2011 NBA Western Conference First Round Playoffs:LA Lakers vs. New Orleans HornetsApril 19, 2011 by Marc Jerbs

On Wednesday, the LA Lakers hosts Game 2 of the NBA 1st round playoffs against the New Orleans Hornets at Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA. Game time is set at 10:30 PM ET.

The defending champions Lakers were beaten by the Hornets in Game 1, 109-100. They could not match the intensity and energy of the Hornet's players led by All-Star PG Chris Paul. The Lakers have the height advantage in the shaded lane but Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom were a non-factor in Game 1.

The Lakers needs to refocus and channel their energy to stop the quickness and versatility of Hornets' PG Chris Paul. In Game 1, Paul orchestrated his team's offense flawlessly. The Lakers must stop Chris Paul's passing lanes and the Lakers' big guys should be more aggressive within 3 to 5 feet near the basket. It's time to flex their muscles and impose their will against the Hornets' big men.

The Hornets must still utilize its speed in order to have a change to go up 2-0 in the series. The next two games will be back in New Orleans and it would be a great if they have the Lakers down by 2 games. The Hornets bench players must again step up in Game 2 just like they did in their first game wherein they outscored the Lakers bench, 39-21.

The sportsbook handicappers have installed the defending champs LA Lakers as an 11.5-point favorite to beat the New Orleans Hornets and eventually tied the series one game apiece.