Trevor Ariza Feels Everyone Counted The Hornets Out Against The Lakers And It’s Going To Take A Scrappy Mentality To Beat L.A.April 20, 2011 – 7:15 am by Steven Cuce
After an up-and-down regular season, the New Orleans Hornets, coming in with a record of 46-36, seemed to be looking forward to the playoffs. They had the unfortunate task of trying to take the “goliath,” in the two-time defending champion Los Angeles Lakers, but the Hornets had their All-Star in Chris Paul healthier than he had been all season and ready to go. Everything went according to plan in game one for New Orleans, stunning Los Angeles, 109-100, with Paul leading the charge by notching 33 points.
It was such an unexpected game one upset that we’ve seen many in the media question if the Lakers are finally too old to win it all? Is Derek Fisher done because he doesn’t stand a chance guarding Chris Paul? The talk of Pau Gasol being soft has even been brought to fruition yet again as well. One of the key components of the Lakers championship title in 2008-09 was the work of a defensive guru in Trevor Ariza, who now is a member of the Hornets looking to pull off the upset against his former squad. Ariza feels the Hornets have been of the opinion that it’s always been them against the world and they’re fine with that. The key to keeping the effort going against L.A. in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs is to continue to play with a “scrappy mentality.”
Trevor Ariza on Fox Sports Radio with Petros and Money to discuss how disrespected the New Orleans Hornets were going into game one against the Los Angeles Lakers, if he had a feeling Chris Paul would have a huge game one effort, is it fair to only blame Derek Fisher for why Chris Paul played so well on Sunday, if the defensive game plan is to let Kobe Bryant get his and how are the Hornets looking to keep the momentum moving forward in game two.
How disrespected did you guys feel going into game one after being swept by the Lakers in the regular season series?
“I just think we really didn’t pay attention to what everyone was saying. We’ve been beating the odds all year, so it was nothing new to come out here and just play with everyone counting us out. You know I think everyone pretty much counted us out, so we just worried about each other and played for each other and tried to get a win.”
Did you have a feeling that sort of effort was coming from Chris Paul in game one after he struggled for most of the year?
“Well you know playing against him for six years or whatever I’ve seen him play at a high potential, a high level of play, and today he showed why he is one of the best point guards in the NBA or yesterday by the way he played and you know he’s just coming off a surgery. It took him awhile to get everything back and it looks like he’s back, ready to play, and try to help us win.”
Is it fair to blame Derek Fisher for why Chris Paul played so well in game one or is it a team defensive effort that let the Lakers down?
“I don’t think it’s fair to blame it all on [Derek] Fisher because it’s just not a one man sport you know. It’s a team sport. A team has to guard a player like that just like how a team has to guard a player like Kobe [Bryant]. You can’t but all the defensive pressure on me to stop Kobe because you know he’s an unbelievable talent on the offensive end. It’s a two-way sport you know you gotta figure it out a way to stop those talented players on the team.”
Is the game plan still let Kobe Bryant get his or shut him down at all costs? What is the defensive plan guarding him?
“It’s never let him [Kobe Bryant] get his, but he’s one of those players who’s going to take it. You know I just think I make him take tough shots and do what I can to slow him down a little bit.”
The local and national media are saying the Lakers are using the game one loss as motivation to bounce back and win this series in five or six games. How are you guys protecting against that? What is Monty Williams telling you guys?
“He’s not telling us nothing. He doesn’t need to tell us anything. We know what we are. We know who we are. We knows that it’s always going to be us against everybody no matter what the situation is, especially playing against the two time defending champions. It’s going to be us against the world, so we just gotta keep our little scrappy mentality and keep playing.”