Lakers – Hornets Pregame

Assistant coach Jim Cleamons sat down with us after shootaround to talk about L.A.’s Sunday evening matchup with Chris Paul and the New Orleans Hornets, detailing how to go at the shifty point guard, the addition of Emeka Okafor and elements of the Hornets’ Princeton offense.

We also learned from Phil Jackson that Pau Gasol (hamstring) would be inactive for the sixth straight game, while Andrew Bynum (elbow) would be active but would very likely miss his second-straight contest.

Jackson went on to discuss the contributions of D.J. Mbenga and Josh Powell, the two reserves charged with picking up the collective slack left by L.A.’s two regular starters. He seemed impressed with Mbenga’s play, which has come despite a nagging injury around his hip/groin area, and credited another hard working offseason for Powell’s continued improvement.

Tipoff is at 6:30 p.m. at STAPLES Center.