Los Angeles (2) vs New Orleans Hornets (7)
Final Score: Lakers 87, Hornets 78
Series tied 1-1
It took the league's best 6th man to turn things around in L.A. to thankfully tie the series before heading to the not so Big Easy. LO brought his game, brought the energy, and brought back the spunk that exited the Staples Center on Sunday. He was the deciding factor in tonight's victory. Kobe and Gasol should graciously refill the Candy Man's pregame candy jar at every opportunity. For Odom's numbers look above.
If you were told before tip-off that the usual 1-2 punch in Kobe & Gasol would score a combined 19 points, would you have believed that the Lakers would win tonight? On Kobe's defense he wasn't trying to score but more facilitate toward his big men. Right from the get-go you knew the game plan was to dish the rock inside which was heavily criticized as being more outside in game 1.
We can't forget about Bynum and Ron Ron. The Kid brought in 17pts and 11rebs and Artest helped with 15pts but more importantly helped with his defensive presence. I can't stress how important Ron's role is to the team. Most of his contributions game in and game out are often neglected statistically. You can't mark high energy, hustle and physicality but you could definitely recognize it. Barnes also had a positive night scoring 8 in just 11 minutes. His push to move the ball and match the Hornets speed was key tonight. Thank you Matt for that needed spark off the bench.
During the game, Reggie Miller had mentioned the Killer B's, highlighting the Lakers bench but at the end of the night it ended up being more like the Killer BOA (Bynum, Odom, Artest). Whatever the next acronym may be among Laker players lets hope it results to another WIN (Win In New...Orleans). I guess that would be WINO. Never mind, you know what I mean.
For the Hornets, CP3, Ariza and Landry also had great games. L.A. held Paul to just 20pts, Ariza scored 22 and Landry had 12. The New Orleans bench were no where to be found and were outscored by 14 to their 2nd unit opponents. One thing I have to point out which the media did as well was Jarrett Jack's frustration to his teammates. He flat out drilled them at the end of one fast break play. I liked seeing that and I sometimes wish Kobe would do the same. Gasol could have used that kind of screaming leadership tonight as he seemed too laid-back and too idle for such a fast paced playoff game. Something is wrong with him and I hope he collects himself soon. On that same token I'm tired of hearing "Gasoft" and any other sly remark. We all know the Spaniard's game and he will bounce back like he always does but don't slam the man in the process. Remember he's a BIG reason why we're in this position to 3-peat in the first place. He's just off right now. It's human to be so.
Tonight was a great night, a great win and a great sigh of relief for fans around the world. I just hope my nails grow back out before Friday. My nerves need an outlet.