Lakers size too much for Hornets to handle in Game Two

For three days, the focus has been on whether or not the Lakers could get Pau Gasol more involved, while few mentioned the subpar showings Lamar Odom and Andrew Bynum had in the first game of this series. Pau struggled yet again in game two, but the Lakers evened the series with the Hornets due to the immensely efficient performances by Bynum and the newly crowned 6th man of the year Lamar Odom. The two combined for 33 points on 16 of 23 shooting in LA’s 87-78 victory over the Hornets.

The focus for LA was clear from the start, as they made every effort to get the ball into the post on the opening possessions. Bynum got the ball early and often, as he was successful in both scoring on the low block and in getting Emeka Okafor into foul trouble. Much like the first game, Okafor picked up two fouls early on and spent almost all of the first half on the bench. While Bynum was a beast on the block, Odom provided the spark that the Lakers so desperately needed. Down by as many as eight late in the first quarter, Odom came in and scored 6 points during a 9-1 Lakers run that tied the score at 23 after one quarter.

LA’s size was just too much in this game, as they out-rebounded the Hornets by 8 and outscored them in the paint by 18. It was what everybody expected coming into this series, but that does not mean that the Hornets did not have several opportunities to win this game. The Hornets were absolutely atrocious from the free throw line, the shooting guard position was a black hole, and the Hornets turned the ball over at an unusually high rate. If any or all of those things played out differently, we might be talking about the Hornets taking two games in LA. But they didn’t. As for individual efforts:

Chris Paul

CP3 is the best player in this series. No doubt about it. The problem is that the Lakers have the next four best players and CP3 can only do so much to overcome that. He scored 20 points on just 11 shots and had a 9:1 assist to turnover ratio. Very impressive considering that LA was running guys at him all night. I know most think that CP3 has to be more aggressive, but he made the right decisions tonight, he just didn’t get contributions from teammates. Aaron Gray and Willie Green went 10-12 on Sunday. They were 3 for 10 tonight taking very similar shots. Not much CP3 can do about that. I have a feeling that we are in for some special CP3 moments when he gets back home this weekend.

Shooting Guard

Monty did not like what he saw tonight from Willie and Marco, and as a result he was set to go with Jack down the stretch next to Paul. Marco got some looks early but just couldn’t knock them down and later on in the game he forced some bad shots and had a few careless passes. Unfortunately, Willie Green wasn’t any better, as he had back to back turnovers in the third as the Hornets were trying to make a run. Jack was okay, but lacked aggressiveness in the fourth quarter, choosing instead to just get the ball to CP3 and clear out. What I did love about Jack, however, was his willingness to get into Carl Landry’s face after he did not hustle back in transition. Doubt Landry slips again in Game 3 knowing that the Sad Clown will be on his butt if he loafs again.

Trevor Ariza

We wondered who would play the Robin to CP3’s Batman in this game, and it was Trevor who was willing to step up on this night. 22 points and 7 rebounds, but two missed free throws really killed any momentum the Hornets could have had in the fourth. What is really impressive is that this guy covered Kobe for 30+ minutes and didn’t pick up a foul. Also, no turnovers is a bonus. If the Hornets can have this Ariza back in New Orleans, they have a legit shot to win both games.

Other Notes and Observations:

– LA’s two All-Stars go 5-20 and they still win comfortably. That is how good this team can be. How many games do you remember against playoff teams where CP3 and West were horrible, but the Hornets still won by 9?

– Aaron Gray, Jason Smith, and DJ Mbenga played 34 minutes and went 1-5 from the field (2 points) with 3 turnovers and 5 fouls. Would be nice to see how this game would have went if a healthy David West gets those same 34 minutes

– Speaking of Gray, tremendous effort out there, but he is not even close to 100%. There is a noticeable limp that keeps him from getting up and down the court ahead of the Lakers bigs (something he did in game one) and he had trouble tracking a few rebounds down tonight (although he did finish with eight)

– You just gotta feel for Okafor. The guy can’t get through the first television timeout without being in serious foul trouble. Hopefully the refs are a little more lenient in the Big Easy.

