Game On: Lakers @ Hornets Game 6 (With Live Chat!)

By:
Published: April 28, 2011

The last time these two met in New Orleans, it was a virtual must-win for the Hornets. Tonight, there is no other option. It is win or go stay home. We have spent the last 36 hours complaining about the refs and spouting out conspiracy theories, but now it is time to settle it on the court. Game 4 was a magical night in The Hive and there is no reason that the players and fans can’t duplicate that atmosphere tonight. In season’s past, the Lakers have closed out teams on their home floor, but not tonight, not against our Hornets.

At this point in a series, each team is fully aware of what the other wants to do, so it comes down to execution. The Hornets did not grow between Games 3 and 4, nor did they shrink between Games 4 and 5, but they did execute better on the glass and in the paint in Game 4 than they did in the other two. They got offensive rebounds, which led to 20 second chance points and that turned out to be the difference in the game. In Games 3 and 5, they were one and done on almost every possession and the result was two double digit losses. So, it is obvious that is one of the keys to the game. Here are a few others:

1.) Limit Turnovers

In the Hornets two wins, they are averaging 6.5 turnovers per game. In their three losses, they are averaging 15.7. That is a difference of over 9 possessions per game. The Hornets are averaging over 1.2 points per shot in this series, so that means that those 9 possessions would have likely resulted in 11 more points for the Hornets- enough to have won Game 2 and made Games 3 and 5 much closer.

In an elimination game you live or die with what got you here, and for the Hornets, that means Chris Paul. If he takes chances that result in turnovers, than so be it. You tip your hat and move on with an eye on next season. In the games that the Hornets have lost, however, they have relied too heavily on less talented players to create offense, and the results have been what you would expect. On Tuesday night, Aaron Gray stood in the high post with the ball and tried to thread the needle with a pass to Emeka down low. Result: turnover. In multiple games Willie Green has become a one man fast break, sometimes going up against as many as three Lakers. Result: turnover. Carl Landry drive and kick. Result: turnover. Cross court passes. Result: turnover.

Look, we all know the Chris Paul led pick and roll offense is boring at times, but if that is your strength, then you run it to death tonight. Don’t try to get fancy, don’t over-think the situation, and PLEASE no hero passes. If limiting turnovers has been the key to victory in this series and you have the guy with the best assist to turnover ratio in the league since he entered, then the answer is pretty simple, no?

2.) Put the pressure on the Refs

Has the officiating been poor at times in this series? Uh,…. Both teams played hard. But in all seriousness, I don’t think that even the most adamant conspiracy theorist believes that the refs have been ordered to ensure a Lakers victory. That is ludicrous. But, is it possible that refs give the benefit of the doubt to stars in this league and since the Lakers have 5 stars (counting the Zen Master), while the Hornets have only one- is it possible that gives the Lakers an advantage? Maybe. But referees also tend to be influenced by the more aggressive team, and that usually trumps everything.

I am sure the fans will be on the zebras from the minute they are introduced. I am positive that somebody will complain that the jump ball was not thrown precisely down the middle and will have video analysis up of the tip by the middle of the first quarter. And I am sure that every call and non call will be greeted either with a deafening amount of boos or sarcastic cheers. Combine that home court advantage with a more aggressive team and there is no way the Hornets don’t get the majority of the 50/50 calls.

At least, that is what I will keep telling myself.

3.) Expose Kobe on the defensive end

Trevor Ariza scored 10 points early on against Kobe, who still had some explosion in his legs, but was completely missing the lateral quickness that usually makes him a supreme defender. For whatever reason the Hornets went away from whomever Kobe was covering, and that proved to be a huge mistake. Whenever Kobe is on the court, the Hornets have to make him work on the defensive end, even if that means just continually running him through screens off the ball. The cumulative effect of all of those possessions will both open up things for the Hornets offensively and wear Kobe down, making him easier to defend.

Other News and Notes:

– I have been asked a lot how I feel about the officiating and here is my analogy (if you don’t know by now, I am a heavy analogy person). I think fans are reality television producers in this whole scenario. For those of you who don’t know, hundreds of hours of footage are shot for a show that might only have 8 episodes that are an hour long. From those hundreds of hours, the producers pick and choose the story-lines that are the most intriguing and compile all the footage that fits that storyline while conveniently dumping the footage that does not.

