NBA Playoffs 2011: Los Angeles Lakers vs. New Orleans Hornets Game 5 Reaction

Josh BenjaminCorrespondent IApril 27, 2011

NBA Playoffs 2011: Los Angeles Lakers vs. New Orleans Hornets Game 5 Reaction

0 of 5

    LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 26:  Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts in the third quarter with teammates Ron Artest #15 and Shannon Brown #12 while taking on the New Orleans Hornets in Game Five of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 N
    Harry How/Getty Images

    The Los Angeles Lakers faced off against the New Orleans Hornets in Game 5 of what has turned out to be a very exciting first round playoff series. 

    In a game that was very much back and forth in the first half, Kobe & Company took control in the second half en route to a 106-90 victory. 

    Naturally, Kobe Bryant led the team in scoring with 19 points, seemingly low compared to what we've come to expect from him but we must remember that he was playing with a sprained ankle.

    Game 6 happens Thursday in New Orleans and it will certainly be interesting to see what happens.  In Game 5 however, Chris Paul and his team just looked outmatched and outplayed.  Long story short, the Lakers took them to school.

    Here are the key factors that led to Los Angeles winning and taking a 3-2 series lead.

The Lakers Communicated Better on Offense

1 of 5

    LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 26:  Andrew Bynum #17 of the Los Angeles Lakers looks to shoot over Emeka Okafor #50 of the New Orleans Hornets in the first quarter in Game Five of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 26, 2011 at
    Harry How/Getty Images

    In watching the game, I noticed something about the Lakers' offense.  Rather than get the ball to Kobe each time and wait for him to make one of his miraculous shots, there was a lot of sharing.  No player was outshining the other. 

    For all of you readers who are New York Knicks fans, Los Angeles was playing what Walt "Clyde" Frazier calls "garbageball," or driving hard to the basket and scoring points in the paint while also controlling the pace of the game. 

    Thus, center Andrew Bynum (pictured at left) played a big role in the offense.  He was second on the team in scoring with 18 points on six-of-11 shooting, and even contributed 10 rebounds and two blocked shots on defense.

    All in all, the Lakers had six players who scored in double figures.  The Hornets only had three.  Both teams shot 49.3 percent from the field, but numbers are irrelevant without communication on the floor.

Defense, Defense and More Defense

2 of 5

    LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 26:  Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers and Emeka Okafor #50 of the New Orleans Hornets battle for a loose ball in the third quarter in Game Five of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 26, 20
    Harry How/Getty Images

    The New Orleans Hornets are a young team that likes to shoot the ball a lot, and they have the accurate shooters with which to do that.  Thus, if a team is to beat them, lockdown defense is required.

    Despite allowing them to make 49.3 percent of their field goals, the Lakers played extremely good defense against the Hornets.  They out-rebounded them 42-25, blocked seven shots and forced 17 turnovers.

    Most important, however, was that the team essentially took Hornets big man Emeka Okafor out of the game.  The former UConn star only had five points on two-of-three shooting in 38 minutes of play, along with just five rebounds.  Both Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum kept him from being effective in the paint.

    With Chris Paul only able to do so much against this tough and experienced defense, the Lakers won the defensive battles easily.

The Lakers Bench Was and Still Is Better That of New Orleans

3 of 5

    LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 26:  Lamar Odom #7 of the Los Angeles Lakers goes up for a shot in the lane against the New Orleans Hornets in Game Five of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 26, 2011 at Staples Center in Los An
    Harry How/Getty Images

    As all basketball enthusiasts know, it is near-impossible for a team to win a championship with its starting five alone. 

    Michael Jordan had Steve Kerr, Manu Ginobili was the Spurs' sixth man before becoming a starter and Kobe Bryant has for the past few seasons had 2011 Sixth Man of the Year Award winner Lamar Odom (pictured at left).

    Simply put, Odom can do it all.  He can shoot the rock well both on the inside and from beyond the arc, plays great defense and is a great presence in the locker room.  This season, he averaged 14.4 points and 8.7 rebounds per game and shot an astounding 53 percent from the field.

    His performance in Game 5 was no exception as he scored 13 points and pulled down seven rebounds. 

    Combined with Odom's performance, the Lakers' bench scored a total of 29 points compared to a mere 14 from the Hornets reserves and was instrumental in giving the team a 3-2 advantage.

Phil Jackson Is the Ultimate Playoff Coach

4 of 5

    LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 17:  Head coach Phil Jackson of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts during the game with the New Orleans Hornets in Game One of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 17, 2011 at Staples Center in Los Ange
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    There's no other way of putting this.  Phil Jackson is quite possibly the best coach in NBA playoff history. 

    He has won 11 NBA Championships as a coach (six with the Lakers, six with the Chicago Bulls) and is looking for that elusive 12th.  This is his 20th and final season coaching, and Jackson has an incredible 1,155-485 career record in the regular season, giving him a winning percentage of .704.

    In the playoffs, the numbers are nearly identical.  Jackson has a 225-98 record for a winning percentage of .697.  Simply put, the man knows how to win.

    In Game 5, Jackson's coaching experience, along with team chemistry, played a big role in the Lakers' victory. 

    Don't get me wrong, New Orleans head coach Monty Williams has done a fine job with his team.  Still, it's his first year of head-coaching and his squad is facing a team that is known for performing well in the playoffs.

    Sorry, Monty.  You're a good young coach with a bright future, but you still have a long way to go before being in the same league as the legendary Phil Jackson.

Home Court Advantage Means Devoted Fans

5 of 5

    LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 03:  Jack Nicholson attends the Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Lakers basketball game at Staples Center on April 3, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or
    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    A lot of ex-players have said that home-field or home-court advantage plays a big role in whether or not a team wins. 

    Based on Game 5, I am of the opinion that it is the best advantage a team can have, regardless of the superstars on the team.

    The fact is that the Staples Center crowd really gets into the game.  These fans love the Lakers and all of the players on the team.  When it's crunch time, they turn into psychos.

    More importantly, the Lakers have the ultimate superfan in Jack Nicholson.  Seriously, does he ever miss a game?  Anyway, the point is that devoted fans can play a large role in a team's success.

    As good as the Hornets are, they just don't have the same type of fanbase.  Yes, they do well in the standings, but are also on the verge of folding completely.  That being said, it's hard to concentrate on success when the future is uncertain.

    Thus, the fan advantage goes to LA.  That's all for Game 5, folks.  On to Game 6!

🚨 SPORTS NEWS ➡️ YOUR INBOX

The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.


X