yo be there. I know what you mean about the fans the dudes next to me were asking me what a "charge" was and more people were on their iPhones then watchin the game in my section, it was awful

Patrick Clay
Patrick Clay

How is nobody mentioning Mbenga's play? Only had a few minutes, but he had a great block, was playing excellent man defense, and made an insane fall-away shot over Pau! Dude was HUNGRY to play against his old team, I hope he gets to!! Looked awesome today in the few minutes he played.

tyler
tyler

Mbenga really locked bynum up. mbenga is my boy

Halloniusfunk
Halloniusfunk

Great game - great party! Thanks to the Hornets247 crew for putting it together. I drank enough PBR to fill those empty Laker expectations of a sweep :) Glad to meet some of the peeps behind the online handles. I'm pretty sure Joe Gerrity willed this team to victory.

The Truth
The Truth

The New Orleans Hornets won ONE GAME of a seven-game series. That's it. Lakers won the season series 4-0. I wouldn"t bust out the crawdads and gumbo or whatever you folks celebrate with down there just yet. Lakers in six. Take it to the bank.

Bug Marley
Bug Marley

I don't do banks....Paul Pierce?

420ftjesus
420ftjesus

We can all count, Bubba, but thanks. You're a helpful little chap, aren't you? We call then crawfish. Weird, eh? No fins or scales or gills. So you think we win 2, then? Hey, thanks! While you are here, who's your next coach going to be?

The Truth
The Truth

Looks like the next Lakers coach will be Shaw. Personally, I think he's too much of a players' coach, and what the Lakers need right now is a tough disciplinarian. I like Rick Adelman. Won't happen, but it should.

420ftjesus
420ftjesus

Thanks, dude. We're cool here, and I'm glad you came back, trash talk aside. Any questions for us?

NOH Domination
NOH Domination

Coach Kobe.. We all know how well it worked out the first time.

enod01
enod01

When did CP3 lose the knee-brace?!?!?!

420ftjesus
420ftjesus

Around All-Star. He's gone through versions, and had to wear something after knocking knees in a game.

JaeAmazin
JaeAmazin

I Called it..The lakers are playing mediocre right now..We Need to take Advantage

QueenBee
QueenBee

Monty on Chris Paul... On Chris Paul’s performance and execution: “When he’s fresh nobody can stay in front of him. The pick and roll is what he does and sometimes I tend to mess with the game by trying to run too many “basketball sets” when sometimes I just need to give him the ball and let him go to work. He and I were on the same page tonight as far as calling plays.” Nice honesty there by Monty.

Buzz
Buzz

Yeah, the honesty is refreshing. I like.

420ftjesus
420ftjesus

I read through the chat. Many of our watch party 'beats' match the ones in the chat. There was a question on pace: Pace is an estimate of the number of posessions a team will have in a game. Possessions = .96 * (FGA − ORb + TO + (.44 * FTA)) The .96 and .44 are 'stable variables' that are empirically determined. TO increase pace since you have to have the ball to turn it over. It ends your possession early, this making it more likely you get 'an extra' posession compared to not turning it over. Same for FGA. ORb continue existing possessions, so decrease your 'extra' possessions later. FTA likely ends your posession. It's not perfect but it's an estimate. Logarithms were mentioned: Logs enter into stats in a few places, but in basketball we see them when we have stats that folks think of as additive (100ppg is 20 ppg more than 80 ppg) when they are 'really' more of a multiplicative thing (100 ppg is 1.25 times 80ppg). Pace does this as rebounds etc. all 'scale up' with pace. As a result, we see pace together with logs in many practical settings, but they do not enter into their initial calculations. I'm happy to do a weekly series before next season. Then we can take Ryan down . . . I mean . . . Appreciate Ryan even more . . . Yes, that's it . . .

Jeff
Jeff

Can anyone get a hi-res screen capture of the look on Chris' face after he drained one of the two consecutive jumpshots on Pau? Is was such a sublime moment/look that so perfectly defines what CP3 is, and I wanna remember it forever.

Mark
Mark

I don't remember who said it, but it was mentioned that Phil Jackson had previously been 15-0 in playoff home series 1 openers. 15-1.

Buzz
Buzz

Ryan, disagree with the title. This game wasn't stolen; this was 4 qtrs of great bball by the hornets. We stole home advantage, but we earned the win. We beat the lakers the same way we did on occasion in '07-08; with Chris Paul destroying the laker defence. They don't have an obvious choice to guard him because Fisher can't keep up with him. If cp3 is on, then we can beat this team. On Gray, 270+ pounds going through that ankle doesn't look good, hopefully he can get back before too long. He was great tonite. He has had some really good games this year where he has made an enormous difference, and tonite he was brilliant. The hornets ability to persevere in the face of adversity will be tested again. I can live with Ariza shooting so horribly if he is attacking the rim. Early on, I thought he set the tone and was very aggressive. He missed, but he meant well. Landry's hustle goes a long way. Imagine if we hadn't traded for him and still had Thornton coming off the bench and we started with Smith @PF. We would've been destroyed. I love Thornton, but this was a great trade. Pau Gasol looked soft tonite. We've got to stay physical with him throughout the series to keep him in his box. Honestly I thought this was going to be a another Denver series '08-09 where we would lie down and get swept. I think this gave shows that we are a far better side now. Could Phil Jackson have anymore patronising to Gray in his postgame interview? I know Gray played out of his skin tonite, but show some respect. Bring on game 2.