– Watch Party had over 300 people tonight!! We are having another Watch party on Friday night- at the Arena! We expect 19,000 of you to be there. Let’s go nuts!

67 responses to “Lakers size too much for Hornets to handle in Game Two”

  1. Gotta hand it to the refs … once again they prove how inconsistent calls effect the game!

    Derek Fisher is a dirty player … and maybe he knows can be one … I mean he is the NBA Players Associations President?

    The Hornets have to beat the Lakers and the Refs. If they succeed in doing that they deserve all the credit, and less, “The Lakers beat themselves” chatter!


  2. This loss really irritates me because we had chances to pull it out.
    Way way wayyyyyyy too many careless passes and turnovers leading to easy points for the Lakers.
    You hit the nail right on the head, where the heck were Marco and Willie tonight? Hell I was screamin to put Q-Pon out there just to see if he could do somethin. This game should’ve been a blowout if it wasnt for Ariza playing heroically and Chris’ 3 point buzzer beaters (which were freakin awesome). Landry did a bit early on and poor Emeka is just gettin picked on by the referees.
    I saw DJ Mbenga get physical on the defensive end tonight, i cant remember who he was defending (Bynum or Gasol) but he was fighting down there and Id rather have him out there than Gray since he cant do much with the ankle bein like that. Not that this is some big series move but just a little somethin that i saw.

    The one moment that still gives me hope for this series is when Jack got into Landry and Okafor on that one play you mentioned in the recap. That shows me that these guys actually do believe they can win and if they dont Jarrett will rip their heads off and make them. That was a great iconic moment for me anyway it gave me goosebumps watching his little mustache get all angry.

    We still have an amazing shot, home-court advantage is in our favor.

    • I’d like to see Mbenga get some more minutes (not too many, but more than a 2 minute cameo each game). He matches up really well defensively against the Lakers, and we aren’t getting a lot of offensive production from the center position anyway.

      I feel bad for Okafor because he’s finally in the playoffs and this just happens to be a really bad matchup for him. I hope he can accept some adjustments for the sake of the team (he seems like the great teammate type who will) and that we can get to the second round where he will have more of a chance to shine.

  3. If they’re locking down cp3 with double teams, Monty needs JJ2 out there as a point/2 who can distribute or shoot. Willie and Marco were on the floor too long tonight.

      • He was horrible and there is nothing you can show that would provide sufficient evidence to the contrary.

        I like Marco, but he and Willie were putrid last night.

      • The Hornets almost always play better with Marco on the floor, that’s just a fact. His plus/minus was the only player in positive land. He didn’t hit his shots, but that happens to everybody. Check Kobe’s stat line.

        I think the Hornets can win the next game in New Orleans, and if they do anything is possible. LA does not look unbeatable by any means.

      • Not only do they look like we could beat them, but they are having to adjust to deal with us. That second quarter quickness, to me, wasn’t in the plan when they were looking to sweep. The greats can adjust, but to necessitate some Phil Jackson headscratching speaks favorably on our play.

      • Belli has the fourth best +/- on the team this year per 100 possessions. (+2.4), but if you look at his 1 year adjusted plus/minus, which takes into account both your opposition and your teammates, he’s behind Paul, Jack, Smith, Okafor, West, Landry, and Green, only ahead of Q-Pon and Ariza among qualified Hornets players.

        Truly the second number is the more important of the two. Nonetheless I remain high on Belli going forward.

      • Defense is a team game, especially in Williams’ scheme. Look at the combination +/- and you’ll see that among players that play consistent minutes, the combinations that include Marco fare extremely well. That’s why you don’t just look at the adjusted +/- for the best analysis. I find the adjusted difficult to believe anyway, given that Marco is typically out there against the other team’s best players while Jack, Green, etc. are not. And if you watch the game closely, you’ll see that when playing man-to-man, Marco’s opponent rarely scores big.