Even the most evil reality characters have their charitable moments and the opposite is true for America’s Sweetheart, but Good vs. Evil is always more compelling than kinda good most of the time vs. somewhat bad, even though their heart is kinda in the right place, maybe. NBA fans do the same thing, and that is why both Lakers fans and Hornets fans feel like they are getting screwed in this series. Both sets of fans can tell you about every bad call their team got, the non-calls that worked in favor of the other team, etc. But ask them to turn the tables and they become silent.

Now, remember, in my analogy, there is still a kinda good and a kinda bad- meaning that one team does get slightly favored. And I do think that in this series it is the Lakers, slightly. I just don’t think it is nearly as black and white as both fans (and coaches) think it is.

– We will be having a Live Chat tonight, hosted by the one and only Ryan Schwan. This is his first time doing it alone, so please, be gentle.

– Lakers are now 5.5 point favorites after opening at 5. The over/under is 183, meaning that most are expecting a low scoring game, which works out in the favor of the Hornets. 52% of people are actually taking the Hornets plus the points, and 85% of betters are taking the over.

26 comments
djbrock191
djbrock191

Im proud of the hornets we gon get them next season when we full strength

Just A Fan
Just A Fan

Someone should grab Paul by the throat and tell him we need points so stop all this pansy ass passing and take the open shots.

QueenBee
QueenBee

Here go the Hornets being a jump shooting team again. Won't end positively for them. I don't understand how they know going to the rim has been successful but they're not doing it.

Mikey
Mikey

Mac, There's another Key to this game that could be put at 1b, and that is: Finish Defensive Possessions. Look, its no secret that the Lakers have a bunch of guys that can shoot the rock. They will make their fair share, but in the even they actually miss, the Hornets can ill-afford to reward them with extra possessions via offensive boards. The Hornets neet to get back to that team rebounding that brought them so much success in the 2nd half of game 4. How, do you ask, did CP have so many rebounds in that game? It's simple, because bigs were doing their jobs of boxing out their man, and the wings weren't letting the likes of Matt Barnes, D-Fish and Shannon Brown out-hustle them. This is exactly what DIDN'T happen in game 5. In order to take this game the defensive rebounding pendulum must swing back into the Hornets' favor. Like my man Gerry V. says, "The game is won when the ball is in the air."

Ryan
Ryan

Lets go Bees! Workin with 10 laker fans tonight and I want to rub this win in their face,

cro_CP3
cro_CP3

Great preview, all I wanna say is BEAT LA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! GO NOLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

tom2
tom2

Please keep it going!!!

Rocco
Rocco

James: You are right about the inside offense... to a point. In the game five loss, I believe the Hornets may have come onto something useful for the remainder of the series. That is, allow some of the wings offense to come from movement. Ariza did hit outside shots, however he has been very consistent in this series to take the ball off the dribble to the basket. He's on the move, and the only way The Laker bigs (Bynum,, Gasol and Odom) can defend is help defense, as opposed to stopping Landry and Okafor who are working against a set defender. Aslo, notice that Belinelli scored six to eight of his points off of this same type of movement, drives into the lane for 10-12 ft floaters, and on a third such attempt he was fouled. I beleive this movement does two things: first it provides NOLA with a different type of scoring option, and secondly, it helps loosen the defense so that the outside shooting option is easier to get into. Pollenators in seven I say.

James Online
James Online

Nicely analyzed, Rocco, thanks. It's going to take player movement and ball movement as well as a willingness to get out on breaks and not just slow EVERY offensive possession down to a crawl.

Ryan Schwan
Ryan Schwan

Feh. I was doing live chats before anyone here new you existed, McNamara. Yeah, that's right. I've done three of them before! Now, all of them occurred last year, but I'm a hardened veteran. I'll probably only break down in tears a couple times. Hope all of you come to join the party!

