Game On: Hornets @ Lakers (with Watch Party and Live Chat!)

By:
Published: April 20, 2011

The Hornets and Lakers take the floor tonight, and quite frankly, nobody is giving the Hornets a shot to win this game. Few, if any, even thinks the Hornets keep it close, as evidenced by a bevy of “experts” predictions and a 12 point line in Vegas. The prevailing wisdom is that the Lakers came out flat and disinterested, while the Hornets had the game of their life. Fans and writers have said that the Hornets got the benefit of the doubt from the refs due to Stern’s manipulation and that the Lakers just didn’t hit shots they normally make while New Orleans was hitting everything.

To which I say: What game were you watching?

Yes, the Hornets played fantastic basketball for several stretches of the game, but there is much that they can improve on going into Game 2. As Chuck would say, they could “make their, make their, make their, make their free throws.” Forget free throws, maybe in this game Trevor Ariza could set a lofty goal of hitting 40% of his shots- and reach it!

Does anybody really think that the Hornets best defensive player, Emeka Okafor, will only get 22 minutes again and/or grab just 2 rebounds? And how about we flip that around. Anybody expecting another 60 foot Artest heave to drop? The truth of the matter is that both teams are capable of playing better, and quite frankly, both teams are also capable of playing worse. The key to this game will come down to the adjustments that each coach makes going into this game and how well they are able to adjust as the game progresses.

Speaking of adjustments, here is a fantastic article from our friends over at the ESPNLA Land O’ Lakes blog talking about the Lakers adjustments. While there is a lot of truth in what they say, the X factor is that the Hornets are unlikely to come into this game having just stood pat, satisfied with how they played in Game 1. There are several adjustments to be made on their end as well, both reactively and proactively. They are as follows:

1.) Adjust to the adjustments

Monty Williams has to see the writing on the wall and anticipate how the Lakers are going to come out tonight. From everything the Lakers have said since the Game 1 loss, I would be shocked if Kobe came out shooting tonight. More likely than not, the Lakers are going to try and get their bigs involved early, and if the Hornets anticipate this, they can use it to their advantage. Cheat off of Kobe and Artest early on in the game, encouraging them to become shooters. Think about how frustrated we become when CP3 tries too hard to get others involved early in the game and passes up quality looks. Why not back off of Kobe early on and make him choose the lesser of two evils: Do I throw the game plan out the window and just shoot or do I stick with it knowing that the bigs will not get the quality looks I can get right now?

On the offensive end, you know that the Lakers are not going to switch a big onto CP3 and that they will be running multiple people at him from all different areas. The Lakers want to get the ball out of his hand and force other guys to beat them. How do you adjust to this, outside of just hoping Marco and Trevor hit their jumpers? By attacking. The Hornets will have a 4 on 3 in these situations once CP3 gives the ball up and the Lakers will be praying for the Hornets to settle for a jumper. Instead, the Hornets have to attack like they did in the 4th quarter of Game 1. Get the bigs into foul trouble and get yourself into an early penalty situation. If the Hornets can get into the penalty with 5 or 6 minutes left in the quarter, CP3 can start trying to split those double teams, get into the lane, etc. and just live at the line.

2.) Get inside Ron Artest’s head

The biggest mismatch for me in this series? Ron Artest by a mile. Kobe is still the best player and Pau is an All-Star, but the Hornets have ways of giving those guys problems, but they have no answer for Ron Artest’s physicality. There was only one player in game one who had double digit rebounds, and it wasn’t one of the 7 footers, it was Ron Artest. Because the Hornets have to put Ariza on Kobe Bryant, they are often stuck with either Jarrett Jack, Willie Green, or Marco Belinelli on Ron Artest. Green is the most well-equipped to get physical with Artest, but even that is a mismatch. Belinelli vs. Artest is just a joke, and Jack is somewhere in the middle.

Ron Artest had five offensive rebounds in game 1 and he could have killed the Hornets all day in the post if the Lakers just kept going to him. Thankfully, they didn’t. I have a feeling, however, that after watching the tape that the LA staff will see how truly great this mismatch is and get him more involved. Honestly, there is no answer for him on this roster unless the Hornets want to shift Landry down to the three. What Marco will have to do is flop, flop, flop, and then flop some more. He did it once in game one and Artest didn’t get back into the post again after that happened. I hate to say it Marco, but you are gonna have to go all Manu on him tonight.

3.) Get Jarrett Jack on the floor more tonight

Jack was great off the bench in the first game, but he only played 22 minutes- mostly because he would have had to guard Artest on defense. Tonight, I think the Hornets will have to bite that bullet, because they are going to need all the firepower they can get and Jack is the best matchup against this Lakers team. With LA set to trap CP3, the Hornets will benefit from having another creator and distributor on the floor when the ball gets swung around. Although I love seeing Trevor Ariza drive hard to the hole and roll the ball to Carl Landry, I would prefer Jack in this role.

Perhaps the Hornets will have to play more zone tonight or maybe they will put Jack on Kobe in this situation, knowing that Kobe is not looking to shoot. Either way, Monty has to find a way to get him 30+ minutes tonight if they are going to do the unthinkable and win two in LA.

