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Category: New Orleans Hornets

Caught in the Web: Reactions to Lakers' 93-88 Game 4 loss to New Orleans Hornets

61125837Game stories

-- The Times' Mike Bresnahan notices the Lakers are stunned after their 93-88 Game 4 loss Sunday to the New Orleans Hornets. He also notes that Kobe Bryant has to leave New Orleans on crutches and that he plans to get an MRI on the sprained left ankle. 

--The New York Times' Karen Crouse credits New Orleans for surviving the final moments of Game 4. 

-- The Orange County Register's Kevin Ding blames the Lakers' effort in their loss to New Orleans.

-- The Daily News' Elliott Teaford tells how the Lakers had no answer for Hornets guard Chris Paul.

Sidebars

-- The Times' Broderick Turner explains why the Lakers had trouble guarding Paul.

--ESPN.com's J.A. Adande highlights Paul's performance. 

-- The Orange County Register's Ding mentions how Bryant plans to play in Game 5 despite the injured left ankle. 

--The Times-Picayune's Jimmy Smith highlights Paul's triple double effort. 

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Dissecting the final moments of the Lakers' 93-88 Game 4 loss to New Orleans

61125842-3

Overlook Kobe Bryant's scoreless first-half performance. Forget about Chris Paul's triple-double effort. And accept the Lakers' nearly three-quarter stretch in which they didn't grab an offensive rebound.

There's plenty of blame to go around for the Lakers' 93-88 Game 4 loss to the New Orleans Hornets on Sunday, forcing the Lakers to return to New Orleans for Game 6 Thursday and adding further stress to a series they should have controlled.

The Lakers could have secured an ugly win if not for numerous lapses in the final 3:30. There were certainly some key plays in those final minutes that went the Lakers' way, but too many of them were executed the wrong way. Below is a play-by-play account of what went wrong in the final minutes of the fourth quarter.

3:23-2:57. After Derek Fisher hit two free throws to cut the deficit to 83-79, the Hornets' Paul hoped to take advantage of his superior quickness on Fisher in the next possession. But it didn't happen. Hornets center Emeka Okafor tried setting a high pick on Fisher, with Pau Gasol ready to switch on Paul. But Fisher fought through the screen and immediately marked on Paul. Okafor set a screen again at the top of the key, but Fisher spun around the screen and stayed in front of Paul. Once Paul dribbled right, Fisher cut off his penetration and then quickly backed so he wouldn't get beat off the dribble. After Paul dribbled to his left and between the legs, Fisher swiped at the ball. Paul picked up the loose ball, but he had to settle for an off-balance three-pointer that hit off the backboard.

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Lakers' 93-88 Game 4 loss to New Orleans Hornets feature plenty of lapses

61125821Time and again, images surrounding the Lakers' demise in their 93-88 Game 4 loss Sunday to the New Orleans Hornets played out on full display.

Lakers guard Kobe Bryant shot Pau Gasol a laser-beam glare after Gasol fumbled a perfect pass placed at his chest. Lakers guard Derek Fisher shook his head after he lost control of the ball during a crossover, leading the Hornets to cash in on transition. And Hornets guard Chris Paul pumped his fist and yelled emphatically after nailing a late-game baseline jumper, just one example of how the Lakers had no answer for his triple-double with 27 points on seven-of-14 shooting, 15 assists and career-high 13 rebounds. He also made all 11 of his free throws when put at the line.

The Lakers could've featured a Hollywood ending, with Bryant making a game-winning shot moments after rolling his left ankle and initially refusing to sit out, helping take command of the series. But instead of pumping their chest much like Ron Artest did in reveling in the team's small highlight with 16 points on seven-of-10 shooting, the Lakers head back to Los Angeles with the series tied, 2-2, and all the same questions that plagued them after their Game 1 loss.

How can they stop Paul? Bryant jawing at him, the Lakers switching and certainly Andrew Bynum playing him one-on-one isn't going to solve that issue. The problem also extended to former Laker Trevor Ariza, whose 19 points on eight-of-17 shooting mostly came with easy drives to the basket and very little of the Lakers' front line stopping him from penetrating.