James Online
James Online

The most sophisticated and unbiased analyses of refereeing show that the home team benefits somewhat from questionable calls. Let's hope that's the case tonight. Of course Kobe gets "superstar" treatment, but so does Chris Paul. Concern: Trevor made five threes in the last game. That is highly unlikely to happen again. Those shots last game kept us competitive for a while. We've seen enough of Trevor's distance shooting to know we can't depend on it. Truth: Monty says the way to beat the Lakers is to be aggressive and take the ball inside, but that does not work. The three scorers last game were Ariza, Belinelli, and Paul and most of their points came from the outside. That's because those were the available shots. Landry and Okafor were basically snuffed out inside. The Hornets got inside in the first game because it appeared that the Lakers were not ready to play. Looks like the refs aren't calling that phony-act-of-shooting-only-to-draw-a-foul- from-three-point-range (aka "The Sweep") that Paul uses and Jack depends on. Got a ticket for Game 7. C'mon Bees, send me to LA.

popmusic
popmusic

Tonight if we get 20 pts. from each position with CP3 going for 25 we win 105- 101 Early energy and junk yard dog toughness will set the tone with Kobe breaking down in tears with a minute to go in the 4th quarter. Phil buys back Artest's ring to complete his collection

blackmagic
blackmagic

Id love to see Carl Landy or Mek take out one of the Fakers on a pick. Wud make my night. Lets get this win N.O.

kempleton
kempleton

GEAUX HORNETS! The Bynum-Gasol-Odom trio have worn Okafor and Landry down a lot in this series. We have to rotate very cleverly to involve Mbenga, Gray, Smith as much as possible tonight. This time we have to wear Bynum and Gasol down, beat them under the rim, never give them easy rebounds, put them in foul trouble. Has anybody counted the number of points in the paint and number of layups/dunks we had last Sunday? Remember that put Bynum into foul trouble and that changes a lot because once either Bynum or Gasol is out, they no longer have that huge rebounding advantage. We gotta do the same again, force the ball to the rim, do not rely on jumpers a lot! And finally, please limit the production from Ron Artest. He is very productive on both ends of the floor with scoring, rebounding, etc. He is the hidden hero for the Lakers so we gotta stop him. Anybody thought about the following line-up: Paul-Ariza-Landry-Okafor-Gray This lineup will bring the rebounding advantage back to us. Artest cannot push Landry around as he does to Belinelli. Okafor and Gray (or Okafor and Mbenga) on the floor together will give a hard time to Bynum and Gasol and limit their offensice rebounds. And a 3-men attack under the rim can easily put the Lakers into foul trouble! Come on Coach, it is the biggest game of your career. We just talk here, you are the one to execute any game plans that you have in mind. Just bring us the victory and we will see who is more hungry in LA-LA land on Saturday. Let us beat these drama queens! GEAUX HORNETS!

kempleton
kempleton

Here is what coach said this morning: On Hornets’ defense against Ron Artest: “If I had someone else to put in the game on Ron, I would. It’s tough for Marco. Trevor can’t guard everybody. Marco’s done a good job. He’s given up about 20 pounds. There may be a time where we go big and put Carl (Landry) on (Artest) and go with two bigs, but we’ve beaten them two games playing our way. So it’s hard for me to change a lot. But when we’re facing elimination, special situations call for special adjustments. So we may see it.”

cp3pdx
cp3pdx

Thanks for the quote. I would welcome any adjustment Monty wants to make, but I hope he doesn't panic. Remember, this is his first elimination game.

Stefan
Stefan

It can't end tonight! It just can't!

nikkoewan
nikkoewan

it won't. because tonight's the night we show the world what Bees are all about.

cp3pdx
cp3pdx

Any baseball fan who remembers the 90's knows that shannon, matt, andrew and slim shady are in no way deserving of that title.

Scooter
Scooter

hahahahahha oh ok that makes sense now

mbdtf
mbdtf

@ Scooter - I always thought the announcers were saying "Killer B's", referring to Blake, Brown, Barnes, and sometimes Bynum.

Scooter
Scooter

side note: who in the world calls the laker bench the "killer bees". never heard that til this series. maybe i don't watch enough laker games?