  4. The errors of free throws ended our chances in the match. Okafor and Belinelli also been very bad. However, I’m proud. Two nice games in LA. Congratulations to our guys. GO Hornets!

  5. agreed with brazilian hornet. It’s the FTs that killed us. Had Ariza made those 2 flagrant FTs, it could have been a whole new story. Improved FT shooting is utmost priority. 2nd is taking care of the TO issue. If we play the same way, and improve on those 2, we got a legit chance of going up 3 – 1 (provided the Hive is rocking with Hornets fans. I’ll bee rocking my home with cheers and shouts. !!!)

  6. Party was killer. I was hanging until just a bit ago.

    Outlasted Joe.

    You don’t mess with the Jesus!

  7. As some guys were talking about in another blog, Bynum is the beneficiary of alot of traveling in the paint that the refs never call. He jumps and moves his feet against the basic rules of basketball about half the time he has the ball in the paint. Makes me detest Lakers’ fans who complain about the officials all the more. Speaking of Bynum he was a non factor the second half. Whatever we did then let’s repeat it Friday night. And also practice our free throws between now and Friday night.

    • I don’t know about a non-factor, but the difference was mostly that Okafor was allowed to play at least a little bit in the second half. He couldn’t adjust his jock without getting whistled in the first.

    • bynum and gasol travel their aces off. And gasol looks like he invented the moving screen. The lakers players and the fans kill me about how much they complain about calls, its unbelievable. Theyll get like 15 favorable back to back calls then kobe travels and its “WTF!!!!” Lakers fans and the players make me sick.

      • Thank you!

        You never expect traveling to actually get called in the NBA, but Bynum looked like he was playing on a nerf hoop taking three or four steps.

  8. I noticed we cut down our turnovers tremendously in the second half, but they did come at inopportune times. I think we had 11 or 12 in the first half, and only 16 for the game.

    I also have complained about Bynum getting away with traveling under the basket all game. He does it all the time. Also, did anyone notice the slow mo closeup they ran of Kobe driving to the basket, where you could see clearly he carried the ball? I found it funny because I saw some Lakers fans in an LA Blog complaining that CP3 gets the “star” treatment when it comes to “carrying”. Do they really think Kobe doesn’t?

    Lakers fans love to talk about the “ifs and buts”. Well then, how about the fact we split the two games in LA, competitively I might add, basically without our starting center. And who was it that said Gasol “couldn’t possibly” only score 8 points like in the first game? I think Aaron Gray’s in his head a little bit.

    Speaking of Gray, I’m really proud of the way he battled in there last night, knowing he was injured and less talented. There’s definitely a place for him on this team.

    We are a scrappy bunch. I have no doubt we’ll give the Lakers all they can handle the next two games.

  9. Was it just me or did we allow the Lakers to do too good of a a job forcing CP3 too wide on the pick and rolls to be really effective? It seemed like they were able to force him so wide that, at times, it basically become a sideline trap and we were unable, save for two or three isolated instances, to swing the ball weakside fast enough so that L.A. couldn’t recover.

    I know we need to be able to rely on someone else to be able to more other teams pay for throwing too much attention CP3’s way, but it also seems like we should be able make space at the top of the key for him to be able to create for others.

  10. Had a great time at the watch party despite the loss. I loved how energetic everyone was, and it was great to meet everyone. Really excited for that same energy in the Hive Friday.

    The game itself was tough, but I feel encouraged by the way they battled. Especially with the refs swallowing their whistles every time the Hornets had the ball. You could see that they weren’t letting themselves get bothered by the lack of calls. They kept hustling, and I respect that. Hopefully the game is called a little more evenly at home.

  11. Even though it was a loss i can see how we can feel good about being tied 1-1 which in all honesty really means 0-0 at this point. They are coming back to the Hive. They will make the adjustments and come out strong. Make your FTs, cut down the TO’s, stay out of foul trouble (Mek, Landry), keep attacking the basket cuz ITS WORKING, and keep being physical.

