Game On: Hornets @ Lakers

Published: January 29, 2013

Back on December 5th, the Lakers came into New Orleans and handled the Hornets rather easily, winning 103-87. A lot has changed since then. Most notably, Eric Gordon is back for the Hornets and the Lakers have returned to full health as well (both Nash and Gasol missed the previous game). The Lakers have won their last two, after dropping 9 of their previous 11, so of course LakerNation is talking championship again after their mini surge. Let’s see what the Hornets have to do tonight to bring them back down to earth.

Keys to Victory

1. Knock Down Perimeter Shots

Don’t you dare say that the Lakers won’t work on defense, because Mike D’Antoni will correct you so quick that it will make your head spin. They spend upwards of thirty minutes on that side of the ball, and apparently their philosophy is that they will allow their opponents to have practically any outside shot they want. They allow the 3rd most three-point attempts in the NBA, but what they don’t do is foul teams and send them to the line. They are 1st in the league in FT’s allowed per field goal attempt. They won’t turn you over and they won’t foul you; they simply challenge you to a jump shooting contest. And if the Hornets can win that contest, they should win this game.

2. Play Aggressive Defense Without Fouling

The Lakers have taken the 2nd most free throws in the league, averaging nearly 28 per game. They shoot a terrible percentage (69%) but that is because Howard gets 9 per game and shoots under 50%. But when you foul Howard, you get closer and closer to the penalty, and once the Lakers get in the penalty, they attack with Kobe and Nash- two of the best FT shooters in the league. The Lakers offense is pretty average overall, it is the 20 free points that they get every game from the line that puts them in the elite category. Make them earn their points, and this game is extremely winnable.

3. Make Kobe a Scorer

The Lakers simply don’t win when Kobe takes over 20 shots. They are 13-3 when he takes less than 20, and 6-22 when he takes 20 or more shots. The Lakers have played some of their best ball these last two games when Kobe has had more assists than field goal attempts. So the answer seems simple; bait Kobe into shooting. Force Kobe to choose between his own personal ego and his teams’ success. We know which one he will pick.


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