Patrick Clay
Patrick Clay

What did Jackson say about gray? I know Phil always has a mountain of compliments for NOLA, can't wait to hear about this

Buzz
Buzz

It was actually fairly minor, but implyed that for 2bigs to get beat by Aaron Gray was a function of not trying and not because Aaron played well. Also he refered to Gray as a boy. Just annoyed me at the time. I hope we kick the lakers but for the rest of the series.

504ever
504ever

I posted this earlier in the other thread, just after the game ended: ”Un-f-king believable. And the best part is the Hornets look like a team that likes playing together. If we can keep these pieces and maybe draft/sign one or two more WOW!! (I sure hope Aaron Gary is OK. Boy was he quality tonight.) And if you don’t think Monty and Del know what they are doing look at this stat: our three highest plus scores came from our bench and three of our four highest plus scores (all but Gray) were acquired since Del took over!! Hard to see anyone not wanting to stay with this team the next few years.” Now here is Carl Landry’s quote, which came out much later: "A lot of people counted us out from the beginning," Landry said. "A lot of people probably still count us out. That's cool. A lot of people might think this game might have been lucky, but we play as a team. We play as a collective unit. We're without David West, but we've still got dudes on this team that can step up." Landry gets it!!!

Chuck
Chuck

The Derrick Rose fans are now desperately searching for holes in Chris Paul's game...only to find none. Thanks for playing Rose fans, enjoy your media-driven MVP. CP will enjoy being the best point guard in the league for the next 10 years

Dontae
Dontae

Did I not say Gray would show everyone something sooner or later?! What better time than the playoffs. I expected 22 and 10 from Paul but he surprised me. All we have to do is get some wins at home.

QueenBee
QueenBee

I was so in awe of what was going on in this game I didn't want to move. People around me were hooping and hollering but I was scared to move because I didn't want anything to change at all. LOL!

NuNu318
NuNu318

You and me both. I stayed in that same spot on the couch. Didn't get up to pee. Didn't get up to answer the phone. nothing. I was scared that if I looked a way for a second we would instantly lose the lead. I'm so proud of these guys. I honestly would have been happy if we kept it close till the end because we don't match up well with them at all. But I'm so very happy they proved me wrong and came out with a W. BLESS U BOYS!! GEAUX HORNETS!!!

QueenBee
QueenBee

I know what you mean NuNu318. LOL!

ur_gmas_daughter
ur_gmas_daughter

I was there at the Staples Center and man I can not explain to you the excitement there. I got free tix from an industry friend of mine and man it was unreal! That playoff run a few years back was exciting but today was bananas. I talked enough shit for everyone on here and then some! Once that clock hit 0:00, I stood up and gave the Hornets a standing O for the effort and I got booed hardcore but I just do not care! I'm on a high from this win that I may never come down from and having the Staple Center so quiet never felt so good. No matter how this series ends we beat the 2 time defending champs in Game 1 in LA when every "analyst" said we'd get swept! I BEE-lieve

OnPointLikeCP3
OnPointLikeCP3

Glad to see you're not in the hospital in a coma. That's what LA fans do, bro, lol. One more thing. HORNETS WIN!!!!!

Mark
Mark

I've been booed for my Hornets affiliation a couple times, but never in a playoff environment. Can't imagine getting bandwagon boos.

420ftjesus
420ftjesus

Standing O for ur_gmas_daughter, people... He was in the belly of the beast...

Adit D
Adit D

Yeah!!! GO HORNETS!!!!!!!!!!!

Hornet Seantonio
Hornet Seantonio

Don't say "steal" the game. it was ours all along. HORNETS!

f.g. di bene
f.g. di bene

great team effort. one of the best wins of the year and a huge game. i loved every hornet on the floor, jack was dishing great assists, marco was hitting the 3s, willie made huge shots, landry was a beast, gray was AWESOME. cp3... well... cp3 was just impressive....

420ftjesus
420ftjesus

Jack had a great no-look pass under the basket.

BIG ROB
BIG ROB

WE DIDNT STEAL THIS GAME THIS GAME WAS OURS FROM START. THE LAKERS ARE OVERRATED TO ME FOR SOME REASON OKAFOR CAN STOP GASOL AND GRAY CAN STOP BYNUM. CP3 IS A BETTER OVERALL PLAYER THAN KOBE B/C HE GETS HIS TEAM INVOLVED MORE , KOBE MAY BE A BETTER SCORER. ARTEST = ARIZA AND LANDRY= ODOM. J JACK AND WILLIE GREEN > BLAKE, BROWN AND FISHER . IF HORNETS PLAY UP TO ABILITY WE CAN WILL WIN THIS SERIES IN 5 OR 6 GAMES . BY THE WAY FUCK THE LAKERS AND EVERYONE WHO GAVE OUR TEAM NO CHANCE. I BEELEIVE IN OUR BOYS . IM IN NOLA