    And I see some “experts” saying that kobe did an Excellent job on CP3 but in my honest opinion 20 and 9 isn’t lock down Defense in my eyes. You can only keep up with CP3 for so long before he breaks you down (i.e. the buzzer beaters, especially the one at the half that had Kobe looking silly. And those 2 3point fouls he drew were some great heads up plays that kept us in the game)

    If we just keep attacking them like we have we have a real good chance especially at home where I doubt Mek will get in foul trouble and of course the Hive will be rocking. MAN i wish I could be there.

  12. The black hole at the 2-guard spot has been a problem for this franchise for Chris Paul’s entire career. It’s a weakness that will rear its ugly head at the worst times. The thing to note is that Ariza is not going to have this kind of offensive performance consistently. It puts enormous pressure on Paul if we have no offense from our perimeter players. Smart teams in the playoffs can exploit that advantage.

    If West had stayed healthy, even though a West-Okafor-Landry frontcourt is imperfect, you can go to war with it. But going forward, getting a real backcourt running mate for Paul is an absolute priority.

    • The offensive scheme shuts the two guard out unless you pull a Marcus Thornton and just say, “screw it, I’m taking a shot every time I touch the ball.” That’s not what Monty wants obviously. Monty repeats over and over that offense is not something he is overly concerned about. So on nights when Marco is draining his shots, he gets pulled according to some kind of plan Monty has.

  13. Watch Party was great, thanks Joe for putting it together again! The atmosphere was more electric at the Doors than it was at Staples Center.

    Really encouraging how hard we competed in this game … if we can sustain this kind of defensive effort every game in this series, we are going to have chances to win games. Last night, our offensive execution just wasn’t crisp … some credit goes to the Lakers, some blame goes to the Hornets having an off night. (And let’s be fair, our offensive execution in Game 1 was well above anything we’ve shown consistently throughout the season.)

    These guys are the defending champs, nobody said this was going to be easy. (Okay, well a lot of people said it would be easy … for the Lakers to advance — but we’ve blown that theory out of the water.) Let’s rock the Hive on Friday night and give the Bees a big boost of energy to help push them to a W!!

  14. Size didn’t make the Hornets miss 12 doggone free throws. Why have we become such a sucky free throw shooting team?

    Belinelli and Willie, moreso Belinelli have GOT to hit their outside shots. I don’t want Belinelli to prove me right when I said he’d kill us in the playoffs but if he’s going to be the starting SG, we need more. The starting SG has always been the weakest link for this team since Byron Scott.

    We won by 9 on Sunday and lost by 9 on Wednesday. And that’s with missing 12 free throws and having like 16 turnovers. Right now the only good thing I get out of seeing the Hornets go to the free throw line is that some player on the other team is credited with another foul. The good thing SHOULD be is that the Hornets are going to get points at the line. But recently it seems when we get to the line, we’re missing way too many. You make your free throws last night and you win this game.

    Come on home boys and perhaps you can play your hardest and win both of these home games. You can’t come and just half ass it though. It’s gotta be a super effort from EVERYONE.

  15. Oh yeah and I forgot, props to Trevor. Sans the missed crucial free throws, the guy was doin it on both ends of the floor. We’re gonna need a continued effort from him.

  16. Monty said something about not wanting to be fined when talking about Emeka not being able to stay on the floor but if I’m Monty, I go the Stan Van Gundy route and take that fine. LOL!! Bynum is good but he ain’t that d*** good to where the whistle has to blow each and every possession he’s guarded by Emeka. I mean those are some really silly fouls they’re calling on Mek out there. Unreal to say the least.

