Written by: Steven Almazan
The Los Angeles Lakers did not look the same in Game 2 of their series against the New Orleans Hornets. They were playing with a drive to prove doubters wrong, with a passion to move on to the next round, and with a fly-swatter to squash the Hornets. Even though the Lakers did not blow out the Hornets as many expected they would, they played well enough to win the second game of the series 87-78.
In the first quarter, both teams challenged the frontcourt by limiting their jump shots and driving aggressively to the basket. Both teams were evenly matches for the first 12 minutes of play as they were tied 23-23. It seemed as if the Staples crowd were in for a long night of back-and-forward basketball, but the Lakers finally geared things up in the second quarter. They realized that this is the playoffs and changed exchanged their regular season caps with postseason caps.
The Lakers’ own Killer B’s were reunited as Steve Blake returned after a 7-day battle against the chicken-pox. Blake ran down the paint with a passion as he was playing with a fast-paced tempo all night. Blake, Barnes, and Brown were connecting on all cylinders as they easily found each other down the floor with smooth assists.
The New Orleans Hornets were unable to control the ball with 16 turnovers as opposed to the first game with 3 turnovers. The Hornets have players with the least amount of playoff experience out of all the teams in the postseason, and they finally played like it. The Lakers undoubtedly have the most players with playoff experience coming into this postseason, but they did not display a championship-caliber performance.
Chris Paul is meant to serve as the facilitator of the Hornets offense, but ever since David West suffered a knee injury late in the season, Paul has had to change roles and become the leading-scorer of the team. CP3 zoomed past the Lakers the entire night, slicing through the paint either for an effortless pass or an uncontested shot. Even though he did not have the same MVP-like performance that he had in the first game of the series, he contributed offensively ending the second and third quarter with a 3-pointer and also beating the shot-clock multiple times.
Although he has not worked alone on the offensive side, with help from Trevor Ariza. Ariza was playing as if he was out on a vendetta against Artest as he shot a ridiculous, hand-in-the-face shot toward the end of the first quarter. He also played body-to-body defense against Kobe the entire night, making him work for everything on the offensive end. He ended the night with 22 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 assists.
Next: Familiar Faces Struggle in Game 2
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