The Los Angeles Lakers have two off days to prepare to defend point guard Chris Paul, who decimated them in Game 1 of their first round playoff series with 33 points and 14 assists, leading New Orleans to a 109-100 win at Staples Center. While Paul was great and certainly the key for the Hornets' attack, the supporting cast also had stellar games for New Orleans. Dexter Fishmore at Silver Screen and Roll explains:
CP3's staggering assault might have been survivable had his supporting cast not stepped up in equally unexpected fashion. We all have a mental list of opposing players we think could cause problems for the Lakers this postseason. Russell Westbrook is on it. Derrick Rose, certainly. LeBron James is there. Nowhere on this list do you find the names Jarrett Jack, Marco Belinelli, Aaron Gray or Willie Green. That's because they're not that good. But for 48 minutes today, they rewarded Paul's bold, clever passing by converting the open looks he created for them. Those guys combined to score 45 points on 31 shots.
This reminds me of Pat Riley in the NBA Finals after getting torched by Gerald Henderson that if the Lakers had to prepare for that every game they'd be in trouble. The Lakers of 2011 might not have to deal with such good games from the Hornets' supporting cast every game, but they will have their hands full. One of those supporting players, Aaron Gray, had an outstanding game but hurt his ankle near the end of the game.
Gray made all five field goal attempts and had 12 points in 20 minutes off the bench. Gray led all players with an astonishing +25 plus/minus. Gray's ankle injury appears to be a mild sprain, and he figures to be ready for Game 2, which is Wednesday night at Staples Center.
Will the Lakers be ready?
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