Well hello there. Welcome to the Hornets Recap Lounge. I hope your weekend was good and we’re glad your winding down your Sunday night here with us. Tonight, the Los Angeles Lakers beat the New Orleans Hornets 102-84. If the playoff seedings remain as they are, this is the matchup the Hornets are looking at in the first round. That’s not good.
The Lakers are the one team that the Hornets match up terribly against. They have three big men who just dominate the paint. Oh, and they have Kobe Bryant. The Lakers controlled the paint tonight, scoring 50 points down low. The Hornets, one of the better defensive rebounding teams, also struggled on that end. Out of their 43 rebounds only 26 came on the defensive glass. This is not what we want to see with the playoffs just around the corner. Let’s do this…
Towards the end of the game Will from At The Hive and @topherp33 said on twitter that the Hornets should tank to get the 8th seed. As much as that might hurt the team’s pride, it’s a smart move. When the Hornets play their best basketball they can beat anyone–except the Lakers.
Only Carl Landry and partially Emeka Okafor showed up tonight. Landry did an great job making up for David West. He finished with 24 points on 16 shots with 11 rebounds. He was the only Hornet with over 5 defensive boards. He was working hard in the paint. For being undersized his production against the Lakers is impressive. I would be more optimistic about this if not for the fact that this is what we’ll see in the playoffs.
Okafor was doing his best but Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum were too much for him. Bynum did not have a good game but backed Okafor down multiple times. His 8 offensive rebounds were impressive but he only had 3 in the defensive end of the court. This allowed the Lakers to grab 13 offensive rebounds. When you’re completely over matched by a team to begin with, you can’t give them chances to extend offensive possessions.
Chris Paul was largely ineffective tonight, but I’m not concerned with that. Yes, the Hornets have the advantage at PG but the Lakers height negates that. He actually finished a team worst -25 tonight. Even if Paul blows by Derek Fisher to attack the rim he runs into a wall of Gasol, Bynum and Lamar Odom. Trevor Ariza who is taller and more athletic was shut down by those three. At one point in the first half Bynum switched onto Paul. Paul was at the top of the three-point line and Bynum was at the free throw line. Paul took two steps inside the arc, and took a shot which Bynum managed to block despite being 4 feet away. It’s not shocking that he’d rather pass than look for his shot. It just wasn’t going to be Paul’s night. I would have liked to see Paul attempt more three-pointers and break out his cross-over step back move more. But overall, I’m not concerned.
The Hans Gruber Villain of the Game Award
Welcome to the club Kobe Bryant. Some of the calls he gets/gets away with are amazing. How many times does he shove a defender off a game? I wish I had Kobe calls in my day-to-day life. Call a customer stupid at work? Their fault. Forget to finish up a project? Coworker’s fault. I wonder if it applies when he’s not on the court…
-Aaron Gray continues to impress. He had the strength to bother Bynum in the post tonight. He had an efficient 7 points on 3 for 3 shooting and 7 rebounds (3 offensive) in only 18 minutes. But he did have 4 fouls.
-Marco Belinelli could not get his shot to fall tonight. He was 4 of 16 and 1 of 7 from deep. Those are Ariza-like numbers.
-Fisher, who shot 1 of 8 for 2 points, finished a game high +26. It must be night to have really good teammates.
-Shannon Brown had a monster dunk in the first half.
-Chris Paul summed it up best saying, “This league is all about matchups. It’s funny, the Lakers have had problems with the Bobcats over the past year, so it’s all matchups, and this is not a team we match up with good this year.”
Big game coming up on Wednesday against the Trailblazers. If the Hornets lose that I’m officially in favor of tanking for the 8th seed. Agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comments below or on twitter @nolajake.
Tonight, I’ll leave you with some awesome memories