Other News and Notes

-  Very few must reads in my opinion, but a recent news article that 42 posted is just that. Perhaps the lowest form of human life writes for the Orange County Register and he took another jab at Chris Paul and the Hornets. It is just sports after all, so that didn’t bother me as much as his earlier work did. Just check it out for yourself, and then send a letter to this D Bags editor. That is all.

- If you are in New Orleans and you didn’t go to the Watch Party for Game 1, do yourself a favor and go to this one. You’ll kick yourself if you miss both. For all the info and video from the last Watch Party, click here. Oh, and did I mention- FREE BEER!

- Just last night I did a radio show called In the Trenches. In just 9 minutes, we hit on everything from the playoffs to Monty to the future of Chris Paul and the CBA. The guy was smart, he just asked me questions and backed off so that my brilliance could shine. If only Ryan could do the same!

- Want to give a shout out to our Journal Contest winner Coughka. Here is his post, a very creative and well done entry. And not to be outdone, Edbballin504 came in 2nd, just one point behind Coughka in our final vote. A great read as well. Edbballin- you got 2 tickets to any game you want next year courtesy of Hornets247.com. Just let us know when you wanna go.

- And finally, it is that time once again to Cap……That……Pic! No prize unfortunately, but I know that stuff doesn’t matter to you anyway. Let those creative minds go!


74 comments
Michael
Michael

I came onto this website a while ago and was hard on the hornets because I am from Seattle and want a team badly, but realized that taking the hornets away from you would be just as bad as the people who took the sonics from us. I think the hornets are awesome and would love for them to beat the Lakers and win the championship. Hopefully the Hornets can stay in New Orleans.

edbballin504
edbballin504

Read the game preview MM. Thanks for the shoutout and I will def let yall know what game I'd like tix to next year. Thanks again!

Ken
Ken

I don't understand fans who are from So Cal who root against The Lakers, but it's a free country. Go Lakers!

Hornet Seantonio
Hornet Seantonio

they probably don't feel comfortable rooting for tool bags. but hey if i had a team that the entire league rigged all the games for, gave every call in the world to and gave every last dying breath to make sure they win the championship it probably be fun for me too. Los Angeles Globetrotters can sook it

carpo
carpo

anybody got a stream, am on hols in new zealand n its not on tv here

JaeAmazin
JaeAmazin

Take Care of the Ball Fellas!!..That's the main reason we won game 1..We have the best in the World at doing so..So I'm Expecting another W..................HORNETS ALL DAY BITCHES!!!

Uptown Sammy
Uptown Sammy

i wish i could make it out.....save me a slice

Kyle
Kyle

Caption: "Nobody will think I'm soft when I have on my war paint..."

Chuck
Chuck

"Fans and writers have said that the Hornets got the benefit of the doubt from the refs due to Stern’s manipulation" I honestly didn't read this anywhere on the Internet even though I was expecting to. It's laughable that people think the Lakers would get unfair calls AGAINST them after what we've seen in the league for the last, oh, 40 years. I literally yelped aloud when I first saw that pic. Caption: Pau: "Kobe, are you picturing me as Natalie Portman again?" Kobe: "Uhhhh, no..." Pau: "I'm not soft! I'm not!"

RobertM320
RobertM320

Chuck, There is this tidbit I gleaned from the Laker Blog at the L.A.Times: "Don't be silly. The longer the series goes, the more revenue the Hornets will generate. More games equals more ticket, television, radio, merchandise, and concession revenues for the Hornets, ESPECIALLY when facing a major draw like the Lakers. It also creates a bigger fan base in New Orleans by drawing more interest in the team. There were several suspiciously poor calls in crunch time in game 1, and I'm not one to underestimate the level evil from Darth Stern." SUSPICIOUSLY POOR CALLS in crunch time? What about the OTHER THREE QUARTERS? LOL!!!!

RobertM320
RobertM320

By the way, this was from one of the comments, not in the blog itself. It was posted by this guy: Posted by: LAKER TRUTH | April 20, 2011 at 02:20 PM

PP3istheMVP
PP3istheMVP

First televised game this year on TNT, i prefer their announcers and love hearing Charles Barkley lol Caption: "Aaron Gray made me his b***h"

CharmedHive
CharmedHive

Caption: Never should've let Kobe do my makeup after that loss..

Cloud520
Cloud520

Caption: "Miss me yet Memphis?"

Dj mbenga
Dj mbenga

Go hornets. I'll be watching the game live on league pass here in Australia- 12.30pm. Hornets247 always gets be fired up for the game. You guys are legends, it's great to get online and read words shared by passionate supporters of the hornets.

ur_gmas_daughter
ur_gmas_daughter

Wait?!? DJ you're not gonna be on the bench in LA?

paul
paul

I thought he was from New Zealand!

Max
Max

I'll be doing the same.

sweetpea
sweetpea

Excellent analysis. I'll definitely look for defensive adjustments to Artest tonight. By the way, this is the single most unproductive day I've had at work since the day after the Saints SB victory. If the Hornets keep it up, I suspect I'll be looking for a new job by the end of the post-season.

