The game looked as though it was heading for an exciting finish until Peja Stojakovic took over. Then it was pass, shoot, 3-pointer, repeat. Peja’s shooting rattled the Lakers, who nonetheless kept leaving him open for good looks. Perhaps they forgot all his years in Sacramento?
All in all, not a real great effort for the Lakers. This was one game in which it was evident how much they miss Lamar Odom’s all-around game. With him out there, it might have been a different result. But the Lakers’ offense just never looked totally in sync, and give credit to the Hornets for an efficient offense that never let the Lakers’ defense get settled. Make no mistake, New Orleans has the ability to make some noise in the NBA this season.
Stojakovic finished with a game-high 36 points and Chris Paul had 19 points and 21 assists in a tremendous effort. Kobe Bryant had 28 points for the Lakers but their other four starters combined for only 39 points. Derek Fisher had foul trouble throughout, Chris Mihm looked overwhelmed early and where was Luke Walton tonight? Ronny Turiaf was solid with 15 points and Andrew Bynum once again had his great moments, with eight points and 13 rebounds, but he also left a couple easy baskets on the rim. Jordan Farmar fared well, with 11 points, but he also went 5 of 12 from the field and seemed to be forcing things at times.
The Lakers return to the court Friday against Minnesota at Staples Center. Odom and Kwame Brown are likely to be back but Maurice Evans is expected to miss that game.