In many ways, Sunday night's Game 4 may have been the most bizarre game of the 2011 NBA playoffs. The Lakers and Hornets were both without a point from their superstars with a few minutes remaining in the first half; Kobe Bryant, in fact, did not score at all in the first half, while Chris Paul scored four points, the first two of which after a highlight-reel crossover move on Bryant that left Kobe in Paul's dust. Both players were facilitators in that first half, and both found their scoring touch in the second half. But it was Paul who ultimately prevailed, with an eye-popping 27 points, 13 rebounds, and 15 assists in the Hornets' 93-88 win over the Lakers.
"He made a lot happen out there," Lakers Coach Phil Jackson told Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times. "A triple-double is nothing to sneeze at in a playoff game." That might be the understatement of the year. In the last 20 years in the NBA, nobody but Paul had a playoff triple double with at least 13 rebounds and 15 assists except for Jason Kidd, then a Net, who had 16 points, 16 boards, and 19 dimes against Toronto in the first round in 2007. The Lakers have had six triple-doubles against them in the playoffs since 1991:
|Playoff Triple Doubles Against Lakers Since 1991|
|Paul||Sunday||1st round||27||13||15||NO 93, LA 88|
||6/6/10||NBA Finals||19||12||10||Bos 103, LA 94|
|Tim Duncan||5/29/08||West Finals||19||15||10||LA 100, SA 92|
|Steve Francis||4/19/04||1st round||18||10||12||LA 98, Hou 84|
|Jason Kidd||6/5/02||NBA Finals||23||10||10||LA 99, NJ 94|
|Jason Kidd||5/14/00||2nd round||22||10||16||Phx 117, LA 98|
At the SB Nation Hornets' blog, At The Hive, Rohan Cruyff noted that Paul played well beyond his size on Sunday night:
The talking point of this series, here, there, and everywhere, was size. More specifically, and, I suppose, redundantly, it was the size Los Angeles has and New Orleans does not. Consider: in Game 4, the Lakers' starting front court combined to equal the points (27) and rebounds (13) total of the shortest player on either team. The games of Carl Landry and Emeka Okafor, if not the efforts of Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum themselves, strongly warrant a mention here.
Paul is averaging 25.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 11.5 assists per game during this first round series, which is tied at 2-2. Game 5 will be held Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. PDT at Staples Center. Tuesday's game will be televised by TNT and Prime Ticket.
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 playoff bracket and schedule. For more news and information on the Lakers, be sure to read the SB Nation blog Silver Screen and Roll.