Game 5 was as different from Game 4 as night and day. The Lakers were +12 for points in the paint, +18 in rebounds including 15 offensive boards out of 42 total, and were +20 in second chance points. L.A. absolutely dominated in every important category.
The intangibles were all there as well; scrapping for loose balls, being aggressive on defense and in the paint on offense, and just generally bringing everything they had. The Lakers were fired up and doing work; Reggie Miller commented that “I kind of like the nasty attitude he’s [Shannon Brown] played with all day.” I think they have finally woken up- Game 5 was pivotal and they recognized it and rose to the challenge.
It was one of the most consistent games I’ve seen the Lakers play all season as well. All of the starters plus Lamar Odom off the bench were in double figures, but no one had more than Kobe’s 19 points. The ball movement was excellent and they stuck to the game plan of establishing the low post by feeding the ball inside to the bigs.
The Lakers also drove in the paint and kicked outside for open jumpers. One of the biggest strengths of this team is their length and size, and it was on full display last night. Pau and Drew combined for 34 points, 18 rebounds and 5 blocks. Five different Lakers also had a steal each. Ron Artest continued his stellar play this series, and Derek Fisher caught fire as well. Like I said, it was a well-rounded team effort. It was obvious from various camera shots during the game of the bench and the body language on the court that the Lakers were in a good mood. And that puts me in a good mood!
The Lakers now have a 3-2 lead on the Hornets and can wrap up the series tomorrow night in New Orleans. The team is best when they smell blood, so I have no doubt that they will close out in deciding fashion. That’s what champions do.[phpbay]Los Angeles Lakers, 3, “”, “”[/phpbay]