2011 NBA Playoff Predictions: Los Angeles Lakers vs. New Orleans Hornets


We made it.

The NBA's long and grueling 82-game regular season came to a close last night, and it took all 48 minutes (plus an extra five minutes of overtime) of the 82nd game to finally determine the playoff seeds.  

When all was said and done, the Lakers clinched the No. 2 seed in the West and will face the No. 7 seed New Orleans Hornets in the first round of the playoffs.  

With 9 seconds remaining in what could possibly be the last game ever played in Arco Arena, the Lakers trailed by three, staring at a No. 3 seed and a date with the extremely dangerous Portland Trailblazers.

However, Kobe Bryant went into playoff mode a little early, knocking down the game-tying three with 4.8 seconds remaining, forcing overtime.  

Despite blowing a 22-point lead with just over 9 minutes left in regulation, the Lakers pulled away thanks to an 11-0 run after trailing 103-102 early in the overtime period.

And after all the drama in Laker Land over the past 24 hours, from Bynum's knee injury to Kobe's homophobic slur, things are suddenly falling into place for the two-time defending champs.

First, we got word that both Bynum's and Barnes' MRI results revealed nothing serious and that both would be available for the first game of the playoffs.  

Next, the Lakers pull out a wild win in Sacramento, clinching the No. 2 seed and securing home-court advantage in the second round against the winner of the Dallas/Portland series.  

Finally, we find out the Memphis Grizzlies did everything in their power to avoid playing L.A. in the first round by losing to the Clippers last night at the Staples Center.

Now, the Lakers are matched against the New Orleans Hornets, a team they beat all four times during the regular season, a team missing it's leading scorer in David West and a team the Lakers have a huge size advantage against.

Article Source: Bleacher Report - Los Angeles Lakers