The game was always out of reach

Lakers beat the Hornets 102-84: The future is frightening

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

Tags: Aaron Gray Andrew Bynum Carl Landry Chris Paul David West Derek Fisher Emeka Okafor Kobe Bryant Lamar Odom Marco Belinelli Pau Gasol Shannon Brown

  • Sam

    The 8th seed is a much easier draw than the 7th, but if you beat the Blazers you gotta try to hold onto the 6th. The problem with the 6th is if you upset Dallas you run into the Lakers in the semis. Also, you can’t tank until you get a couple more wins… if you start losing and try to turn it on the last few games you could easily go lotto.

    • Jake Madison

      Agree completely. Need to win some games before picking which seed to go for. I’d be fine with the 6th seed and the Lakers in the semis. Realistically there is little chance of a title. Let’s just try and get out of the opening round first before worrying about who we play later on.

  • Alex A

    Tanking to the 8th seed leaves the Hornets going to San Antonio without notorious Spurs killer David West. I know they are struggling right now but the Spurs are a determined team when it counts. If the Hornets get blown out by 50 a game like they did against the Nuggets do you think its time to trade CP3 to the Knicks and get it over with?

  • Jake Madison

    The Hornets beat the Spurs both on the road and at home. That was before the trade that brought in Landry. Basically sub in Landry for West and you basically have the same team that beat the Spurs by 24 in late January. I’d much rather have that matchup.

    As for the Knicks, who are they going to trade? You give me Melo for Paul and I’d make that deal. But I don’t think that’s happening. Plus with Amare and Melo hogging up 40 million a year how are you going to pay Paul another 20 and be under a potential hard salary cap?

    Also: Alex, I hate you. Sam: You’re awesome.

  • Sam

    Paul won’t be a Knick anytime soon. I truly don’t believe the Knicks front office is dumb enough to roster three guys who need the ball in their hands as much as this trio. A guy like Andrew Bogut or Joakim Noah would be more valuable to the Knicks than Paul, as strange as it may sound.

    But in the event that it did happen, we can only speculate as to how the CBA would look. If there’s a hard cap, it’ll be significan’t higher than the current soft cap, but the more likely scenario is a pretty normal sounding hard cap, but current player salaries take a hit. Either way I think you could fit Paul on that roster via trade (free agency is obviously a whole different animal).

  • James Grayson

    I think tanking is a good idea, only if we know we’re assured of a playoff spot. I know Houston and Phoenix have to do a lot, but we really need to make the playoffs first. We’re only half a game behind Portland and two games back from Denver. I think we really need to kick it into gear the next week to show what we can do. This team still has talent, they just need to believe.

  • Jake Madison

    What happens in the Lakers Mavs game on Thursday will also be a factor. The Mavs could still end up as the 2nd seed. The Hornets wont tank though. I don’t see Monty wanting that type of momentum going into the playoffs.

    • James Grayson

      No way I want to win, I don’t care otherwise. I was actually happy with our bench. Aaron Gray, Jarrett Jack and even Quincy Pondexter’s defense. I mean if Chris Paul wakes up then we could win this game, remember 4 points down on the Lakers in the fourth, I’ll take that.