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Lakers Chat: Lakers vs. Hornets Game 4

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To those who celebrate, Happy Easter everyone! Join the chat below and you might get an Easter basket

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Hornets embrace underdog role against Lakers; Chris Paul to play despite injury

Lk6z5ync New Orleans Coach Monty Williams told the media before Sunday's Game 4 against the Lakers that he showed his team a video that he hoped would inspire the Hornets, who trail, 2-1, in the best-of-seven Western Conference playoff series.

Williams also said that Chris Paul jammed his left thumb Friday night in Game 3, but that would not stop the All-Star guard from playing.

During a video session at practice Saturday, Williams showed his team a clip called "Battle at Kruger National Park."

Williams said it was about a small buffalo getting taken away by some lions. A group of crocodiles battle the lions for the buffalo. Then a herd of buffalo come back and take it to the lions.

Williams said the idea was to tell his team, "Don't give up."

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Lakers-Hornets Game 4: New Orleans wins, 93-88, to even series at two games apiece

Lakers2_510New Orleans 93, Lakers 88 (final)

The Lakers ensured they will have to make one more trip to New Orleans, turning what was supposed to be a straightforward first-round series into a deeply competitive matchup.

The Hornets defeated the Lakers, 93-88, on Sunday night at New Orleans Arena in Game 4, tying the series, 2-2. Game 5 is on Tuesday at Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Hornets point guard Chris Paul was at his dazzling best, finishing with a triple-double: 27 points, 15 assists and 13 rebounds. His final assist was especially clutch, hitting teammate Jarrett Jack with 9.3 seconds left.

Jack, who had been scoreless, put down a seven-foot jumper in the lane to give the Hornets a 90-86 lead and then hit three free throws in the final seconds to seal the victory.

Kobe Bryant, who went scoreless in the first half, finished with 17 points while Ron Artest and Pau Gasol each had 16 points.

Reserve forward Lamar Odom was hardly a factor, finishing with six points on one-for-seven shooting from the field.

The Lakers were outrebounded, 39-32, and New Orleans had a huge edge in second-chance points, 20-4.

RELATED:

Lakers-Hornets Game 4 box score

Lakers-Hornets Game 4 photo gallery

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Things to watch in Lakers-Hornets matchup

Pau-gasol 1. How will the Hornets respond to the pressure? The Lakers enter Game 4 of their first-round matchup with the Hornets on Sunday enjoying a 2-1 lead, and suddenly New Orleans Coach Monty Williams is calling it a "must win." There's plenty of reason for the Hornets to feel that way. Phil Jackson's teams are 54-1 once they take a lead in a playoff series. The Lakers appear more serious in playing playoff basketball than they did last week when they lost Game 1. And the Hornets lack playoff experience, with the likes of Marco Belinelli, Emeka Okafor and Jarrett Jack making their first appearances in the postseason.

Clearly, the Hornets don't have the same talent and resiliency to handle such adversity, but that's been the theme for the Hornets all season. The NBA purchased the team from owners George Shinn and Gary Chouest, who were in financial trouble, in December. Chris Paul's future with the team before the season remained in question, highlighted by his reported comments at Carmelo Anthony's wedding that he'd like to team up with him and Amare Stoudemire. The Hornets played through plenty of pendulum swings, including a 12-1 start to the season and a 4-8 stretch in February. And they've had to compete in the playoffs without the services of David West, who suffered a season-ending anterior cruciate ligament injury with nine games remaining. Given the fact that New Orleans has overachieved, the Lakers shouldn't expect the Hornets to just give up now.

That's why the Lakers' collective hunger must stay high. It's almost inconceivable that the Lakers would lose a first-round series to New Orleans, but, as I outlined yesterday, there's no reason for them to make the path to three-peat harder than necessary. Given the Hornets' statistically low offensive production (94.9 points per game), methodical pace, and 19th-ranked offensive efficiency, the Lakers' storming out to a quick start would give them a stranglehold on Game 4.

