Hornets coach Monte Williams knows that in order for his squad to take a 2-0 series lead on the heavily favored Los Angeles Lakers, they are going to have to play better than they did in game 1.
Much credit given to Chris Paul and the rest of the Hornets for playing a near-perfect game, but they played against a Laker team that, other than Kobe, looked flat and didn’t give much resistence to the Hornets attack. Chris Paul spent most of his time in the heart of the Lakers defense, which yields the biggest front-court in the NBA.
Phil Jackson made it clear that his team wasn’t focused in the post game conference. “We came out and played too cool. We need to get in the gym a few hours earlier so we’re ready to play basketball.”
The Lakers spoke all season about that ‘switch’ that they were able to turn on when they needed to.
Well, Now might be a good time to turn it on and here is why:
- If Chris Paul continues to play at this level, New Orleans is going to be tough to beat. With CP3 at the helm, the Hornets rarely turn the ball over and are content with using the whole shot clock every possession which is frustrating for the defense.
- The Lakers lost the ‘intimidation factor’ they had before the series started. The Hornets now know, after being swept 4-0 in the regular season, that they can beat LA.
- The city of New Orleans is living with the fear of losing their NBA team. Even though they don’t show much support of the Hornets during the year, the idea of losing something that belongs to you whether you support it or not is a harsh one to accept. I expect games 3 and 4 to be sold out and the environment to be electric. It will be an emotional crowd as well. They want to prove to David Stern that they do come out and support their team, and that the Hornets mean a lot to them. The Lakers do not want to step into that environment down 2 games.
Game 2, assuming that it wont go to 7 games, will be the most important game of the series for both teams.
Chris Paul Complete Game 1 Highlights