In their opening game of the 2011 NBA playoffs, the Los Angeles Lakers were dominated by Chris Paul. The point guard sliced and diced his way through the Lakers' defense for 33 points and 14 assists, leading the New Orleans Hornets to a 109-100 win in Game 1 of the first round at Staples Center. Paul controlled Game 1; the Lakers now need Pau to control Game 2.
Pau Gasol played very well in the Lakers' four regular season wins over New Orleans. Gasol averaged 22.3 points and 12.8 rebounds per game against the Hornets, and was very efficient, shooting 70.5% from the field. However, in Game 1 on Sunday, Gasol was a no-show. Gasol played 38 minutes, but he only scored eight points and grabbed six rebounds. He did dish out six assists, but shot just 2-of-9 from the field.
C.A. Clark of Silver Screen and Roll was not impressed, saying, "Pau Gasol's nickname should be Houdini, because when Pau has a bad game, it's like you never even knew he was there." In addition, Clark summed up Gasol's Game 1 like so:
Gasol had nine shot attempts in yesterday's game. More than half of them were taken from more than 10 feet away. On the season, Pau gets roughly 2/3 of his shots from close range. Yesterday, more than half his shots came from 10 feet or further. He took half as many shots (2) from 16 feet or further as he did from close range (4). He attempted three 3 pt attempts all season long. One of his nine shot attempts yesterday was from downtown. That should tell you everything you need to know about where Gasol was playing.
Simply put, the Lakers need a better game from Gasol on Wednesday night in Game 2.
For more news on this first-round matchup, be sure to stay tuned to this story stream at SB Nation Los Angeles. For more NBA playoff coverage, check out SB Nation's NBA playoff bracket and schedule. For more news and information on the Lakers, be sure to read the SB Nation blog Silver Screen and Roll.