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Caught in the Web: Lakers prepare for Game 4 against New Orleans Hornets

61094470--The Times' Mike Bresnahan highlights the continual uncertainty surrounding Andrew Bynum's health.

--The Times' Broderick Turner talks to Lakers assistant coach Jim Cleamons about the keys to Game 4.

--The Times' Mark Heisler explains why an NBA lockout seems likely.

--The Orange County Register's Kevin Ding argues that even with Bynum providing plenty of value to the Lakers, his uncertain health proves he's not reliable as a long-term investment.

--The Times-Picayune's Peter Finney looks at how the Hornets could duplicate their Game 1 performance. 

--The TImes-Picayune's Nakia Hogan details how Phil Jackson's keeps the Lakers on an even keel. 

--NBA.com's Scott Howard-Cooper wonders if Game 4 will be the last game in New Orleans.

--Sports Illustrated's Lee Jenkins has a must-read feature on Bynum.

--ESPN Los Angeles' Andy and Brian Kamenetzky talk to Jenkins about his feature on Bynum and Pau Gasol's recent struggles.

--ESPN Los Angeles' Arash Markazi notes how handy Bynum's brace has come for him in preventing injuries.

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Lakers have extra incentive to close out series with New Orleans early

61094398While the Lakers enjoyed a light practice Saturday, Portland and Dallas duked it out in a frenetic finish.

While the Lakers appear in control with a 2-1 lead over New Orleans in their best-of-seven, first-round playoff series, the Blazers rallied from 23 points down in the second half to defeat the Mavericks, 84-82, on Saturday, evening the series at 2-2 and putting Dallas in the uncomfortable position of possibly exiting the playoffs before making it to the second round for the fifth consecutive season.

While the Lakers could enjoy as many as three days of rest between games, the winner of the Mavericks and Blazers series could have as little as one day to make the flight to Los Angeles to prepare for the Lakers in a Western Conference semifinal series.

The Lakers should view that framework as they enter Game 4 of their series on Sunday at New Orleans. A victory would give the Lakers a 3-1 lead and a chance to close out the series on Tuesday at Staples Center. Should that scenario play out, the Lakers would have at least two days of extra rest before a possible deciding sixth game Thursday between Dallas and Portland. Should that series go to a seventh game, however, Dallas and Portland would play on Saturday, giving the Lakers an extra four days of rest and preparation while their future semifinal opponents have to exhaust themselves just to arrive in the next round.

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Caught in the Web: Reactions to Lakers' 100-86 victory over New Orleans Hornets

61094047-1Game stories

--The Times' Mike Bresnahan believes the Lakers solved their identity crisis in their 100-86 Game 3 victory Friday over the New Orleans Hornets.

--The Orange County Register's Kevin Ding notices Bryant relied on a better supporting cast in Game 3. 

--The Times-Picayune's John Reid argued the Lakers controlled most of the game. 

--The Daily News' Elliott Teaford noticed the Lakers' swagger returned with. 

Notebooks

--The Times' Bresnahan highlights Pau Gasol's improved performance in Game 3.

--The Times' Broderick Turner details how the Hornets are in a must-win situation. 

--The Daily News' Teaford details the genesis of Kobe Bryant's defensive assignment on Chris Paul in Game 2. 

SIdebars

--The New York Times' Karen Crouse looks at Phil Jackson's last season as head coach. 

Columns

--The Times' Bill Plaschke believes Ron Artest helped set the tone against New Orleans.

--The Times' T.J. Simers wishes Bryant would learn how to score and facilitate in the same game.

--ESPN.com's J.A. Adande wonders if the Lakers are ready for a rebirth. 

--Sports Illustrated's Mark Haubner credits the Lakers for returning to the basics. 

--NBA.com's Scott Howard-Cooper and ESPN Los Angeles' Dave McMenamin explain how Gasol got out of his slump. 

--Fox Sports' Billy Witz argues the Lakers looked like champions in Game 3. 

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