Mikey
Mikey

I never thought I'd ever say this... like EVER, but the Hornets NEED Aaron Gray. Seeing that dude go back to his All-American Pitt days was quite a sight to see in Game 1. We'll need all the 7' guys active for this one. Mbenga just isn't enough as Okafor's backup. I agree Mac, I expect the Lakers to go inside early and often in this game. It's their biggest overall advantage. I expect to see Kobe on Paul more in this game, and Fisher taking whoever the 2-guard is. Fisher can't stay in front of anyone, but he can certainly jump in front of someone and draw a charge. I think flops will abound in this game, as the Lakers will try and figure out way to create turnovers. The Lakers will throw everything at Paul to get the ball out of his hands, so I believe Monty will be forced into playing Jack more, just to have another ball-handler out there. I also think the Lakers will employ the "make Trevor Ariza beat us with 3's" mentality to their defense, which scares me very much. They are going to let Ariza shoot as much as his heart desires. I also agree with your assessment on what the Hornets need to do. Just bee the aggressor. The Lakers will make a few runs. Stay patient, work through it, and counterpunch. The Hornets played a damned-near perfect game in game 1. They should know that even the slightest lack of execution or intensity could mean their demise in tonight's game. One of the biggest thing the Hornets did in game 1, that wasn't mentioned by Mac, was they got thru the 1st quarter without digging themselves a huge hole. That was very encouraging. They made a bad habit of that near the end regular season, and you're not gonna win many playoff games when you're down 15pts going into the 2nd qtr.

Mazon
Mazon

Oops. Sorry just saw the post above...

Mazon
Mazon

Any news on aaron gray and his ankle??

Mike R.
Mike R.

I'm always on hornets247, but I have to say I think this is the best pregame analysis y'all have ever done. Hopefully Monty logged on and got some tips. Before game 1 my keys for the series were: 1. Emeka and Landry must stay out of foul trouble. 2. Jason Smith and Aaron Gray must have the series of their lives, and 3. Trevor Ariza must give us some offensive support. I believe these keys still remain true. And I personally hope Emeka stays out of foul trouble tonight (I felt so bad for him in Game 1 since it was his first playoff experience). Go Hornets! P.S. Whats the status of Gray's ankle?

mbdtf
mbdtf

He's playing even though he's only about 80% he said.

QueenBee
QueenBee

Well the media keeps asking the guy for a percentage so he gave them one.

paul
paul

he will not be near 80 percent! Please, who can come up with such a stat? I would never want to play with that ankle. I'd be surprised if he is 50 percent.

QueenBee
QueenBee

I'm sure he won't be the only one out there at about 80% at this point of the season.

CharmedHive
CharmedHive

Anybody know Aaron Gray's status? I hope he can play tonight seeing as how he played such a big role in our win! Hope the big man's okay! Geaux Hornets!

cp3pdx
cp3pdx

Great analysis, I cant wait for this game! In the meantime, how about a little trivia. Who received more MVP votes in 2005, Kobe Bryant or PJ Brown?

Nick Malone
Nick Malone

Caption: "Ok guys, I'm ready to play now. I got my game face on!" - Pau Gasol to his Laker teammates.

coach44
coach44

"Pau Gasol, Queen of Carnival" by Michael Hunt

JCS
JCS

HAhaHAha!!

JCS
JCS

Nice man. How'd you get them so late in the game?

JCS
JCS

Why was I thumbed for laughing?

cro_CP3
cro_CP3

Great read, Artest is a mismatch no doubt about it... Caption: I think this is Kobe's fetish, do you think he will bang me tonight after the game?

cro_CP3
cro_CP3

Oh, I forgot, I'm from Croatia, and when the game starts, it's gonna be 4:30 ET, I'll watch the game, I don't care, I wish I could go to NOLA and party with y'all there in the bar and watch games, I see 42 was really nuts there, lol, anyways, have a good time, we in Croatia, NOLA fans will have y'all in our hearts and cheering for NOLA as usual (also I love how nobody is giving us the chances for game 2 or the series, I LOVE IT, it fuels the guys and of course, the soul eater himself, CP3 WOOOOOOOOOOO), GO NOLA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

cro_CP3
cro_CP3

My, bad it is going to be 4:30 AM...

Chris Clarke
Chris Clarke

I live in Orange County, CA and have been an avid Hornets fan for years. I am currently sitting at my desk in my CP3 jersey talking shit to all the Laker fans. Being up 1-0 is the best feeling EVER. I CANNOT wait for tonight! GO BEES!

Hornet Seantonio
Hornet Seantonio

Keep repping the boot son. lovin it

Chris Clarke
Chris Clarke

Best part is, its actually my real name, no joke

420ftjesus
420ftjesus

Then get your ass to administering vigilante justice...

420ftjesus
420ftjesus

Chris Clarke... Sounds like a secret identity... Who thinks this guy is a superhero in disguise? The Hidden Hornet?

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