Caught in the Web: Lakers begin the 2011 NBA playoffs
-- The Times' Mike Bresnahan reports that it was only last week that Lakers Coach Phil Jackson performed his annual team exorcism, in which he lights a bundle of sage and takes it through parts of the Lakers' facility.
-- The Times' Mark Heisler believes the Lakers are in good shape.
-- The Orange County Register's Kevin Ding breaks down three keys to the Lakers-Hornets series.
-- The Times-Picayune's Peter Finney looks at the difficulty New Orleans will have in stopping Kobe Bryant.
-- The Times-Picayune's Nakia Hogan looks at how the Hornets are relishing their playoff experience.
-- NBA.com's Scott Howard-Cooper argues the Lakers
-- ESPN Los Angeles' Andy and Brian Kamenetzky preview the Lakers-Hornets game with Hornets247.com's Michael McNamara.
-- ESPN Los Angeles' Arash Markazi focuses in on Matt Barnes' mohawk.
-- The Riverside Press Enterprise's Gregg Patton believes the Lakers will be bored in their first-round series against New Orleans.
-- The Times-Picayune's John Reid details how the Hornets plan to push the tempo against the Lakers.
-- Sports Illustrated's Ian Thomsen and Zach Lowe believe the Lakers will win the NBA title, while SI's Lee Jenkins predicts the Lakers will fall to Portland in the West semifinals, and Chris Mannix has the Thunder upsetting the Lakers in the West Finals.
-- The Daily New's editorial board debates whether Kobe Bryant is a role model.
-- Yahoo! Sports' NBA writers predict the Lakers won't have a problem beating New Orleans.
-- Silver Screen and Roll's Actuarially Sound lists five keys to a Lakers' three-peat.
-- Forum Blue and Gold's Phillip Barnett break down what the Lakers need to do defensively against New Orleans.
Tweet of the Day: "No more questions about my knee! It's 100% I'm ready to go!" -- AndrewBynum (Lakers center Andrew Bynum)
Rick Friedman Reader Comment of the Day: "My heart goes out to Matty. I lost my dad to cancer and it ain't pretty. Sport that mohawk Matty. I hate the haircut but I love the symbolism in your case. Kick butt -- you got our support, respect and appreciation." -- justanothermambafan
-- Mark Medina
E-mail the Lakers blog at firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo: Kobe Bryant and the Lakers begin the NBA playoffs today with a first-round series against the New Orleans Hornets. Credit: Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press