Hornets vs. Lakers: Eric Gordon Key to New Orleans Crushing LA's Playoffs Hope

Sean Frye@Sean_E_FryeFeatured ColumnistApril 9, 2013

Eric Gordon would love to spoil the Lakers' playoff hopes.
Eric Gordon would love to spoil the Lakers' playoff hopes.Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Hornets' matchup with the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday is garnering a lot of publicity due to the Lakers' current standing in the Western Conference. If the season ended today, the Lakers would be left out of the playoffs. 

With that said, the Lakers will likely pull out all the stops in their final five games to make-up the half-game they trail the Utah Jazz in the standings. 

But Eric Gordon may have different plans. 

Gordon is one of the league's elite shooting guards, and he'll prove to be a tough matchup for Kobe Bryant. The two players may end up neutralizing each other, and it will be up to the Lakers supporting cast to carry the team. 

So far this season, that recipe has generally not led to success. 

Bryant has been inconsistent against the Hornets, scoring 42 against them on March 6, but was held to 14 on January 29. He also scored 29 points against the Hornets on December 5, which is just two points above his season average. 

For Gordon, he'll have to figure out what worked on January 29 defensively and then replicate that effort Tuesday night. That game, a 111-106 loss to the Lakers, is also the only time this season Gordon had a positive plus-minus against the Lakers.

Gordon averages 16.5 points per game this season, 11 less than Bryant. Against the Lakers this season though, Gordon averages 21.5 points, five points higher than his average throughout the whole season.

The Hornets are 0-3 against the Lakers this season. Beating a team four times in one season without losing is extremely tough. The only Western Conference teams to sweep the Hornets so far this season are the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Golden State Warriors. 

Gordon certainly does not want to add the Lakers to that list. If he can contain Bryant and force the other Lakers players to step up, the Hornets may very well steal one on the road on Tuesday night. 


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.