Friday, 22 April 2011

Lakers coaches looking for maximum effort in Game 3 against New Orleans

Assistant coach Jim Cleamons says the Lakers must play hard, defend against the pick-and-roll and Hornets guard Chris Paul, and pound the ball inside to big men Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom.

Reporting from New Orleans — The biggest adjustmentLakers assistant coach Jim Cleamons wants from his players in Game 3 against the New Orleans Hornets is basically the same thing the coaching staff has been pleading for all season.

They want the Lakers to give a maximum effort at all times, figuring the rest will take care of itself as the best-of-seven Western Conference first-round playoff series against the Hornets continues Friday night at New Orleans Arena.

Cleamons, who is in charge of the team's game plan against the Hornets for this series, said it took an energized effort by the Lakers to win Game 2 to tie the series at 1-1.

It wasn't a pretty game and, Cleamons said, it may not be pretty the rest of the way.

"Now the chess match is in play," Cleamons said. "We have to realize this is going to be a long series, an extended series, obviously. We need to take care of our business each time."

Cleamons broke down a few things he'd like to see the Lakers accomplish in Game 3 for them to have an opportunity to win.

Play hard

Cleamons said he's not sure whether the Lakers' energy can get any better than it was in Game 2.

"So that means we have to sustain it in Game 3," Cleamons said. "We have to sustain our level of play the rest of this series, and I think that will help determine our destiny for this year."

Now that the playoffs are here, Cleamons said the Lakers have to give their all.

Pick-and-roll and Chris Paul

Cleamons said the Lakers still have to figure out a way to "put up our shield" against the Hornets' pick-and-roll plays orchestrated by All-Star point guard Chris Paul.

As in Game 2, expect a rotation of Lakers taking their turns defending Paul, including Kobe Bryant,Derek Fisher, Steve Blake and perhaps even Ron Artest. The Lakers also want to push Paul even farther out on the court before he starts the Hornets' offense.

"The [Hornets] are going to see what their advantage is, and Chris with the ball in his hands is an advantage," Cleamons said.

Think big on offense

The Lakers have a size advantage over the Hornets' rotation players, so Cleamons wants his team to keep pounding the ball inside to their 7-footers Andrew bynum and Pau Gasol, and to Lamar Odom, who is 6 feet 10.

That plan worked better in Game 2 as the Lakers outscored the Hornets, 50-32, in the paint.

"If we want to take advantage of our bigs," Cleamons said, "then we've got to find a way to get our bigs the ball so they can be more effective."