NBA Playoffs 2011: LA Lakers; Inside the Numbers, Turnovers Key in Loss

It's easy to point at Pau Gasol's "softness" and put all of the blame on him on Sunday afternoon's Lakers loss to the Hornets in Game 1 of the Western Conference quarterfinals. Sure there were instances where fans were wondering why he was being overpowered by Aaron Gray so easily, but it's always wise to look deeper into the stats. Generally, this reveals what went wrong.

First off, let's not take any credit away from Chris Paul. He took over the game offensively, scoring 33 points and more importantly 14 assists. Not only was he scoring at a feverish pace, but his ball distribution made him even more effective and harder to defend.

However, one glaring stat exemplifies apathy.


The Lakers had 13 turnovers on Sunday's matinee. New Orleans had three. The Hornets had 17 points off those turnovers. Kobe Bryant had five of those turnovers.

Surely if the Lakers held onto the ball better, they would have secured the win. Points off turnovers are like a four-point switch. Instead of the Lakers getting two points on their possession, they give away the ball and allow the Hornets an opportunity for two points. Even if the Hornets don't score on the turnover, it takes away an opportunity for the Lakers to score. Turnovers were a major factor today, and they cannot be overlooked.

Give credit to the Hornets defense for forcing some of the turnovers. But when an elite superstar like Kobe Bryant has five turnovers, it does show to some extent that there was some apathy involved on the Lakers part. Also, nobody is giving the Hornets a shot to win the series so they came out with passion.

For the Lakers, the first round of the playoffs is an extension to the regular season. They're so used to playing deep into the playoffs that they do have moments where they fall asleep even in the playoffs.

Sitting in the premier section at Game 1, many remarks were made about how Pau Gasol ...

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