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NBA Playoffs 2011: Lakers Can Win by Giving Paul the Ball

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 20:  Chris Paul #3 of the New Orleans Hornets drives on Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers in the first quarter in Game Two of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 20, 2011 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
Torey ZiskaCorrespondent IIApril 28, 2011

It is no secret that the Lakers struggle to defend the league's top point guards.

So logical thinking would go something like this: Keep the ball out of Chris Paul's hands as much as possible. However I believe the total opposite to be true. Let Paul have the ball as much as possible.

Paul is averaging 11.6 assists per game in the first round.

In New Orlean's two victories, Paul had 29 combined assists. In their three losses, he had 29 combined assists. Yes this means Paul averaged nearly 10 assists in their losses, but he averaged nearly 15 in their wins.

I believe the best way to 'stop' Paul is to make him a scorer.

Sure, he's averaging 24 points per game in the series, and in their two wins he averaged 30 per game. However, if the Lakers play him straight up the entire game (don't double team him, ever.), they should win the game with relative ease.

Sure, Paul may score 40, even 50 points, but other then Marco Belinelli, the Hornets don't have anyone that can consistently create their own shot. Trevor Ariza has the ability, but as Coach Monty Williams has said, they don't have any plays for Ariza. He is a slasher and is the beneficiary of many double teams that Paul draws as he drives to the basket.

If the Lakers guard Paul straight-up the entire game and force him to be only a scorer, I don't believe the rest of the Hornets team could score 40 or 50 points on their own.

If Paul scores 40, and the rest of the team somehow manages 50 without more then a few assists from Paul, the Lakers should be set. If the Lakers can't put up 90 points in a close-out game, they are not the same team that closed out three consecutive series on the road last season.

I've never seen one player win a game by himself (though Kobe has come close with an 81 point game and a 62 point game in which he outscored the entire Dallas Mavericks team through three quarters and sat out the fourth).

If the Lakers focus on stopping the other four Hornets on the court, and not doubling Paul, they should find themselves with another series clinching victory on the road.

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