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Hornets vs. Lakers

2/20/09

There has been no team in the NBA this season more impressive than Kobe Bryantís Los Angeles Lakers. After getting exposed on defense in the NBA finals against the Boston Celtics last season, the Lakers were on a mission this year trying to prove that they can play just as good on the defensive end of the floor as they do with the basketball on offense.

Kobe Bryant came into this season with an arsenal full of healthy offensive weapons at his disposal. The Lakers were so stacked and playing so well at the beginning of the season, Kobe didnít even have to play the entire game as he took a seat sometimes even before the fourth quarter.

With the emergence of role players like Jordan Farmar, Trevor Ariza and Sasha Vujacic the Lakers had become as dangerous off the bench as they were with their starting five.

Combination of a healthy Andrew Bynum at center and Pau Gasol moving back to his natural position at power forward made the Lakers a scary sight for any NBA opponent. Bynum started slow, but then came on strong with a career high performance against the Los Angeles Clippers where he scored 42 points.

Just when Bynum started to come into his own averaging about 26 points and 14 rebounds per game in a two week span, he went down with yet another serious knee injury.

At first the injury seemed to be devastating to the Lakers and everyone started saying here we go again, but the Lakers rallied together and played perhaps there best basketball of the season. Kobe scored a record 60 points in Madison Square Garden and then beat both the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers in there arenas.

The victories over the Celtics and Cavs turned out to be huge for the Lakers because they ended winning streaks for both teams and pretty much cemented the fact that the Lakers are now the best team in the NBA.

As for the New Orleans Hornets, they are playing well, but they are not the same dominant team as last season. Chris Paul is still playing at a MVP like level right now as the unsung leader of the Hornets, but for some reason the team just isnít the same as last yearís surprisingly good playoff team.

The Southwest division is as tough a division as any in the NBA today. With the San Antonio Spurs always ahead of the pack, the Houston Rockets improving every season and the Dallas Mavericks not going anywhere as long as they have Dirk Nowitzki the Hornets will always have strong competition in their own division.

The Lakers are arguably the best team in the league right now and Chris Paulís Hornets are good, but not great this season. With the way that the Lakers are playing right now, I donít see the Hornets pulling off the upset also they will be playing in LA where the Lakers have only dropped four games all season long. Bet Jamaica has the Lakers favored by -9. Lay It!

 

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