Lakers Look To Take Series Lead, Visit New Orleans

Hornets Projected Starting Line-up:

PG: Chris Paul
SG: Marco Belinelli
SF: Trevor Ariza
PF: Carl Landry
C: Emeka Okafor

The first two games of the Lakers back-to-back title defense have both been a little off. Game 1 was a disappointing loss, of course, but Game 2 didn’t seem right either. A win is always nice, no matter if it’s ugly, or pretty; but in the playoffs, your team needs to be at the top of its’ game. The Lakers victory on Wednesday night came with another Pau Gasol no-show. Gasol followed up his dismal Game 1 performance with another that was just as bad, and maybe worse. Pau scored just eight points (2-10 from the field) and grabbed a measly five rebounds (all offensive) in 36 minutes of ineffective action. Kobe also had a less than Kobe-like game on Wednesday, but that can be attributed to his stellar defense on Chris Paul.

The Lakers were fortunate that Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom showed up for Game 2. ‘Drew and Lamar combined for 33 points (16-23 from the field) and 18 rebounds, those solid numbers helped propel the Lakers to a victory. Ron Artest has also shown some flashes of his old self. He had a solid all-around Game 2 scoring 15 points and grabbing 6 rebounds.

If the Lakers want a deep playoff run, and the chance at another three-peat, Pau Gasol has to get going. Considered one of the best post-players in the NBA, he hasn’t shown anything in this years’ playoffs that prove that point. When the Lakers are clicking on all cylinders, they’re impossible to beat, but they have yet to “flip the switch”. Let’s just hope that the switch isn’t broken.

Three Keys to a Laker Victory:

1. Get Pau involved early: The Lakers need Gasol to produce, especially on the road. Pound it to Pau to see if he can get a couple of easy buckets.
2. Keep Paul to single digit assists: Kobe’s length seemed to bother Paul in Game 2, holding him to nine assists. Look for Phil Jackson to deploy the same defensive strategies tonight.
3. Help defense on the screen-roll: Derek Fisher said the Laker bigs’ did a good job helping out on the screen-roll, that was a big reason why the Lakers held the Hornets to just 78 points.

Playoff Every Game Giveaway:

Win an Autographed Ron Artest Card from our friends at Panini America, the official trading card of the NBA. We’re going to be doing these kind of giveaways before every game in the Playoffs, so make sure you check back often on game days to get first crack at predictions. All you have to do is:

1) Be the first person on our blog, facebook or twitter to predict the Lakers field goal percentage, Lakers free throw percentage and point total for both teams for Game 3 of the 1st Round NBA Playoff matchup between the Lakers and Hornets today at 6:30p pst.

2) Please note that the field goal percentage and free throw percentage are in 3 digit format, so 2 digit predictions will not be counted. The official percentages will be used from yahoo sports.

3) All Predictions must be entered by the end of the 1st quarter. All predictions after, will automatically be disqualified.

4) Winners will be announced in our Post Game Instant Recap of Game 1 vs. the Hornets. Follow us on Twitter.com/LakersNation for Play by Play of the Game

 

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FG: .445 FT: .721
LAL:90 NO: 86

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