About time! It may have taken them six games but all that matters is that they got it done. The Lakers finally showed up in games five and six and dominated like they know how.
You sensed the Lakers thought they would cruise through the Hornets the way they came out in game one but as the series went on they came out with more and more urgency. They actually decided to wake up,stretch their limbs, and used their size to control the interior the last two games, dominating the paint on both sides of the ball. When Bynum had a double-double the Lakers won and when he didn’t, they lost, simple as that. Paul torched them in games one and four but they were able to contain him in game six, forcing others to step up.
The Lakers are at their best when the ball is moving and the scoring is balanced. When Kobe has to start taking 25+ shots a game, it throws off the other aspects of the offense. Another crucial component to success is Lamar. In the four wins Odom averaged 14 points and 7.8 rebounds and in the two losses he averaged 8 points and only 2.5 rebounds.When Odom can come in the game and provide a boost of energy with his leadership and his ability to start the break, the rest of the bench gets involved with easy buckets. They get more confident, more of their jumpers start falling, and pick up the defense making the Lakers a dynamic team but it all starts with the versatile Odom. When Odom has a good game the rest of the team usually has a good game as well.
The under-sized Hornets put up a valiant effort despite not having their second-best player. It was a scrappy series and didn’t have the most beautiful basketball at certain points but the hustle for 50/50 balls along with all the hard fouls from both teams made this quite the entertaining series. Chris Paul proved once and for all that he is still the best point guard in the league averaging 22 points 6.7 rebounds and 11.5 assists but he is unfortunate to not have a contending team around him. If you swapped Derrick Rose and Chris Paul, Paul would undoubtedly be the MVP. At this point, the Hornets don’t seem very serious about surrounding Paul with some contending talent so expect a move to be made this year to try and put together a quality team. If they are unsuccessful in making that happen this up-coming year, Paul won’t resign as a Hornet reminiscent of how Cleveland let Lebron down resulting in him fleeing to Florida.
In the next round the Lakers will get to meet up with their best friends, the Mavericks. They were able to close out the series in Portland lead by Nowitzki’s 33 points and Terry’s 22. This should be one hell of a series since both of these teams love each other so much. Both of these teams have size and length so it’s going to be a battle of will on the inside. With the feisty Chandler in the middle expect a fair share of technical fouls. The only feasible defenders for Kobe the Mavs have are Stevenson, Marion, and possibly Kidd which doesn’t look to good for Dallas. I’m convinced the Lakers will win in six. Whenever these two meet in the regular season, it always feels like a playoff game. Now that they actually get to see each other in the playoffs, it will be war, but according to Terry, “It’s going to be fun.”