    • I agree. The first 2 really pissed me off. Mek hardly moved and got two quick whistles. I still want Monty to put Gray and Mek on the floor TOGETHER. Let Gray do what he’s been doing on Bynum. His size alone helps us. Yes bynum is going to get some points but Gray at least has the size to truly contest Bynum’s shots. Let Mek and Landry rotate and continue to get into Gasol’s head by being physical with him. Believe me Gasol not giving them production leaves them kind of stagnant. Yes Bynum did well tonight, but I think some of that had to do with Mek not being able to be that aggressive because of fouls. You can see that Mek can be effective on D when they let him play like in the 4th qtr. Bynum’s production fell off some after a good first half. But with that said I still would like to see Gray and Mek to start just to see how it works out. it might help Mek get going offensively

      • I agree with this wholeheartedly. Bynum had a good game in game 2, but he’s been inconsistent all season. I think if LA continues to have to solely rely on him for post scoring, they are going to be in trouble. And Okafor has both the length and the strength to give Gasol absolute fits if he isn’t getting called for ticky-tack fouls.

        I won’t lie, though, watching Landry frustrate Gasol was pretty fun. There’s going to be blood in that matchup before this series is over, haha.

  17. All, I have a good feeling about this series. I can’t shake the feeling regardless of what happened last night. The last time I had this feeling, the Saints won the SB. I am not saying the Hornets will make the NBA finals, but I am saying that I have a real good feeling NOLA can pull the upset. The Lakers never looked invincible, especially now. Everyone knows the Celtics would have won last with a healthy Perkins. The Lakers are not Jordan’s Bulls. They are mortal and can be taken down by our Hornets. I WILL be in the Hive on Friday!!!!!! I’m In Baby!!!!!!!!!!

  18. Hornets gave this game away. I’m sickened, because this wipes out my Vegas bet on the Hornets sweeping this series.

    Still, these first two games have revealed that the Emperor is wearing no clothes. . .

    I can’t wait to see us kick the shit out of these pretenders in NOLA.

  19. It hurts when you lose by 9 and miss 12 from the stripe. The Lakers still aren’t firing on all cylinders, God help us if they ever get there.

  20. My thoughts from being at the game last night

    MARCO SUCKED… absolutely awful last night i couldnt believe he even got that much playing time just looked horrible couldnt hit a shot turned it over couldnt hold onto the ball just bad

    Chris looked really good. Yes i thought at times our offense went away from him a bit especially those 2 plays in a row to mek which was so stupid

    Ariza was a beast… attacked offensively and defensively was soo good out there last night

    Landry- besides the one lag defensively i thought looked pretty good out there. he really likes to play the lakers

    i honestly thought the key to the game for the lakers was ron artest… he absolutely killed us when they needed something to go right and like michael said in the pre game yesterday he really is the one guy we dont match up well with and he really hurt us yesterday

    even with the loss. i thought we could of played much better and i definately think we have a chance to take at least 1 of the next two, maybe maybe maybe even get them both…. lets hope

  21. it seemed that the only person who remembered game 1 was trevor ariza. the hornets lost the agressiveness on offense and settled for a lot of jumpers which is just what the lakers wanted. they also let the lakers control the tempo the entire which was a key point in game 1. the lakers were getting into their sets with 22 seconds on the shot clock regularly. it doesnt seem like a big deal but its huge for the lakers offense and gives them more time to get into a rythm. mean while on defense they made the hornets work to get the ball upcourt and put alot of pressure on the ball at the top of the key and that really hurt us.

    • I agree that they settled for too many jumpers and kept wondering why they weren’t going to the rim more. Go in with the mentality that you’re going to make it or get fouled. But when you get fouled you damn sure better make your free throws. Very early in the game Paul got in the lane with a floater, and I think Landry had a dunk but I don’t remember very much inside game after that. With the bigs (Gray and Okafor) in foul trouble, the other main guys that should be going inside is Ariza and Landry.

      • It was hard to go to the rim because the refs were letting a lot of the contact from drives go … when that happens, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to drive into the length of the Lakers’ bigs with little chance of drawing a foul. So I thought they adjusted well by trying to get space for more midrange jumpers; unfortunately, they didn’t fall at a high enough clip. It would have helped to drive to the basket a bit more just to keep the Lakers’ defense sucked in, but overall I think the Hornets had the right game plan.

