LA close out the Bees in style to stop the anti-Laker buzz. Now, Ezra of The Purple & Gold Blog and I discuss the upcoming series against the Dallas Mavericks…
Ezra: There wasn’t really any doubt the Lakers will close out the Hornets in Game 6. Even before the game started, the atmosphere inside New Orleans Arena was more of showing appreciation for what I think was a successful season for them rather than “we’re bringing this back to L.A.”.
What I didn’t expect though was seeing a mild-mannered Chris Paul. Yeah, the Laker defense had plenty to do with his effectiveness coming off of P&Rs and getting a good look at the basket and the floor, but I expected an even more fiesty CP3 not C-3P0 out there. As a Chris Paul and basketball fan, that was a huge letdown.
But the gameball really goes to the “Gray Mamba” on this one. Derek Fisher looked like a 20-something version of himself defensively out there. His performance on the defensive end looked like it was something brewing for quite some time now as I’m sure Fish is sick and tired of hearing how he’s passed his time. To me, that’s a gut check that could very well serve Fish and the Lakers very well for the rest of the playoffs.
Don: Not sure I’d go Fish. Yup, Derek Fisher stepped it up more than a bit, and I agree that it was like watching the #2 – and hopefully it’s something he sustains for the duration. But Andrew Bynum‘s looking completely beastly out there. Guy is so very, very big. And moves so very, very well. If LA can go the distance, he’s going to have had a very big part to play in this one.
Chris Paul… the reality is that despite the performance, this is a very average team he finds himself on. Sure, they played amazingly well – but that was largely on Paul himself. I think the frustration grows… it’ll be an off-season for him with a hearty dose of soul-searching, I’m sure of that.
Dallas. It’s interesting that the media take on the match-up is “Dirk Nowitzki/Dallas can overcome a history of playoff failures if they beat the Lakers”. Hell, I like this match-up, I like it a lot. Because I DON’T think that Dallas can beat the Lakers.
Ezra: I second that! The Mavs can talk about matching up well with the Lakers all they want, but we Laker fans know better. That said, this series isn’t going to be a sweep for the Lakers but I’d be really surprised if it goes seven games.
I just enjoy watching Bynum’s transformation this season. Not only does he now truly cares about losing and winning, he’s also serious about expanding his game altogether. Imagine if he really develops that short mid-range jumpshot. Wow!
Well, the first round took longer than expected but at the very least it forced the Lakers to deal with one of their biggest problems defensively. That should help them in the long run.
Don: Well… ‘Drew’s been hitting that short range jumper of late.
Dallas fans think they match-up well? On what plane of existence? Pau Gasol‘s one of the few guys in the league that can cover Dirk, and beyond that – where do they match-up well against LA? Ok: Jason Kidd‘s taller than Fish. And inevitably they’ll have a game where Jason Terry and Ol’ Man River get it going… but sheesh… Caron Butler‘s out – who covers Kobe? How do they stop Gasol/Bynum and Lamar Odom? Hell, Ron Artest might have a field day in this series.
I think it goes 4-1. 4-2 if Dallas’s lesser lights can step up to the party on more than one occasion.