Chris Paul Has All Your Permission Slips, Hornets Beat LA

Published: April 24, 2011

In a game in which even his own coach was willing to describe as “must win”, Chris Paul delivered one of the most impressive basketball performances of not only his career, but in the entire history of the NBA. Think I’m exaggerating? You didn’t watch the game.

The craziest things about it were that he didn’t score a bucket until 23 minutes in, and was playing with an eye AND thumb injury. Regardless, it was a performance that will never be forgotten by anyone in attendance or watching at home. Lakers fans will close their eyes tonight and see Chris Paul crossovers until they awake in the morning. Tomorrow they’ll be flashing back to it all day.

CP3 was out-jumping everyone in sight for rebounds, successfully defending Andrew Bynum when need be, getting the crucial points when the Hornets needed them, and even setting up Mbenga on a fast Mbreak. He finished by closing the game just like everyone knew he would, scoring 14 on only five shots in the final quarter. When he wanted the ball, he just went and got it. In fact, he just did whatever he wanted all night long. This CP3 is even better than CP3 from the 2008 playoffs. Tonight was even better than his game one performance, and the team needed every bit of it.

The stat line of 27 on 14 shots, 15 assists, 13 rebounds and 2 steals is epic. EPIC. EPIC.

Trying to describe the performance he put on in writing would be an insult to what he actually did, so I’ll pass on that. They literally don’t make words good enough.

Alternate Headlines

It’s Official- CP3 is the Point God.

*Yours here*

Trevor Ariza

Almost as much as Chris Paul, Trevor Ariza made his impact felt. In the first half he was balling like a zombie, playing 20 minutes, scoring 16 points on 12 shots, and really being the primary weapon. He scored nearly a third of the Hornets total points, and didn’t have a single turnover. Combine that with a defensive effort that left Kobe scoreless, and you have one hell of a performance.

Then the second half happened, and again led us to question who the real Trevor Ariza is. Dumb fouls, dumber jump shots which Monty dubbed “Hero Plays” (he said they didn’t need them), a defensive effort that saw Kobe go for 17, and missed shots. His late game D was much much better (probably because Kobe wasn’t at 100%), and he did snag five big rebounds in the half, but he was pressing so hard that he nearly broke the game.

Regardless, it was another positive performance by Ariza, who really played a big part in keeping the team in it early on. He’s the only guy on the team who can do so many of the things that he does every game, and tonight he showed yet again that he’s a playoff monster.

The Big Guys

The Hornets big men managed 20 second chance points while the Lakers had only four. Clap it up for your bigs. And for Monty Williams, who sent a letter to the league asking for explanations of why the Lakers bigs were getting to stay in the lane for more than three seconds, and why they weren’t being called when they commit fouls. Good questions! I was curious as well.

See? We have a coach who can play the media game, too. Phil Jackson isn’t the only one.

Guess who finally came to play? You guessed it- Emeka Okafor. For the first time all series he banged successfully with Bynum, and the result was a much more even matchup inside for the Hornets. They no longer had to send help each time Bynum touched the ball in the paint and that made it substantially easier to stop the Lakers from finding open cutters and shooters.

Since the ball was being worked from the outside instead of the inside, Okafor was also able to make his presence felt in the shot contesting and blocking department. The Lakers had a much harder time converting inside because the Hornets had their best defender back in action. He only grabbed a single board on the defensive end (he had five on the offensive side), but he was boxing out and controlling his mark. The Lakers had only nine offensive rebounds, after averaging 13.5 in the previous two games.

Aaron Gray had a nice performance in limited minutes, but it was one of those nightswhere every time he breathes he hears a whistle. That said, he played nice defense on Bynum when Okafor needed a breather, contributed on offense, and provided the Hornets with what we all knew they would need going in- A competent backup big man. He played 13 minutes, scoring 7 points on 3-3 shooting, to go with three boards and three fouls. Guess who’s going to get way overpaid this summer?

Landry was again a Laker-killer, somehow shutting down Pau offensively and keeping him off the boards on defense. Where he really made his mark though, again, was on the offensive side of the ball, where he again converted his easy looks inside, created when the need arose, and wound up with an efficient 16 on 11 shots. His 12 first half points were crucial in keeping the Hornets within striking distance. He was also a beast on the offensive glass, pulling down four offensive rebounds.

Even Mbenga got in on the action, playing five minutes and throwing a block in for good measure.

The Little Guys

Let’s ignore the first 47 minutes and 50 seconds (because who cares about those?) and focus on the last 10 ticks of the clock. Jarrett Jack, in what was arguably the biggest game of his life, hit a floater as the shot clock expired to extend the Hornets lead to 4, and then knocked down two clutch two free throws to do it again just seconds later. That sealed the deal.

Even with Jack scoring 5 in the last 10 seconds, the trio of guards combined for only 5-20 for 16 points, and 4 rebounds in 58 minutes. Yuck…

If Marco (32 minutes, 7 points on 11 shots, almost nothing else) had shown up, this one wouldn’t have been so close.

Game Notes

  • Movie of the fans reaction at the end
  • Ariza ripped on Chris Paul in the post game, saying he was “almost” six feet tall.
  • Paul led both teams in rebounds… by 4
  • One time the Lakers fans tried chanting MVP for Kobe, again. The Hornets faithful had none of that this time around, and quickly drowned out the Lakers fans with shouts of “Kobe You Suck!”
  • Bee Zanies were in great form tonight, leading chants around the Arena before the game and during halftime.
  • The crowd overall was great tonight. Paul talked about the fans and his love for New Orleans in the postgame press conference. Listen to that here.
  • Kobe rolled his ankle late in the fourth quarter.
  • Paul’s eye injury was the result of a Ron Artest elbow

Notes on the triple-double

  • It was the first ever against the Lakers in the playoffs (712 games) (Hollinger posted this earlier, but it doesn’t seem to be right. It looks like it’s the 6th in the past 20 years.
  • He joined Oscar Robertson (who did it twice) as the only players ever to record 25 points, 15 assists and 10 rebounds in a playoff game.
  • Since 1991, nobody has gone 27-15-13 in the playoffs.


This is the video Monty showed the guys to light a fire under them-

Apparently Chris Paul would hit his mom under the right circumstances. Good thing those won’t arise.

How Jack’s floater looked from inside the Arena-

And some highlights from the game-


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