November 8th - Season Game 7: Los Angeles Lakers (5-1) vs New Orleans Hornets (2-4) @ Staples Center. 7:30PM PST - TV: CST,FSW
Let me start off by saying CONGRATULATIONS to the Phoenix Suns for giving the Celtics their first loss of the season last night! Now there are no undefeated teams. The best teams (Lakers, Suns, Nuggets, Celtics, Heat, Magic) have only one loss. The Suns and the Lakers are currently tied for first in the Pacific. Hey, any team who beats Boston is on my fave list.
Okay, on to tomorrow nights game against the Hornets. The big question remains, who will be the starting five for the Lakers? Will Gasol and Bynum play? If so, Lakers will crash more boards which will result to second shot opportunities. The Hornets Emeka Okafor is among the top rebounders at 64. Lamar Odom has 54 and Andrew Bynum has 53 rebs.
The key player to always look out for when the Hornets are playing is Chris Paul. CP3 is currently ranked #3 in assists with 59 and ranked #4 in points with 171. Where as the only Laker that has considerable number of assists is Lamar at 28 and as expected, Kobe is ranked #1 in points with 207. Derek Fisher needs to defend well against Paul and not allow him much penetration. By doing so, this will avoid having to receive defensive help from another Laker and not leave a Hornet open for a high percentage shot. 9 out of 10 times, CP3 will recognize this and dish the ball to that open player, hence his 59 assists. Chris Paul's ability to lose defenders quickly opens up shot opportunities for other teammates and thus the reason why he's one of the top 3 PG's in the league. D. Fish showed some light in his previous game with 7 assists. Not great but a definite start for the veteran and maybe his momentum will coincide into this game.
Now Paul can't do it all. He does get help at the big spot positions (PF/C) but lacks the help at the 2 & 3 spot positions (SG/SF). David West is a big man with quick hands. He already has 10 steals this early season. He's also among the top 10 ranked PF's with an average 17 pts & 6 rebs per game. Peja, in my opinion, is not getting the minutes he deserves. I know it's his 14th season and he's slowing down, but he can still shoot the ball. Listen, it comes down to simple math, the more minutes for Peja the more points he'll give you. His biggest game this season (26 pts) was when he was given the most minutes he's had so far (32 min). Bobby Brown has been playing considerably well the last couple of games for the Hornets but nothing to really worry about. I guess it's really his prerogative if he wants to play well or not (Sorry, I had to do it).
This game will be another one of those nail-biters so buckle up and get ready!
As always, I will include post game numbers and thoughts here when available.