NBA Playoffs 2011: LA Lakers vs. New Orleans Hornets Game One Post-Game Reaction

Joshua SextonSenior Analyst IIApril 17, 2011

NBA Playoffs 2011: LA Lakers vs. New Orleans Hornets Game One Post-Game Reaction

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    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    The Los Angeles Lakers started their title defense on a sour note Sunday afternoon, falling to the New Orleans Hornets 109-100 in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series.

    The Hornets' upset was sparked by a brilliant performance from Chris Paul. Paul finished with 33 points, 14 assists, seven rebounds and four steals.

    The Lakers will hope to bounce back in Game 2 on Wednesday night before traveling to New Orleans for Games 3 and 4.

    Here are the highlights and lowlights from New Orleans' 109-100 victory.

8. Pau Gasol: Lowlight

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    Pau Gasol was nowhere to be found on Sunday afternoon. Gasol finished the game with eight points and six rebounds.

    In addition, Gasol only took nine shots from the field and attempted four free throws. It's not just that Gasol had a bad game; he seemed uninterested all game long.

    It was one of the worst playoff games the forward has played since being traded to the Lakers in 2008.

7. Lakers' Interior Defense: Lowlight

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    The Lakers were outscored in the paint 52-34 in Game 1. They must tighten up their defense if they want a different outcome in Game 2.

    What makes this differential so worrisome is the size advantage the Lakers have in the frontcourt.

6. Lakers' Energy: Lowlight

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    Not to take anything anyway from the performance of Chris Paul and the Hornets, but the Lakers seemed to be lacking the energy needed to win a playoff game.

    Questions about the Lakers' intensity are being asked too frequently.

    It's only a matter of time before playing overconfident, lazy basketball costs them dearly.

5. Hornets' Free-Throw Shooting: Lowlight

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    The Hornets would have won even more easily if they had made more of their free throws.

    New Orleans shot 23-33 from the charity stripe.

4. Kobe Bryant and Ron Artest: Highlight

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    Kobe Bryant and Ron Artest were the only Lakers who had encouraging performances in Game 1.

    Bryant kept the Lakers in the game most of the afternoon, scoring a game-high 34 points.

    Artest finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds. In addition, he was very active on the defensive end of the court.

3. Hornets' Bench Production: Highlight

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    The Hornets received more production from their reserves in Game 1 than anyone could have expected, winning the battle of the benches 39-21.

2. Hornets' Ball Control: Highlight

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    The Hornets took care of the rock about as well as they could have. They only had three turnovers the entire game.

    The Lakers finished with 13.

1. Chris Paul: Highlight

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    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Chris Paul finished with 33 points, 14 assists, seven rebounds and four steals. Paul controlled the game's tempo from the opening tip, and the Lakers had no answer for him all afternoon.

    If Paul continues to play at this pace, the series will be much more competitive and longer than everyone expected.

    The Hornets have already won one more game than many people predicted.