Lakers take in all the gory details

Updated: April 19, 2011, 4:23 AM ET
By Dave McMenamin | ESPNLosAngeles.com

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Lakers broke down New Orleans Hornets guard Chris Paul's great performance in Game 1 along with Pau Gasol's struggles in all their gory detail as the team's film session lasted more than two hours Monday.

Rather than sweep away the results of Sunday's disappointing 109-100 Game 1 loss to New Orleans, the players treated it like must-see TV.

"Everybody tuned in," Lakers forward Ron Artest said.

"It's good to learn from," added center Andrew Bynum.

[+] EnlargeChris Paul & Kobe Bryant
Noah Graham/NBAE/Getty ImagesPaul excels at driving into the lane and drawing defenders.

What they saw was Paul joining Magic Johnson, Walt Frazier and Oscar Robertson (twice) as the only players in league history to tally 33 points, 14 assists and seven rebounds in a playoff game, and the Hornets go off for 36 points in the fourth quarter.

"Transition defense," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said was the main point of emphasis after L.A. gave up 17 points off its 13 turnovers. "How to run back."

Along with transition D, the Lakers concentrated on what they could do to stop Paul in the Hornets' half-court offense.

"We're going to try to trap this kid, this Paul kid, as much as possible," Lamar Odom said.

Jackson said the Lakers erred in defending the pick-and-roll by switching their big men out on Paul and the other guards too often, leading to situations in the fourth quarter when Gasol was isolated on Paul on the perimeter.

The Lakers ranked sixth in the NBA in points allowed per play defending against pick-and-rolls (.775 points per play) during the regular season. On Sunday, however, they gave up an average of almost twice that amount (1.467 points per play).

Jackson also said the Lakers' front line needed to offer the guards more support in walling off the lane and taking away opportunities for Hornets players to shoot floaters, as New Orleans substitutes Willie Green and Jarrett Jack did Sunday.

"If we just pick up a little bit more and really just try to stop the ball and make Emeka [Okafor] beat us and [Aaron] Gray beat us and [Carl] Landry beat us, it will be a different type of game," Bynum said. "I think [Jackson is] trying to put a lot of onus on me and Pau to try to step up and do a little bit better job physically with the way we're playing defense."

Jackson did not single out Gasol after the Lakers' starting power forward had one of his worst games since being traded to L.A., finishing with just eight points on 2-for-9 shooting and six rebounds (zero offensive).

"I can't get into expectations," Jackson said when asked how he felt Gasol would respond in Game 2. "He's a pro player that's an All-Star."

Gasol's teammates supported him Monday, much the same as Kobe Bryant offered confidence in Gasol on Sunday while adding that it is his and Gasol's "responsibility" to carry the team to a series split with a win Wednesday.

"There's not a player in the world playing sports that hasn't had a bad game," Odom said. "It's not the Super Bowl. We're lucky, you know? It's not a bowl game or the NCAA tournament, where if you lose, you're done. We have another chance to get back at it."

Jackson adopted a similar outlook when framing what starting the series 0-1 to the No. 7-seeded team in the Western Conference means to the No. 2-seeded Lakers.

"These things happen," Jackson said. "We know that it's not the end of the world. Teams have good days and bad days, and we probably had a bad day and they had a good day. Now we have to meet their energy and go out there and play a little bit better."

More defense

Orlando's Dwight Howard was presented with his third straight defensive player of the year trophy Monday. Two Lakers players factored into the voting, as Bryant finished 12th, earning five second-place votes and three third-place votes from the panel of 120 sports writers and broadcasters. Artest finished 18th with one second-place vote and three third-place votes.

"We're focused on big things right now," said Artest, who won the award in 2003-04 while with Indiana. "I just focus on playing defense and doing what we got to do here as a team with the Lakers.

"Dwight's a pretty good pick, though, I think. I would have got it probably three years in a row, too [if not for being suspended during the 2004-05 season]. ... I had my chance."

Dave McMenamin covers the Lakers for ESPNLosAngeles.com. ESPN Stats & Information contributed to this report.

Dave McMenamin

ESPNLosAngeles.com

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