The bane of Los Angeles' existence as of last night: Chris Paul.
The New Orleans Hornets point guard and his team managed an astonishing 93-88 win against the Lakers, tying his team's series with the reigning champs. Sans leading scorer David West, the Hornets managed to capitalize on its pick-and-roll game with Paul racking up a game high 27 points, 13 rebounds and 15 assists. As SI.com's Mark Haubner writes:
"This night in New Orleans was all about Paul. In the first half, the Hornets played less pick-and-roll than we've seen. They looked to get everyone involved with more of a motion game, and Paul was content to play facilitator, with four points on just three shots and nine assists. In the second half, New Orleans re-emphasized its pick-and-roll game, and its floor leader took over."
While two wins in their series against the Lakers is impressive enough for a team that entered the playoffs a clear underdog, the real question will be two-fold: Will Kobe Bryant, after sustaining a foot/ankle injury, be able to return for Game 5? And can the Hornets continue the momentum that they established in Game 4 regardless of whether the Lakers star is on the court or not?
More playoff action, of both the NBA and NHL variety, up tonight:
San Antonio Spurs vs. Memphis Grizzlies (8 p.m. ET)
Portland Trail Blazers vs. Dallas Mavericks (8:30 p.m. ET)
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Denver Nuggets (10:30 p.m. ET)
Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Tampa Bay Lightning (7 p.m. ET)
San Jose Sharks vs. Los Angeles Kings (10 p.m. ET)
BY THE NUMBERS
27 – Rank that tennis player Julia Goerges moved to after a stunning defeat of favorite Caroline Wozniacki in the Porsche Grand Prix.
140 – Number of laps led by Kyle Busch during Friday’s Nashville Trucks race.
26 – Number of points scored by Celtics’ power forward Kevin Garnett during the final game of Boston’s sweep of the Knicks.