Chris Paul broke out of his doldrums and the New Orleans Hornets silenced the Los Angeles Lakers crowd with an impressive 109-100 win in Los angeles to take a 1-0 lead in the series. It wasn’t totally unexpected, but it was a dismal way for Los Angeles to begin their playoff run. The Lakers have been struggling of late, but most expected them to get their act together against a Hornets team that’s been troubled by injury and poor defensive play over the last half of the season.
Paul put up 17 points in the fourth quarter and helped put the Lakers to bed by leading an 8-run when it looked like Los Angeles could mount a comeback on their home turf. All this happened despite 43 points from Kobe Bryant, who can usually muster enough to push the Lakers into the win column. But it wasn’t happening yesterday, as the Hornets defense kept the Lakers in a scoring lull when they needed it most, holding Gasol to just 8 points, close to a season low.
Game 2 of Hornets vs Lakers comes on Wednesday night in Staples Center. It’s imperative for the Lakers to come back and get a win. This is a classic David and Goliath deal going here. Let New Orleans escape with a second win, and then get the Lakers on their home court, and the Los Angeles Lakers could be watching Round 2 from their living rooms.