The Lakers start their quest for a 3 peat against the struggling New Orleans Hornets. Although they started the season hot under new coach Monty Williams, the Hornets limp into this series with a less than 100 percent Chris Paul and without their leading scorer David West.
Matchup to Watch:
Kobe Bryant vs. Insert Shooting Guard Here __________________
Marco Belinelli, Willie Green, and Trevor Ariza? Please. I can’t stand the one they call “The Black Mamba,” but he’s going to embarrass the Hornets this series. Unfortunately, we are going to be re-introduced to this face several times during the series.
Kobe is going to set the tone with relentless play, and he’s going to give the fans a show with a bunch of scrubs guarding him. Look for Jordan to improve on his 78 career games with 30+ points in the playoffs, good for 2nd all time next to Jordan.
Ex-Factor: Emeka Okafor
It’s funny to think that draft experts like Dick Vitale thought that Emeka should have been taken with the number one pick instead of Dwight during the 2004 NBA draft. Emeka is a Shane Battier clone, as he was known to be a book rat in college and does a lot for the community. But on the court, he is a prototypical center that does what is needed, but does nothing spectacular. I mean, the guy averages 10.4 PPG, 9.5 RPG, and 1.8 BLK a game. Pretty unspectacular. But if he can disrupt Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, the Hornets might be able to win a game at home. He needs to average around 15 points a game to make up for David West’s absence, and he’s also going to have to pull out some miracles like he did against Utah.
Prediction: Lakers in 4.
Unless you are a Lakers fan, there is no reason to watch this series. It will be an easy sweep for the Lakers unless they don’t feel like showing up for the first couple of games. Actually I take that back. There is a reason for Warrior fans to watch this series. We can see Marco Belinelli get dunked on again.