Western Conference 1st Round Matchup: Lakers vs Hornets

Posted by By at 16 April, at 05 : 50 AM Print

And then there were sixteen.

After an always exciting regular season in the NBA, the Playoffs 2011 begin Sunday, April 17, 2011. There have been some surprises in the lineup with last minute clinches, but one team nobody is surprised to see is the two time defending champions, Lakers, as they seek a 3peat.

Supporters and naysayers alike expressed some signs of doubt in the beginning; after all, the Lakers did display terrible inconsistency, including losing to the Cavaliers right before the All Stars–a team whose poor record is only rivaled by Minnesota. That loss sealed the 3 game losing streak for the Lakers after a 7 game trip.

But what a change of events post All Stars; the Lakers were 17-1, then lost 5 games, finally winning 2 games which allowed them to clinch the No. 2 spot on the West. Though the Lakers went into overtime with a much lower ranked Kings (a team who won’t even be in the playoffs), after blowing a 20 point lead, Laker fans still don’t seem to be worried.

Because after all, as Phil Jackson pointed out in a post-game interview, the regular season is irrelevant, including the team’s post All Star performance and OT appearance with the Kings. He even went on to say the Lakers are the “middle of the pack”, further emphasizing his focus on post season, and winning his 12th title as head coach, 6thwith the Lakers.

In the first round, No . 2 Lakers face the No. 7 Hornets, who, though an impressive team, don’t really have the offense to compete with Lakers’ defense. Some obvious advantages for the Lakers are, of course, home court advantage. Additionally, in the regular season, the Lakers have went 4-0 against New Orleans. More bad news for Hornets, their former All Star David West is out for the post season due to a torn ACL. Chris Paul stands to be the only threat that Phil Jackson and the Lakers have to face, but even so, he has not been playing to his potential due to a sore knee.

Though not A game, Chris Paul definitely doesn’t have D game either. He is sure to cause Fisher some trouble, forcing Fisher to need to look to Gasol and Bynum to get touches offensively. But outside of Point Guards, the Hornets have no answer to the Lakers, including their bench.  Even with Bynum’s bruised knee, Okafor is going to have to play at 110% to have a chance at stopping him. Belinelli, Ariza, Landry, and the bench also have no significant answer for the Lakers’ Bryant, Artest, Gasol and bench’s strong defense, experience and talent.

The first round is a no brainer. Lakers will come out on top and advance in the playoffs. The Hornets are 0-4 against the Lakers and coming off a 0-3 losing streak as their regular season came to a close; this is not promising news for them. Additionally, as highlighted, their starters or bench can’t contend competitively against the Lakers. Unfortunately for Big Easy fans, my prediction is Lakers will probably have to go broom shopping (Lakers 4-0).

You can catch the excitement as it all begins Sunday on ABC 12:30pm/3:30 Eastern.

You can also catch me tweeting live during each game on @Twitter at @NicholasV1980

Check out the *schedule below (all times Eastern and tip-off):

4/17 GAME 1- Hornets@ Lakers at 3:30 PM on ABC

4/20 GAME 2- Hornets@ Lakers 10:30 PM on TNT

4/22 GAME 3- Lakers@ Hornets 9:30 PM on ESPN

4/24 GAME 4- Lakers@ Hornets 9:30 PM on TNT

4/26 GAME 5 Hornets@ Lakers

4/28 GAME 6 Lakers@ Hornets

4/30 GAME 7 Hornets@ Lakers

*GAMES 5, 6, 7 are TBD

Stats:

LAKERS

PG- Fisher: 6.8 pts, 2.7 assists, 1.2 steals; SG- Bryant: 25.3 pts, 5.1 rebounds; SF- Artest: 8.5 pts, 3.3 rebounds; PF- Gasol: 18.8 pts, 10.2 rebounds; Center- Bynum: 11.3 pts, 9.4 rebounds, 2 blocks

HORNETS

PG- Paul: 15.9 pts, 9.8 assists, 2.3 steals; SG- Belinelli: 10.5 pts, 1.9 rebounds; SF- Ariza: 11 pts, 5.4 rebounds; PF- Landry: 11.9 pts, 4.6 rebounds; Center- Okafor: 10.3 pts, 9.5 rebounds, 1.8 blocks

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2 Comments

  1. Christy, 6 years ago Reply

    great work you did on this piece..im proud of you!

  2. LAKoBe, 6 years ago Reply

    The hornets got NO CHANCE against my boyz just warm up for next round


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