Hornets-Lakers Potential Preview in NBA Western Conference Finals

Brian SausaCorrespondent IMay 8, 2008

    Chris Paul has led his New Orleans Hornets to a 2-0 lead against the defending champion San Antonio Spurs.  With Game 3 tonight, the big easy buzzers have a chance to go up 3-0 and knock the Spurs down for the count.  Meanwhile, it's all smiles in Los Angeles as the Lakers have a 2-0 series lead as well and will surely go on to the Western Conference Finals.  They are of course led by the best player on earth right now whether you like him or not in Kobe Bryant.  So lets say these two meet up in the Western Conference Finals of the NBA playoffs...


 The Lakers are definitely the team everyone expects to run and hide and head off to the finals.  They are so dominant with Kobe Bryant, Lamar Odom, and Pau Gasol.  They have outstanding role players that complete their squad and make it ridiculous like Luke Walton, Derek Fisher, and Jordan Farmar.  Lets not forget Vladimir Radmanovic, who is a sleeper on this team.  In the playoffs they haven't just been winning, they're beating teams badly in a lot of these games.  The Nuggets never stood a chance, and now it looks like the Jazz are being put out of their misery.  None of this would be possible without Kobe Bryant, who makes defenders look terribly all the time, no matter who it is.  You think you have him contained but you look up the stats after the game and it turns out he went for 49 points and 10 assists.  He is averaging over 34 points in the playoffs as well.  So whether you hate him or love him, you must admit how great this man is at what he does.


Now here are the New Orleans Hornets. A much more scrappy team that just finds a way to win no matter what.  During the regular season, this was a loveable team with a loveable young point guard that loves to play.  Just a good story.  The Hornets have always been a team that you hear about in the cellar of their division so people rooted for them, including me.  Mostly, their success comes from their superb "loveable" point guard, Chris Paul out of Wake Forest.  He has taken this team on his back to where they are now.  They aren't losers anymore, they are now top 5 in the NBA, and they know it.  The Hornets are not looking past the Spurs, but if they are to win this series, they know what lies ahead.  Veterans like Peja Stojakovic and David West will most definitely be ready.  Those two back
Paul up and help launch this team.  David West has emerged this season, making everybody realize he is one of the league's most underrated players.  They do not have many superstars, but they play like a team, and teams win, not individuals.


Many like to talk about Kobe Bryant's invincibility.  How he is unguardable.  I never thought anyone should try to guard him, just hope to contain him, but that is besides the point.  If you want to see somebody that is unguardable, do not look further than Chris Paul.  Just ask Tony Parker, one of the NBA's elite players.  Parker, a good defender, is being toyed around by Paul, the former Demon Deacon just like Spurs center Tim Duncan.  Duncan just called it "frustrating" trying to handle the Hornets and even more so, Paul.  He dishes the ball just as well if not better than he shoots it, making him the biggest single threat in the NBA.  This is a team game, so he gets his team involved.  Kobe passes somewhat also, but he can go for 40 and the opponent can beat them by neutralizing the others on the court.  Chris Paul might only go for 20 points, but 16 assists and 4 steals and with everyone involved, you don't know who the ball is going to.  Right now, Kobe is still the best, but in 3 years or so, watch out, because Chris Paul will be by far the best player in the NBA.

As far as the series goes, the Lakers or heavy favorites, so I'm going the other way on this one.   There is no doubt the Lakers are the better team, but New Orleans plays more like one.  With their hard work and determination, anything can happen.  I'll go out on a bit of a limb and say New Orleans takes it in seven.  Crazier things have happened.  Just overall, expect a good series, and look out for Chris Paul.  He is just incredible.