Los Angeles (2) vs New Orleans Hornets (7)
Final Score: Lakers 100, Hornets 86
Series: Lakers lead 2-1
Lakers turn the switch and decisively take game 3. You knew before tip-off that the men who fashioned NOLA were in trouble. Kobe had his game face on and his crew in purple and gold were going to win no matter what. Four of the five starters had double digit nights. Kobe 30pts (4-7 behind the arc), Gasol (who btw made his 2nd 3 pointer of the season) 17pts 10rebs, Bynum 14pts 11rebs, and Fisher 10pts. LO did his usual NBA best 6th man of the year thing by scoring 13 and bringing down 9rebs.
Tonight's win served two purposes. The first and important one was obviously to gain the lead in the series and make it as short as possible. Secondly was to make certain all Laker fans rest assure knowing everything is going to be alright. As Kobe often says, "I got this".
One thing he also has is his young legs again. The best dunk of the night came courtesy of the Black Mamba. Shannon, Artest and Bynum chimed in with their own dunks but Kobe's one-handed monster reminded me of a poster I once had of him 10 years ago. There was no way Kobe was settling for the simple layup. His intensity directed him to the air. Take another look.
Just like game 1 for the champs, the Hornets kept digging in but never were able to be much of a nail-biting scare. N.O. kept hanging around but L.A. had a defensive and offensive answer when their lead was threatened.
Lakers are only getting stronger by the game and I really don't see the Hornets winning any additional games. CP3 is the Hornets Kobe and the team cannot rely on him to beat the Lakers on his own like he did in game 1. He needs his fellow 1st string teammates to help carry the load. Ariza is scoring more, Landry has had a strong series but Okafor needs to step up defensively if there's any chance for them to make this a long one. Tonight Okafor did have his best 1st round playoff game thus far, he'll need to carry that momentum through Sunday and stay out of early foul trouble.
If the Hornets starters (other than CP3) cannot impact the game in a major way look for the champs to close them out on Tuesday.