Road to the Repeat: Buzzing into New Orleans

Road to the Repeat: Buzzing into New Orleans

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The Lakers (54-19) have put the embarrassing loss to Oklahoma City behind them.

Los Angeles now continues the road push against the New Orleans Hornets (34-40).

The Lakers made a convincing bounce back on Saturday against the Rockets, defeating them 109-101. But the game was decided in the second quarter, where the Lakers outscored Houston 35-11.

To Phil’s dissatisfaction, however, they were outscored in the fourth quarter 32-20.

L.A. is still looking for better consistency, but they are starting to look closer into form as they are within eyesight of the postseason.

The Hornets have recently gotten Chris Paul back into the lineup, he had been sidelined by an injury.

Unfortunately, their playoff opportunity this season is behind them, as they were eliminated from playoff contention on Saturday by the Blazers, 112-101.

Paul is only averaging 7.7 points on 36 percent shooting since his return. But rookie Darren Collison, who took his place during his absence, is averaging 18.3 points and 6.7 assists.

With that said, the Lakers will still have to make sure they are prepared to take on the speedy backcourt of the Hornets. They also have been lifted by the scoring of rookie Marcus Thorton, averaging 13.8 points.

Gasol’s play is indicative of how well the team will play. So Pau should look to be aggresive as he was against Houston, where he scored 30 points on 11-17 shooting.

PROJECTED STARTERS:

LAKERS:
(C) P. Gasol
(PF) L. Odom
(SF) R. Artest
(SG) K. Bryant
(PG) D. Fisher

X-Factor: P. Gasol’s Offense & Bench’s overall effort.

Injuries:
A. Bynum (left Achilles) is out.
R. Artest (left heel bruise) will play.

HORNETS:

(C) E. Okafor
(PF) D. West
(SF) M. Peterson
(SG) M. Thorton
(PG) C. Paul

X-Factor: Darren Collison & Marcus Thorton (combined 25.6 points a game).

Injuries:
S. Marks (strained right shoulder) is out.
P. Stojakovic (lower abdominal strain) is out.
I. Diogu (left knee surgery) is out.
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