New Orleans Hornets vs. Los Angeles Lakers Preview and Pick – 28959

New Orleans Hornets +7 (20-10) at L.A. Lakers -7 (27-5) O/U 195 10:30 PM ET Tuesday January 6, 2009 on NBA TV
By Jason Green at

Tonight the New Orleans Hornets travel to La La land to play the white-hot L.A. Lakers. Many thought these two teams would be playing in the Western Conference Finals, but while the Lakers are on that pace the Hornets have played below their lofty expectations. The Lakers are in 1st place in the Pacific Division with a comfortable 7.5 game lead over the Phoenix Suns. The Hornets are in 2nd place in the Southwest Division and trail the San Antonio Spurs by 1 game. The Lakers have won 6 games in a row and are 8-2 in their last 10 games and the Hornets are coming off a loss and are 6-4 in their last 10. Did I mention that the Lakers have the best record in the NBA? The Hornets have played the Lakers twice this season, both games in New Orleans, and are 0-2 and failed to crack the 90-point barrier in either game.


This season the Lakers are 18-1 at home and the Hornets are 9-6 on the road. The Lakers have won 15 straight home games.

Basketball bookies have the Lakers as 7 point favorites with a total around 195. The Lakers are posted at -360 as home favorites and the Hornets are posted at +280 as away dogs.

The Lakers come into this game after an impressive 100-86 win over the Portland Trailblazers. Kids, can you name the high scorer in that game? Yeah, I knew you could, as it was obviously Kobe Bryant going for 26 points on 11/19 shooting. For the game the Lakers shot 33/67 from the floor for a FG% of 49.3%. On defense the Lakers showed the Blazers how it should be done, holding them to 32/82 shooting for a FG% of only 39%.

The Hornets come into this game after losing to the Denver Nuggets 105-100 on Saturday night. The high scorer for the hornets in that game was Chris Paul going for 30 points on 12/18 shooting and also dishing out 11 assists. For the game the Hornets shot 37/74 for a FG% of 50%. On defense the Hornets allowed the Nuggets to shoot 36/72 for a FG% of 50%.

This season the Lakers are the highest scoring team in the league (107.2 ppg), while the Hornets only rank 23rd (95.2 ppg). On defense the Hornets are a better team ranking 3rd in the leagues in points allowed (91.4 ppg), while the Lakers rank a respectable 15th (97.3 ppg). No wonder the Lakers have the league’s best record, as they are averaging 10 more points than their opponents. The Lakers are a better team on the glass, as they have a rebounding differential of +3.3 rpg and the Hornets are at +0.9 rpg.

This season the Lakers are 16-16 ATS and the Hornets are 12-16-2. In terms of Over/Under games the Lakers are 19-15 and the Hornets are 11-21.

On the injury front PG Jordan Farmer is Out and SF Luke Walton SF and
C Andrew Bynum are day-to-day for the Lakers, while the Hornets are not reporting any significant injuries.

It will be tough for the Lakers to contain Paul (20.1 ppg), who can not only light up the scoreboard but also leads the league in steals per game (2.87) and assists per game (11.5).

The Hornets come to L.A. to play the Lakers for the first time this season and they could really use a W. They have already lost 2 games to the Lakers in the Big Easy and losing tonight could kill their confidence if they meet L.A. in the playoffs.

The good news for the Hornets is that Jordan Farmer is out for the Lakers and he is quick and a good defender. Derek Fisher is 34 years old and will have a hard time keeping up with a young buck like Paul.

That may the only good news for the Hornets, as they will have a hard time matching up with the Lakers. Nobody matches up well with Kobe Bryant, but Hornets C Tyson Chandler (8.8 ppg) will have a hard time matching up with Lakers C Andrew Bynum (11.9 ppg), who has 50 pounds on Chandler. The Hornets do not have a lot of big bodies and that may hurt them tonight.

If Chandler bodies up Bynum, who will guard fellow 7-footer Pau Gasol (17.6 ppg)? That is a question that has plagued many teams this season.

The Hornets have to have a good game from David West (19.7 ppg) and Peja Stojakovic (13.2 ppg), as well as from Paul and Chandler, to have any chance in this game. The Hornets, pretty much, have to play a perfect game against a soaring Lakers team that has a deep bench, many scoring options, and the reigning MVP.

Jason’s Pick: I like the Hornets plus the points.