NBA Playoffs 2011: Can the Lakers Defeat the Hornets and NBA History?

No Phil Jackson coached team has ever lost a playoff series where they have won the first game. But they have won postseason series where they have lost the first game.

That bit of history suggests that the Los Angeles Lakers still have a decent shot of defeating the New Orleans Hornets in their first round playoff matchup despite losing Game 1. But another bit of history might suggest that the team's quest for a three-peat is already over.

No Lakers team has ever captured the NBA Championship after losing in the very first game of the playoffs, and it is against this back-drop that the Lakers will resume their series against the Hornets on Wednesday night.

It remains to be seen if the Lakers have a shot of erasing that little nugget of franchise history, but a good place to start would be winning Game 2 of their current series tonight.

Falling into an 0-2 hole would not mean immediate doom for the Lakers, but their chances of beating the Hornets would diminish exponentially, and it would cast even more doubt on the team's ability to reach the 2011 NBA Finals.

It's no secret that the Lakers struggles over the last week of the regular season have carried over into the playoffs, and what seemed like a potentially easy series against the Hornets has adopted a new tone.

I wouldn't venture as far to say that Los Angeles has reached desperation mode, but if they can't find a way to contain Hornets point guard Chris Paul, desperation could be just around the corner.

The return of reserve guard Steve Blake from chicken-pox should give the Lakers another player to contend with Paul's penetration, but the team's problems extend past their inability to defend at the point of attack.

Lakers guard Kobe Bryant said after Tuesday's practice that forward Pau Gasol approached Game One to passively and relied on letting the game come to him instead of asserting his will, and hopefully...

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