NBA

Lakers Prove That Game One Was A Simple Aberration

Kobe BryantWhere have all those skeptics that criticize the two-time defending NBA champions gone? Nowhere in sight now, but for how long? It seems as though every time that the Los Angeles Lakers lose a game or two they come out and talk about age and depth as a weakness that will keep this team from repeating for the third straight year.

Then again, after a couple of wins in a row it’s those same people that talk about age and depth as a strength that will help them get back through to the finals. The Lakers flexed their muscle again on Wednesday night to beat the New Orleans Hornets 87-78 and even their best-of-seven opening round series at one win each.

Once again it was experience and depth that showed with superstar Kobe Bryant reaching nowhere near the scoring mark he hit in the opener with just 11 points. Bryant was busy concentrating on his play at the other end of the floor, where his assignment was to limit the productivity of Hornets’ All Star guard Chris Paul.

Paul exploded in game one with double-digit totals in both points and assists, and head coach Phil Jackson and company knew that in order to slow down the Hornets they would have to slow down Paul. Bryant held his man to just 20 points and nine assists on the night, as well as just three rebounds. With his numbers down across the board from game one, Paul could not come close to helping his team to the same result as he did in sports betting game one.

With Bryant doing an excellent job guarding Paul, the rest of the Lakers’ starting five rallied to take more of a role in the offense at the other end of the floor. The biggest spark came from the return of Andrew Bynum, who dropped 17 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in the win. Bynum’s play on the boards was one of the decisive factors in the game, and he helped to take the load off of Pau Gasol after the latter struggled in the opener.

Gasol still finished with the fewest points of any of Los Angeles’ starters with eight and had just five rebounds, and his 2-of-10 shooting mark was simply awful. Gasol will have to be better as the playoffs continue for the Lakers to have any chance, but with players such as Ron Artest and Lamar Odom stepping in with key contributions the reigning champions were just fine against the Hornets, or at least better than the MLB betting Dodgers this week.

Los Angeles should have no trouble getting through to the second round and that is where the real tests will come. Until the Kentucky derby betting race has passed it will be difficult to really project how this team will perform in the 2011 postseason, and until then they have to be regarded for what they are, which is champions. There are some pieces that will need to show improvement, but for now the Lakers have proven that their game one loss to New Orleans was simply an aberration.

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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