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Around the NBA: Hornets @ Lakers 12/6

Around the NBA: Hornets @ Lakers 12/6
Dec 09, 2006, 11:28 am
written by Eric Bove


Starting Lineup:

PG: Chris Paul

SG: Rasual Butler

C: Tyson Chandler

SF: Desmond Mason

PF: Marc Jackson



The Lakers, another surprise team from the Western Conference, came in 12-5. However, an injury to Kobe Bryant in their last game left the Lakers wondering about the next three weeks of their season as it was believed that’s how long Kobe would miss. As they say, “Not so fast my friend!” Kobe came out for warm ups, started in this game and the Staples Center was a-rockin‘.



Starting Lineup:

PG: Smush Parker

SG: Kobe Bryant

C: Kwame Brown

SF: Luke Walton

PF: Lamar Odom



Hornets



Chris Paul is amazing, outstanding, unbelievable, sensational…did I mention amazing? This kid is so young, so quick and so smart, it’s almost too good to be true. The only guy in the league with better court vision and awareness of his surroundings is Steve Nash. Paul plays solid defense, he lost Smush Parker only once last night and hung on that same play hung Tyson Chandler out to dry and he picked up an early foul. Other than that and that fact that he will gamble too much on defense going for a steal and take himself out of the play…he plays good defense. He found himself stuck on Lamar Odom a few times on some of the defensive rotations and though he’s about a foot shorter than Odom, he forced him to give the ball up. Paul had at least five plays last night that were Top 10 worthy, yet none of them were. Here is the Chris Paul Top 5...



#1 Off of a made Kobe jumper, Chris gets the inbounds pass and throws a half-court bounce pass to Jannero Pargo. That’s right, I said half-court bounce pass.



#2: Walks his way into the paint and three guys converge on him, Tyson Chandler rolls to the basket for an alley oop.



#3: Goes coast to coast for a very impressive reverse layup in traffic.



#4: Penetrates to the basket well but misses the layup after a lot of contact, he then gets off the floor and steals the inbounds pass and fires it to Rasual Butler for an easy two.



#5: Off a made Luke Walton transition dunk, he pushes the ball up floor and slings it to Desmond Mason for a layup in no more than 3 seconds. The camera man could barely keep up.



There’s one word to describe Cedric Simmons: Aggressive. He had himself a solid performance after two early turnovers in the first quarter. He settled down and played the rest of the game very well. He is known for his defensive game but to be honest, he looked bad on a few plays on the defensive end. . He lost his man and also didn’t seem to know if he was in the right position sometimes, however he never took the play off or gave up. When he was beat, he’d go up for the block. Offense is where he needs to improve and it was apparent in this game. He doesn’t have good footwork in the post and rarely did I see him get good position during this game. But again, his hustle makes me love his game. When he was rejected at the rim, he fought for the rebound. Here’s a sequence that really impressed me with his determination and effort:



- Off a missed shot he jumped up aggressively for the offensive rebound then was stuffed, got the rebound again and rocked the rim with an authoritative slam.



Lakers



I’ve seen Andrew Bynum play a few times this season and this was his worst performance statistically, he didn‘t necessarily play as bad as the box score shows though. He is a great young talent and has had a better than expected beginning to his season. He only was given seven minutes, why? I don’t know. To me it seemed as though he was bothered by something while he was on the court. Whether it was an injury, sickness or the lack of minute, I didn’t see that “Andrew Bynum swagger” I’ve seen this season. Other than his body language on the court, he just didn’t assert himself. He didn’t demand the ball in the post like I’ve seen him do on a couple occasions this season. He wasn’t as aggressive as usual on the boards, but defensively, he looked good. Moved his feet well and recorded three blocks.



I like Ronnie Turiaf. He’s a hustle player. Give him ten minutes and he can only help you. He’s a very heady player and doesn’t make the dumb mistakes a lot of young bigs typically make. He’s an aggressive defender and holds his own in the post. He’s a great story after all he went through last season. I don’t know if the lack of minutes is for precautionary reasons, but I’d like to see him get some more burn.



Jordan Farmar really played a great game. He made some rookie mistakes and picked up some bad fouls, but overall his performance was outstanding. He has the ability to take the ball to the hoop. It was obvious that he can sometimes lose his man on defense, but he hustles so he’s good in my book. One of the knocks of Jordan is his jump shot, but if he can continue to take it to the rim like he did in this game, Lakers fans don’t have to worry right now, it will improve. The other thing that really impressed me was his court vision. All too often young point guards come into the NBA and their eyes are moving a mile a minute and their mind plays tricks on them. Farmar plays under control and really makes his teammates better by finding them good looks. Coming out of UCLA, I was skeptical of his game but if he can string together a few games of this caliber, start him because he looked like a superior player than Smush Parker.

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