L.A. isn’t the only team missing its backup point guard tonight.
We heard before the game that Antonio Daniels, whom New Orleans acquired from Washington on Dec. 10 for Mike James, will be out with a minor knee injury. Perhaps more significantly, the Hornets will also miss Peja Stojakovic, who’s inactive with back spasms. Peja’s spot in the starting lineup will be filled by Rasual Butler, who’s averaging 9.4 points and 2.8 rebounds in his last five games, while Devin Brown (5.7 points, 1.0 assists) will fill in at shooting guard.
The Lakers will of course be without the services of Jordan Farmar, who will undergo knee surgery on Wednesday.
Injuries aside, the bottom line on Tuesday is this: If the Lakers can defend the Hornets high pick-and-roll with Chris Paul effectively, they will almost surely win. If they struggle to contain Paul, the PG who’s putting up 25.6 points and 11.2 assists in his last five contests will lead his team to victory. It’s that simple. After all, the Hornets run at least half of their plays out of that set, as a visiting NBA scout told me before the game.
Check back in a few minutes for the running diary.