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Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Lakers' Twin Tower Is No Match To Hornets' David And Paul

The New Orleans Hornets made the improbable. They pulled an upset and won over the Lakers 116-105 in their Jan. 6 game at the Staples Center behind double-double performance from David West (40 points, 11 rebounds) and Chris Paul (32 points, 15 assists).

Kobe Bryant scored 39 points on 14-of-22 field goal shooting with 7 assists in 42 minutes. Derek Fisher had 19 points and 6 assists.

Lamar Odom would have had a spectacular game, scoring 12 points on 4-of-7 field goal shooting and dishing 3 assists despite playing for only 13 minutes, but he was injured late in the second quarter with a hyper-extended right knee.

The Lakers' Twin Towers were ineffective in this game with Pau Gasol scoring only 10 points on 3-of-8 shooting in 42 minutes with 8 rebounds, 5 assists, and 5 fouls. Andrew Bynum missed 5 of his 7 field goal attempts for a seven-point eight-rebound effort.

The Lakers' loss was the first in three games against the Hornets this season. They won their first meeting in New Orleans on Nov. 12 behind a very balanced scoring from their best players.

Bryant had 20 points and 6 assists in that game. Fisher also scored 20 points on 7-of-11 field goal shooting (4-of-6 from 3-point area) while Gasol and Bynum contributed 14 points each.

The Lakers also won their last game in New Orleans on Dec. 23, two days before their Christmas day match-up with the Celtics. Bryant, Gasol, and Bynum combined for 59 points on 49% field goal shooting with 20 total rebounds. They scored 26, 20, 13 respectively.

In their game at the Staples last night, the three combined for 56 points on 51% on the field--slightly better than their performance in their last game.

But that's just because of Bryant shooting 64% from the field. Only Bryant and Odom shot better than 50% from the field in this game. The team shot 42% from the field overall but only 32% if you take out Bryant's and Odom's numbers.

Too bad Odom was injured in the first half. They could have won the game had he stayed on the floor a little longer.

But was it really Odom not playing in the second half that cost them the game?

Well, Odom's scoring was also a non-factor in their two wins in New Orleans--just 2 points on 1-of-7 shooting in the first game and 8 points on 3-of-9 shooting in the second game.

Was it Bryant "trying to do too much?"

Nope! If fact, this game was Bryant's most efficient game against the Hornets this season although he scored only two in the fourth quarter, shooting 1-of-6 after going 13-of-16, including 6-of-6 from 3-point range in the first three quarters.

New Orleans really turned on their defense, especially on Bryant, in the last quarter and relied on dominating plays by West, who had 15 of his 40 points in the final period and outscored the whole Lakers team by himself.

The whole team was 5-of-21 from the field, including 3-of-11 from 3-point range while being outscored 27-13 in the fourth quarter.

Not to take anything away from the Hornets, who played a very good game especially in the last quarter, but the Lakers lost this game because their Twin Towers played like Two of the Seven Dwarfs!

C'mon Pau and Andrew! You made the 6'9" David West looked like 9'6" the way he dominated your 7-feet ceilings inside and outside! What happened to your vaunted wing spans that made the Lakers one of the best shot blocking teams in the league?

If you two play like this in your game tonight against the Golden State Warriors, expect another upset in Oakland! The Warriors are bigger, or at least they play bigger, than the one that blown your team out in your home court.

Good luck!

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