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LAst Night's Action: Chris Paul and Hornets Sting Lakers in Game 1

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New Orleans Hornets defeat LA Lakers 109-100. Normally a Laker loss in the playoffs isn’t cause for concern, but losing Game 1 to a seven-seed? Maybe a little alarming. The last time the Lakers lost Game 1 at home was on May 4, 2009 when the Houston Rockets beat the Lakers 100-92 in the Western Conference Semifinals. It was a tough series filled with a lot of Aaron Brooks and Luis Scola, but the Lakers eventually prevailed in Game 7 en route to the first of the repeat championships.

A couple of things jump out on the score sheet in this game, namely where the hell was Pau Gasol? Eight points on two-for-nine shooting in 38 minutes on the floor. This against an undersized Hornets team whose starting center is Emeka Okafor. Gasol told reporters he was stunned and surprised after the game. I think the people most stunned and surprised were the people attending the game.

Another thing that jumped out was the turnover margin: the Lakers had 13 while the Hornets had only three. The Hornets scored 17 points off those turnovers while the Lakers scored six. In the Lakers late-season swoon they were turnover prone, so it comes as no surprise they would lose this game.

With top-seed San Antonio Spurs losing at home to the eight-seed Memphis Grizzlies, Lakers’ fans shouldn’t go out in a full blown panic. But if these trends continue, there should be some concern.

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Chris Paul as usual tore the Lakers apart with 33 points, 14 assists, seven rebounds and four steals, and Carl Landry added 17 points. But when bench players Jarrett Jack and Aaron Gray score 15 points and 12 points respectively, it’s more than evident the Lakers didn’t have a good game.

Kobe Bryant led all scorers with 34 points, Ron Artest had a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds and Lamar Odom added ten points off the bench. Andrew Bynum coming off of a hyperextended knee played only 26 minutes but scored 13 points and swallowed nine rebounds.

Nashville Predators defeat Anaheim Ducks 4-3. With top line right winger Bobby Ryan suspended for two games, the Ducks needed to be sharp. Well within 38 seconds late in the first period, Martin Erat and Jordin Tootoo scored for the Preds. The Ducks returned the favor late in the second period with two Teemu Selanne goals in 30 seconds, but Mike Fisher pushed the dagger through the Ducks’ comeback attempt with the winning goal at 10:21 from a great pass across the crease from Sergei Kostitsyn. The Predators lead the series 2-1 and will host Game 4 on Wednesday night.

LA Angels defeat Chicago White Sox 4-2.

W: Dan Haren 4-0 - 6 1/3 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 6 K, 1 WP.
L: Mark Buehrle 1-1 - 7 IP, 10 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 1 HR.
S: Jordan Walden (4, 0.00 ERA).

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LA Dodgers defeat St. Louis Cardinals 2-1. Read the recap of the game.

LA Galaxy defeat Chicago Fire 2-1. Chad Barrett (42’) and Omar Gonzalez (72’) scored goals for the Galaxy while Dominic Oduro (89’) got one for the Fire in the waning minutes.

TONIGHT’S ACTION

LA Angels at Texas Rangers. 5:05 p.m. FSWest, AM 830 KLAA.

Atlanta Braves at LA Dodgers. 7:10 p.m. FS Prime Ticket, AM 790 KABC.