Chris Paul robbed the Los Angeles Lakers of all of their momentum on Sunday, ripping through the two-time defending NBA champs' defense every which way but upside down (and maybe even that). The New Orleans Hornets, carried by Paul and with solid contributions around the horn, fought to a 2-2 series tie, ensuring the Crescent City will have at least one more playoff game this season.
Kobe Bryant suffered an ankle injury of unknown seriousness at the end of the game; the unknown seriousness can be attributed to Kobe's refusal to have an MRI or X-ray on the ankle. He'll play in Game 5, but if the ankle injury is actually serious and not just a P.R. stunt -- who would ever think Kobe could be guilty of turning a negative situation into positive P.R.? -- the Lakers might be doomed. Pau Gasol has struggled in the series, and Lamar Odom has been up-and-down. And, quite clearly, Paul is a problem for the Lakers.
The Hornets won Game 1 in L.A. behind a sizzling CP3 performance and rough efforts from Gasol and Odom; you wouldn't bet against those two stars whiffing again, but that still doesn't account for Paul's dominance in the series. If Kobe is limping and the Lakers' big men struggling to make it up on the back end, what exactly is L.A. supposed to do to finish off this series?