It might not have been pretty, but the Los Angeles Lakers got the win they needed on Wednesday night at Staples Center to even their first-round NBA playoff series with the New Orleans Hornets. Sure, Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol combined to make just five of 20 shots, but the Lakers still found a way to win, 87-78. C.A. Clark from Silver Screen and Roll has an idea why:
The Lakers secondary stars and bench stepped up to carry the night, because they are the deepest, most talented team in the NBA. This couldn't happen a year ago. Or even two years ago. Bynum wasn't able to step up and carry the team without being a blackhole. Lamar wasn't consistent and confident enough to put the team on his back. It always fell on Kobe and/or Pau. The rest of the Lakers fed off of them this time. As time goes on, no longer do they need Kobe or Pau to be All-World to find their own game. Pau's slacking? Andrew raised the intensity. Kobe's focusing on defending Chris Paul instead of scoring? Lamar took over the game.
For the Hornets, they did their job. They got a split on the road in the first two games, and now have to hold serve on their home floor to take control of the series. The big difference for New Orleans was that they committed only three turnovers in Game 1, but that ballooned to 16 turnovers in Game 2. Paul Sondhi of the SB Nation blog At The Hive is looking forward to Game 3:
For Friday night’s game, I anticipate fewer jumpers and more of what Trevor Ariza brought tonight. The Hornets didn’t match their valiant Game 1 effort, but there are still positives to take away from this game. To only lose by nine points after turning the ball over many times and taking unsightly shots is an accomplishment in and of itself.
Coverage for Game 3 will tipoff at 6:30 p.m. PDT and will be televised by ESPN (nationally) and KCAL (locally).
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.