After Bryant challenged Gasol to step-up in Game 2, Gasol took the blame and the call-out to heart claiming he would put forth a better effort against the Hornets. While his stat line doesn’t speak volumes to that, it did appear that his body language improved, although it still appeared he was bothered by Carl Landry and Aaron Gray.
“Losing the first game, that put it right back on us,” Bynum said. “When we have that sense, everybody goes out and plays a harder game. [But] our go-to guys are Kobe and Pau, and this team is doing a good job of stopping them right now.”
The Hornets are one of the better defensive teams in the league, but it’s hard to say how much longer the Lakers can survive, should they make it past the first round without Gasol getting into an a grove on offense. The Lakers have options, but Gasol and Bryant will have to shine on the road, a place where most opposing benches–even this veteran bench, have been unsuccessful.
The night began with Odom receiving his well deserved NBA Sixth Man of the Year award and the Lakers needed him to increase his production on offense to negate the lack of scoring from the team’s two superstars. He scored 16 points to go along with his seven rebounds and was pivotal down the stretch to secure a much needed win that sends the series tied at one-a-piece to New Orleans.
“Whenever we lose it’s never just one person so we all got to look in the mirror and come back and play harder,” added forward Matt Barnes.
Artest has perhaps been the most consistent player in the series thus far, in game two he scored 15 points and scored the team’s dagger three-point shot with 40 seconds to go that all but cemented the Lakers victory. The Lakers ability to win even with little scoring from Bryant and Gasol are a testament to the team’s depth.
“We got a full team here,” Barnes said.
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