Last playoffs one of the things I enjoyed most was discussing games with Ezra of The Purple & Gold Blog. So… resurrection: better than Lazarus!
Don: Going into the series, LA looked to get the match-up they wanted: a sliding New Orleans with a Chris Paul who wasn’t even sure he wanted to be there any more. Yet here we sit, with the series tied at 2-2.
I don’t think we can point to anything particular in what LA’s doing and say “Aaaah… they need to do ‘X’ to get the win.” Or if there is any ‘X’, then it’s “defend Chris Paul better” – and honestly I’m not sure there’s a player in the league who could do that.
It IS evident tho’ that Derek Fisher‘s matador defense isn’t going to cut it at the elite levels any more.
LA have to do what they’re doing, and just expect Andrew Bynum/Pau Gasol step it up. And they need to. I think our Lakers still get through, but make no mistake: no blinking, or NOLA will step up.
Ezra: I will have to agree with you about Derek Fisher. For all the big things he does during the playoffs and for his natural ability to say the right things at the right moment to his teammates, there’s no replacement for his inability to make any opposing point guard worry about going up against him and I’m not just talking about on the defensive end. That’s not a knock on Fish and I understand his special relationship with Kobe and Phil’s unrelenting trust in his play. But when it’s time to pass it on, it’s time to pass it on.
The real difference between this first round series and the season series is Pau Gasol. Yeah, Chris Paul was a monster in Games 1 and 4. But if Pau was anywhere close to being as consistent against the Hornets as he was during the regular season, this series would probably be over right now in favor of the Lakers. Then again, the Lakers had gotten so used to being complacent that they think they’re playing hard but really just average at best. That was the danger they’ve been flirting with for at least the past 2 seasons, now they’re finding out that flipping that proverbial switch is much tougher than ever before.
Don: Yup… even if LA get outta jail free and end up winning it all this season, more than ever the chance of the team getting burnt at the point is there to be taken. They want success, then it’s something that needs to be addressed.
The other side of it is that I don’t really think it matters at the moment who Chris Paul is against: he’d hose ’em.
I still think LA will eventually get out of this series, I don’t see the rest of the Hornets continuing to play well above themselves, and it’s a good thing (asides from me being a Laker-fan). I can’t see NOLA making it through to the Finals, and if they did, actually troubling whoever comes out of the East.
Why is it every season LA has to go through a rite of passage in the first round? They seem to be getting progressively tougher…
More post-game 5…