Game 1 Review: Lakers vs Hornets

Posted by By at 19 April, at 18 : 28 PM Print

If you went broom shopping this weekend, it better have been for housekeeping. In a continuing trend of upsets, Hornets have dismayed the Lakers and defeated the two time defending champs 109-100 on their home turf, snatching the proverbial home court advantage.  If you’re a Laker fan, you’re wondering how this happened; if you’re a Hornets fan, you’re elated it happened. At either rate, it did happen, engaging analysts and fans alike in heated discussion.

When your star player is shooting 50% from the line, that is a sign of offensive trouble. That’s right. Kobe Bryant successfully landed 13 of 26 shots from the field. To add insult to injury (no pun regarding his left cheek bruise in first half), Gasol got off to a slow start and a seemingly slower finish. While CP3—the already established biggest threat to the Lakers this series– had a triple double, the Lakers lagged behind in field goals. Hornets shot 59% in the first half, with the exception of former Laker Ariza who was only 2-8 from the field.

Turnovers hurt the Lakers early in the game; in the first quarter, Lakers were shooting at 40% with 4 turnovers whereas Hornets were shooting at 47.4% and 0 turnovers.

This kind of math does not add up for the Purple and Gold.

With Phil Jackson, each time the Lakers win game 1, they go on to win the series. So, should Laker fans start erasing their hopes of a 3 peat? Not necessarily. The Lakers have recovered from 0-1 (with the loss of home court advantage) before, but Gasol has to play as if he is the more skilled defender. Sunday night’s game served as a microcosm of the Lakers’ regular season: inconsistency—and inconsistent defense does not win series, even if it’s against an inferior seed.

Bottom line, the Hornets came out to play ball, and Sunday night is tangible evidence of such. Okafor—who experienced foul troubles in the third—showed up in ways the Hornets needed.  In fact, Sunday’s performance illustrated that Gray, Okafor and CP3 can all serve as anvils to sink the Lake Show. CP3 alone made 33 points, 14 assists and 7 rebounds.

In a post-game interview, Phil Jackson reported that he was stunned by the loss and that the Lakers’ defense was “late “ (serious understatement).  But the overall talent and history of the Lakers still do not change the prediction of most that Lakers will advance in this series.  A well-executed game by the Hornets needs to be repeated Wednesday for the Hornets to survive this series—but this is not likely to happen when you analyze the numbers. For all practical purposes, Gasol did not show up for Sunday’s game; the Hornets offense was at its climax. But this is not the NCAA Tourneys—when you’re talking the best of 7, the Hornets have played to their peak and not likely to advance.

But after all is said and done, No. 7 Hornets lead No. 2 Lakers in the series 1-0. You can catch game 2 as the Lakers host Hornets Wednesday, April 20, 2011 at 10:30 PM (Eastern) on TNT.

You can also catch my live tweets as it all unfolds at @NicholasV1980

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3 Comments

  1. Mavs4Life, 9 years ago Reply

    be affraid lakers..be very affraid ! Nothign would make me happier then seeing Kobes cocky smile wiped off his face !

  2. Christy, 9 years ago Reply

    another great piece of work you’ve done…keep up the great work!

  3. Christy, 9 years ago Reply

    Kobes looked cute when his smurk got wiped off his face…he needs another towel to wipe the ugly off his face..lol


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