Why did Donnie Walsh leave the Knicks


Since it is not worthwhile to present the upcoming 4 to 5 games between the reigning double champion Los Angeles Lakers and the injury-ridden New Orleans Hornets in the traditional way, here are five subplots to watch out for over the next few days.

- the length of the Lakers: what makes the champ so hard to beat in a 7-game series? In addition to all-NBA shooting guard Kobe Bryant, one of the best clutch performers in the history of the game, this is the combination of two giants in the front court. Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, both 2.13m tall, give the team an imposing and playful wall in the zone, against which no other team can stink. If you add the 2.08m Forward Lamar Odom, which can be used anywhere on the pitch like a Swiss Army Knife, the opponents' problems become even more obvious. New Orleans, anyway not a "big" team and shrunk after the failure of its best scorer David West, will have no chance under the boards. The Lakers just have to pass the ball in / down ...

- the health of the Lakers: first and foremost, of course, Andrew Bynum. The young center, who had been playing from an all-star level since the All-Star break with an average of 11.2 points, 12.3 rebounds (2nd place behind Dwight Howard's 14.7) and 2.36 blocks (3rd behind Dwight Howard's 3.0 and Javale McGee's 2.57), injured himself in the penultimate game of the season on his surgically preloaded knee and has been causing concern for the Lakers medical team ever since. Bynum has announced that it will appear in game 1 of the series. But how well his damaged knee, which is supposedly only bruised, will hold out remains to be seen. One thing is clear: with Bynum in the lineup, the Lakers cannot be beaten. If the 23-year-old is missing, the purple-yellows appear in a far more mortal tail of light. The vicious backcourt bulldog Matt Barnes (knee pain) and the transparent backup PG Steve Blake (chickenpox) are also punched. Their use is questionable (Barnes) or impossible (Blake).

- Chris Paul: The game of hornets stands and falls for years with your little square general. What many seem to forget in the midst of the current Derrick Rose hype (or simply never get it): Paul put on a season for eternity just two years ago, averaging 23 points, 11 assists, 5.6 rebounds and 50% out of the Field. Rose can only dream of the values. CP3 will dominate this series. On the one hand, because Derek Fisher can't keep up with him on the defensive. And on the other hand, because he is still the best pure development player in the league. Naw'lins has to play pick'n'roll over and over and put the ball in Paul's hands as often as possible in order to have a chance of at least one win.

- Mental strength / the head: it is well known that the Lakers often adapt to the style of play of their opponents and repeatedly afford mental lapsūs. Dominant sections (17-1 directly after the All-Star break) are followed by phases of disinterest, laziness and arrogance (as at the 2-5 end of the season). Even Phil Jackson admits that he can't say which Lakers team will show up night after night: the professional, focused collective operating within the Triangle Offensive, or a group of successful, satiated, bored mercenaries. During last year's playoffs, the brisk demeanor of the young Oklahoma City Thunder brought the Lakers out of their lethargy and regained their championship focus. How many games will it take in 2011?

- the dominance of the Lakers over NO: Los Angeles won all 4 games against the team from Louisiana during the regular season. Two of them have two digits. Of all possible first-round opponents (NO, Portland, Memphis), the Monty Williams team is the easiest matchup. Sure, a win is always possible as long as Chris Paul pulls the strings. At the latest, however, when the Lakers have buckled what the hour has struck - which traditionally could take one to four games - and they start to exploit the matchup advantages in the big positions (New Orleans' options on center: Aaron Gray, DJ Mbenga, Emeka Okafor, Jason Smith), the hornets will buzz for summer vacation.


nbachef says: 4-1 Lakers

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