Season Series: Lakers 2-0
Divisional Standings: Lakers 1st Pacific - Hornets 5th Southwest
Streaks: Lakers won 1 - Hornets lost 2
The Big Easy seems to be a giving description for tomorrow's match-up against the Hornets. This New Orleans team has surprisingly fallen victim of the bad season bug and is already out of playoff contention. Now the Hornets only aim to end the season at 500. Here are some determining reasons for the break-down. Chris Paul is now back in the line-up after missing 25 games because of a tear in the meniscus in his left knee. This injury unfortunately required arthroscopic surgery and thus resulting in his 2 month absence. Coach Byron Scott was replaced by General Manager Jeff Bower early in the season due to his 3-6 season start. Man, tough crowd in that organization.
There is a ray of hope for the future of this organization. Obviously it lies in the off season rehabilitation of key player injuries but more importantly the future lies in their rookies Darren Collison and Marcus Thornton. Collison has played remarkably great in CP3's absence. He averaged just over 19 points in the 25 games Paul was out. Another rookie playing well is Marcus Thornton who is averaging 14 pts. These two filled in with promising numbers and will be looked at for major roles next season.
Lamar Odom vs David West. West is averaging 20 pts. and Lamar has been given an offensive spark to drive to the basket strong. These two (if matched up come game time) will clash it out for sure. It will also be fun to see rookie Marcus Thornton go up against the veteran in Kobe. Kobe should take this young'en to school. Dereck Fisher vs CP3 or Farmar against rookie Darren Collison will be tough match-ups too. Muscle to muscle & speed to speed at the 1 position. Chris Paul is still rusty and is scoring in low numbers since his return so don't expect to see his usual quick slashing offense. You'll most likely see Collison get more minutes as there really is no need to keep Chris in the game if he continues to struggle early on.
Again, Lakers SHOULD win tomorrow night if their energy indicates a team who is playoff driven rather than a team who knows their terminal fate.