2011 NBA Playoffs: Lakers Game 1 Review and a Look Ahead to Game 2

I thought this was where the Lakers were finally going to silence the doubters and prove that they meant business, that winning this third title was as important to them as the first and second. Sunday's lackluster performance did little to bolster my viewpoint, and has many questioning whether picking the Lakers as the favorite to win it all is reasonable.

Sure, the Lakers arguably have the most talented roster, but what does talent mean without cohesion and desire? Ask the 2004 champion Pistons. They had the heart and the teamwork to outwork a more talented Lakers team, and they came out on top. I stand by my opinion that when this Lakers team is firing on all cylinders, they cannot be beaten in a seven game series.

The question is: When will they begin to fire on all cylinders, and when the time comes, will it be too late?

Last game was, in my opinion, the best game the Hornets could possibly have. They were firing on all cylinders, they shot 59 percent in the first half and ended the game shooting nearly 52 percent. The Hornets bench scored 39 points, and Willie Green, Jarrett Jack and Aaron Gray shot a combined 14-18 from the field. The Lakers bench, on the other hand, had 21, but six of those came within the final minute with two meaningless Odom threes.

Once again, for the Lakers to succeed in this series, let alone in a championship run, Pau Gasol will need to be a presence in the paint both offensively and defensively. In game one, Gasol had only eight points and six rebounds on a meager 2-9 shooting from the field. He was consistently behind in his rotations, and allowed the Hornets' to have a field day in the paint. With Bynum in foul trouble, and nursing a sore knee back to health, Gasol needs to pick up the intensity.

In addition to Gasol's less than stellar performance, Lamar Odom turned in one of his own. If I remember correctly, he had but four points and one rebound at halftime. T...

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