        Hopefully, Monty will have them prepared to attack the rim in Game 3 and hopefully the refs will call fouls on Bynum/Gasol/Odom if they make body contact with our players. Getting Bynum in foul trouble would help our cause; he seems to be less effective if he doesn’t get off to a fast start.

  22. Heading into the playoffs, and looking at the assembled wariors for NOLA at season’s end, I wondered how things might have been different, but for what’ we’ll call an instance of the “butterfly effect”…

    Late last summer the Toronto Raptors had a deal in place with Charlotte for a mutli-player trade. This was a done deal to the extent the players involved were publicly commenting on the new teams/situations. So, the Raptors were to get C/F Tyson Chandler and F Boris Diaw in exchange for PG Jose Calderon and F Reggie Evans. Its a done deal up to the last millisecond in which Bobcats owner Michael Jordan puts the kabosh on the transaction. If the deal is not rescinded, Jarrett Jack remains a Raptor and is the heir apperent starting PG. He subsequently is not traded to NOLA. Bayless porbably stays with the team. And given his inconsistent play, Green probably gets sometime at the point after CP3, and, at that time, would the Hornets really be willing to part ways with Marcus Thornton as he would be part of the only viable 2 guard rotation with Belinelli.
    So that means we might not have acquired Jack or Landry and not jettisoned Thornton if MJ didn’t get cold feet at the very last second late last summer.

    Just something to think about 🙂

    • Jack is without question the Raptors starting PG, but I’d add Colangelo probably keeps Belinelli and tries to convert him into a backup PG or trades him away for one. And that’s even more so after BC trades Hedo for Barbosa because there is no way Marcus Banks ever sees the floor (even in Toronto). In which case, like you say, Bayless stays as the Hornets backup point, Thornton the starting SG, and Wright your backup SF.

      Just something else to think about. 😉

      • Maybe Chris gets hurt in extended minutes. Then maybe D West gets burned out, doesn’t dunk, doesn’t grt hurt, and leaves this off-season. Then Chris leaves and no one local wants the team.

        Reality is better than some fantasy.

        Just sayin’.

  23. Got off at 11PM last night and rushed over to the nearest bar. Wish I could have attended the watch party. Hopefully for game 5.

    Couple things. No one gave the Hornets any credit for their 9 point loss and they were all over the Grizz for losing by 6. What a fucking joke. Our series is now “over” in the eyes of the media. What were they watching? We play about as poorly as possible on the offensive end and barely lose to the defending champions by 9 in STAPLES? LA better be worried.

    I love the attitude by our team in general last night. About 3-4 times the Lakers could have run away with the game and pushed it to 20 and in the regular season, they would have. Not in this series. We want it more. We are less scared. We just executed on offense like crap. How awesome is it that people are making fun of how soft Pau Gasol is? You don’t make fun of people being soft if the other team isn’t pushing them around.

    Sucks we lost. We had 2-0 for the taking. At least we’ve shown we aren’t lying down and taking their crap just because they are defending champs x2.

    Oh and please people stop complaining about the officiating. We out shot them by 10!?!? in LA? I’ll take that all day, every day. They’ve let us body up Kobe and Gasol and I’m grateful. They’ve also been rewarding us for our attacking the rim. I give these 2 games an A+++ rating. All I ask is to not be slanted. And to me, they haven’t been.

    • +100 …..we CAN do this. I can’t wait to hear the “wailing and gnashing of teeth” from the depths of “LA-LA land” when they realize there will be no three-peat!

      I don’t know if my poor, championship deprived heart will be able to withstand the joy!

  24. In the next game, the Hornets will have to ignore the preferable treatment from the refs. Of course, the Lakers are going to get a lot of calls but they can’t lose focus like they did tonight. Rebounding won’t hurt either. Monte Williams complaining about the Lakers sitting in the paint didn’t help–the refs are going to allow it.

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