Every time that the Lakers lose, especially when they get eviscerated by a point guard, as they did yesterday by Senor Paul, all of Lakerdom likes to come down on our man Derek Fisher. A lot of that is warranted – Fisher’s defense was akin to Dr. Stephen Hawkings’, as CP3 went for 34-7-14 (with 3 steals and only 2 turnovers). But there are two big reasons why the Lakers lost –
1). Poor, poor, POOR, poorpoor perimeter defense
The Lakers allowed 52% shooting for 109 points. Incredible work for the Hornets, especially against one of the better defensive teams in the league. However, what is even more incredible is that it wasn’t Emeka Okafor (4 points in 21 minutes) or David West (out for the playoffs) scoring on the block – it was Marco Bellinelli, Jarrett Jack and Willie Green were responsible for over a third of those points. There is no scenario in which those three should account for their team’s points, unless those teams have names that rhyme with “Shmobcats” or “Kavaliers”. Shannon Brown, Derek Fisher, Matt Barnes and yes, even perennial All-NBA Defensive team stalwart Kobe Bryant were rendered immobile on high screens and allowed all three of those guys to beat them both off the dribble and on the fast break ROUTINELY. Chris Paul got wherever he wanted and set everyone up with perfect shots. The Hornets got 52 points in the key, most of which was from those 4 guards and some tall forward named Aaron Gray, whose name sounds more like a paint brand than it does an athlete.
Maybe more importantly, LA’s pressure defense was turrible; the Lakers only forced 3 turnovers from a Hornets team that aren’t exactly the most careful in the league, yielding the 12th most turnovers this season.
2) Pau was only the second best Gasol who played last night
And I’m not even counting his little brother, who plays high school ball in Memphis. I guess I gotta go use the internet.
I dont even need to justify this with statistics – Pau was abused last night by Emeka Okafor, Jason Smith (who?) and the paint brand guy. Ridiculous for someone who might be 2nd-team All-NBA this season.
I’m not going to say stuff like “take nothing away from the Hornets” or “you’ve got to respect New Orleans” – Eff. That. That team is terrible. They don’t deserve to be in the playoffs. The Lakers absolutely gave this game away by playing carelessly and without passion. As Lamar said after the game, they were arrogant and took the Hornets lightly. The Hornets were allowed to win because the Lakers didn’t move their feet on defense and one man, Chris Paul, set the tone for the game. So take nothing away from Chris Paul, but the Lakers lost this one, not the other way around.