Blog Entry

Lakers hit their form in Game 5 win over Hornets

Posted on: April 27, 2011 1:53 am
Edited on: April 27, 2011 2:10 am
 
The Los Angeles Lakers defeated the New Orleans Hornets on Tuesday night to take a 3-2 series lead. Posted by Ben Golliver.



The Los Angeles Lakers have come and gone multiple times already this series, but they were back again on Tuesday night, polishing off the New Orleans Hornets, 106-90, to take a 3-2 series lead.  

The Game 5 headlines will go to Kobe Bryant's dunks, as well they should. On two separate occasions, Bryant displayed the aggression, athleticism, agility and opportunism that turned him into a Jordanesque global icon. First, he banged hard on Hornets center Emeka Okafor; then, he cruised past Hornets forward Carl Landry for a crafty lefty flush.  

Dunks aside, this was L.A.'s most impressive performance of the series, because they took a very solid punch from the Hornets and didn't flinch. The Hornets came out firing and didn't look back. They got big nights from all the guys they've needed to get points from; Trevor Ariza (22 points) and Marco Belinelli (21 points) in particular. More important than the output was the efficiency: New Orleans hit nearly half of their three-point tries and shot 49.3% from the field. Aside from some shaky foul shooting, the Hornets were about as good as they could have hoped to be on a night when Chris Paul (20 points and 12 assists) was merely excellent rather than transcendent.

The Lakers clearly rose to the challenge, inviting the back-and-forth, up-and-down exchanges. All five Lakers starters scored in double figures, as did Lamar Odom ... and those numbers were representative. Bryant got a bit of extra rest for his sprained left ankle in the first half, and it was a team effort to fill in the gaps. The ball was moving, the big men were finally pounding the rim regularly, and Ron Artest and Derek Fisher were doing enough to stretch the floor. This was the Lakers starting unit -- on both ends -- that strikes fear in people's hearts. They dominated the rebounds 42-25 -- as they should -- and won the battle for second chance points by an astonishing 22-2.

Perhaps the biggest win for L.A., though, was Bryant's playing time. Given the Lakers' double-digit lead late, and Jackson's early rotation tweak, Bryant played just 28 minutes. If his ankle was an issue, and it certainly didn't seem like it when he was looking down on Okafor, Bryant leaves Game 5 not only with the highlight reel dunks, but also with a bit of extra rest that's precious this time of year.

The Lakers are playing on their own timeline, clearly indifferent to outside expectations or pressure. They've flipped switches on and off at will over the last week. Will they show up to Game 6 on Thursday to lay the hammer down? Does Paul have one final Magic act up his sleeve? 

Those remain open, good questions. But L.A.'s Game 5 performance served as a not-so-gentle reminder that it will take a minor miracle for the Hornets to send them to an early offseason.
Comments

Since: Mar 22, 2011
Posted on: April 27, 2011 6:59 pm
 

Lakers hit their form in Game 5 win over Hornets

It seems the Lakers may have finally realized they're in the playoffs, playing an NBA team that indeed qualified for the playoffs and that has a genuine superstar on their roster... But in this game Kobe Bryant and his teammates had an answer for everything New Orleans threw at them.  This is the Lakers we've grown to know, and the Hornets really should not be able to handle this powerhouse.
What are the Hornets chop liver? They DO havet he best player on the court in Chris Paul. The reason for Lakers' inconsistency is that their simply not as good Kobe is older and so is Fish. It's not that they don't realize it's that they can't play at the same level any longer. 
As far as this supposed powerhouse after Kobe are they really that great. Gasol and Bynum have always been fairly inconsistent. Is this really a stronger team than say Boston with Rondo Allen Garnet and Peirce, would they not be then a powerhouse. And I know the Heat have their problems but honestly are we really ruling them out. Does any team have more talent then Wade Lebron and Bosh?
I'm not ruling out the Lakers but this notion that the Lakers have simply been not trying as opposed to being what they are (a team that's very beatable) is naive.



Since: Feb 14, 2009
Posted on: April 27, 2011 2:38 pm
 

Lakers hit their form in Game 5 win over Hornets

I'd like to point out to all the conspiracy theorists around that this wasn't called a foul, even though this pic shows Okafor blasting Kobe's arm.



Since: May 13, 2007
Posted on: April 27, 2011 1:34 pm
 

Lakers hit their form in Game 5 win over Hornets

I was really worried about Kobe Bryant's foot injury before this game.  Guess the concern was not needed very much.  Kobe really energized the whole Laker team with his thundering dunks and overall performance in game 5 with the Hornets.  It seems the rest of the team really fed on his efforts, and all picked up their intensity for a complete game.  Finally, the Lakers looked the part of champions, as they should.  I thought the Hornets showed us one of their best team efforts of the playoffs, but the Lakers had an answer for everything thrown at them.  This performance, from the entire Lakers team, hopefully propels them to finally close this series out.  They simply need to play their game to win this series.  There is no way the Hornets can match up with them, even though Derrick Rose has had a great individual series.  The Lakers are beginning to look like the team to beat in this year's playoffs.  I knew they would show up sooner or later.  They have an excellent shot at closing this out on the road if they continue to play to their substantial potential.  I think one more game will be all that is necessary.



Since: Dec 11, 2006
Posted on: April 27, 2011 12:35 pm
 

Lakers hit their form in Game 5 win over Hornets

It seems the Lakers may have finally realized they're in the playoffs, playing an NBA team that indeed qualified for the playoffs and that has a genuine superstar on their roster.  The Lakers seemed to play a much more focused game 5, finally realizing it was time to push on the accelerator.  The Hornets actually had a good game 5, perhaps their best of this series.  But in this game Kobe Bryant and his teammates had an answer for everything New Orleans threw at them.  This is the Lakers we've grown to know, and the Hornets really should not be able to handle this powerhouse, no matter how well they play.  I would guess Jackson is really behind this awakening, but you know Kobe has lit the fire under the players as well.  L A looked like the team to beat in this year's playoffs, and they should be.  This team is more talented and deeper than any other team in the NBA.  While it's probably quite difficult to get up for a first round playoff series for a team so highly ranked as the Lakers, that's what champions do.  I hope game 5 is a sign of that, and the Lakers push as hard to close this series out as they did in this last game. I thought the Lakers played an outstanding game, finally.  I hope we continue to see this type of ball from them. The Lakers remain my pick to win the whole thing again this year.



Since: Mar 22, 2011
Posted on: April 27, 2011 5:17 am
 

Lakers hit their form in Game 5 win over Hornets

This sounds like something that belongs on the Lakers fan page. What's returning to form when the team is battling in the first round against a seventh seed who can more than hold their own? And in LA for that matter. 
And what is form exactly? This isn't by any stretch of the imagination a great team. In fact, they weren't a great team last season either. They won by default. Boston took a dip but came out of a weak east, the cavs proved they just werent a good team outside of lebron, there's no more great pistons teams and the spurs were on the downfall.
The Lakers arent flipping the switch on and off, they're playing like what they are, a very good team with flaws and very good teams with flaws go back and forth with teams in the first round of the playoffs. 
If the Lakers make the Finals again it will not because they are a very good team and have flipped the switch back on it will be because the Thunder just haven't matured enough yet (because the Spurs are finished and the Mavs are the same old mavs). The Lakers are very lucky they couldn't keep the same team togther again in Phoenix.


The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com