Lakers assert their size and beat the Hornets

Published: April 27, 2011

Yes, the turnovers hurt pretty bad, but the real story of that game was the Lakers simple dominance on the glass. The Hornets couldn’t get an offensive rebound to save their lives, and the Lakers either out-muscled or out-reached the Hornets for multiple second chance points. With the Hornets already struggling defensively, their inability to keep the Lakers one and done on the shots they did miss was killer. Honestly, I was hoping for a little more Aaron Gray in there as the Hornets struggled mightily inside.  In the end, the Lakers outrebounded the Hornets by 17, and more importantly, had 15 offensive rebounds to the Hornets 3.

The strangest part was how little the rest of the team contributed on the glass.  The Hornets make an impact on the board by team rebounding.  All the wings and guards combined for 8 total rebounds when the game mattered.(And Paul had half of them, of course)  That lack of help is insupportable against a team like the Lakers.

On their part, the Lakers did do a nice job limiting Paul in the game – forcing him to the edges instead of allowing him into the paint.  The result was a 20-point, 12-assist game, with Paul only taking 12 shots.  That’s still great, but he really needed another ball-handler out there to help him get away from their defensive traps, but Jack was failing miserably and Belinelli was shooting well but a disaster off the dribble.

Ariza did come to play.  He went 5-8 from three, and was attacking.  His defense was not quite as on today,  as he repeatedly let Kobe get the step on him as he reached to poke the ball loose.

Other Observations

  • As I said in the game preview, Bryant’s “injury” was bad for the Hornets. The Lakers got more than 10 shots for each of their big men, and as they have all series, turned those shots into easy points, free throws, or easy putbacks if they did miss. Add Bryant’s own efficiency to the mix, and it was all around bad.
  • Belinelli finally had one of his superior shooting nights, and it kept the game close through the first half.  Sadly, he was a big part of the issues on the boards, as Artest would get into the paint, hold Belinelli off with one hand, and then get a body on another Hornet at the same time, making the offensive boards easy to come by.
  • Jack was awful. Driving out of control, had trouble getting anywhere, wasn’t playing off anyone well, and was turning the ball over left and right. It’s hard to play 13 minutes and get a -16 +/-. Jack did it tonight, and deserved it.
  • Landry had his first truly off night scoring in this series, and man, he couldn’t catch a break.
  • Monty needs to remember Gray for next game.  More Gray!
  • Okafor has 12 defensive boards for the entire series.  For a guy I was so high on for a lot of the regular season, he’s being badly exposed. (Hat tip to Haubs of the Painted Area blog for that stat nugget)

Next game is Thursday at the Hive.  Do or die.  Be there.


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