The New Orleans Hornets are a bad basketball team. I watched Byron Scott’s bunch at Staples Sunday night, just 2 days after seeing the lowly Memphis Grizzlies get blown out by the Lakers, and, amazingly, the Hornets have less talent.
Obviously, Chris Paul is better than anybody Memphis has got, but that’s about it for New Orleans. Give me Rudy Gay, Marc Gasol, OJ Mayo and Zack Randolph over the stiffs that were destroyed 104-88 by a short-handed Lakers team. This is going to be a very, very long year for the Hornets because they seem to have quit on Scott, who is on the last year of his contract.
Poor Chris Paul. He has 2 more years left on his extension after this season, and I find it hard to believe that he can single-handedly get his team to the playoffs unless there are some significant changes.
Kobe Bryant had a spectacular first half with 26 points on 10-16 with Scott electing not to double him, but in the 2nd half #24 faced multiple defenders and went just 1-5. Still his 28 points have given him the most prolific start to a season ever.
In 7 games, Kobe has scored 235 points, marking a 33.6 per game average. He’s shooting 49% on 86-177. Previously, Bryant’s best scoring average after 7 games was 29.9ppg back at the start of the 2005-06 season. And amazingly, he is doing most of his damage using a new post game. Only 15 of his 177 shots have come from beyond the arc.
DJ Mbenga got another start for LA with both Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum sitting out nursing injuries (hamstring and elbow respectively), and DJ was a monster. The kid from Congo registered his first ever double-double with 10 points (5-9) and 12 rebounds. He’s got a remarkably soft touch, and he is a disruptive force on defense (4 blocks tonight and a number of other altered shots). It’s going to be very difficult to keep Mbenga off the floor even when Pau and Bynum do return.
The bench was terrific for a second consecutive game adding 46 points, including a spectacular 15pts with a pair of brutal dunks and 3 3-pointers. Brown was 6-8 from the field with Luke Walton next off the bench with 11 on 4-7.
A win is a win, and the Lakers are 6-1 even without a single minute from 2nd-best offensive threat Pau Gasol and with Bynum out the last 2 games. But, New Orleans was just horrible with virtually no defensive effort, no hustle plays and no heart. The surprising Phoenix Suns will be here at Staples Thursday. Steve Nash and a rejuvenated Jason Richardson have led the Suns to a 6-1 start, including a shocker of a win at Boston on Friday.