Preview and Chat: The Houston Rockets

Kurt —  December 15, 2006

Don’t expect a long preview, it feels like we did this just a few days ago.

Double Yao. The one thing discussed after the last game here was that the Lakers waited until the second half to start doubling Yao Ming in the post. Not so coincidentally, that’s when the Lakers went on a big run. This time I would think the Lakers will start with the quick double right out of the gate (then vary what they do some from there). Make someone else beat you, if Rafer Alston and Shane Battier go 9 for 11 from three, so be it, the odds of that happening are a lot longer than those of Yao scoring single covered three feet from the hoop.

But, as we remember from the fourth quarter, we may want to stay close to Luther Head out beyond the arc.

Back-to-back. The Lakers catch a break as the slow-it-down Rockets were forced to run and gun up in the Bay Area last night, falling to the Warriors by 2. The Rockets led by double digits most of the third quarter but when the starters subbed out for the bench, the wheels came off and it was a close fourth. Baron Davis was the good Baron Davis, hitting the big three for the win.

About the Rocket bench, it was they that led the fourth quarter comeback against the Lakers last Tuesday. Heck, John Lucas was a team best +22. Padgett was +18. The Laker bench is better than them and need to prove it.

How do the Rockets defend Walton? Should be interesting, Luke had 18 points and was +20 in the last meeting stepping into Lamar’s role, you have to think the Rockets will try to adjust to that.

Along those lines, another start for Radmanovic and another chance for him to step up.

Pace. I mentioned last time this is key — the Lakers want to run, Jeff Van Gundy is likely to lobby for a 35-second shot clock. Especially catching the Rockets in a back-to-back, you should be able to wear them down by pushing the pace.

Hot topic last night. Tony “busblog” Pierce is a big hoops fan, and last night (at an LAist gathering) he was making the case for the Clippers to give up Livingston and to get Iverson. While they Clips would face luxury tax implications, if the window is open and their title chances are the next five years….. What do you think?

Kurt

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16 responses to Preview and Chat: The Houston Rockets

  1. Iverson on the Clippers would be an L.A. media dream come true…

  2. The Clips need to do this deal yesterday. And they need to be ready for Livingston to excel outside of LA. I think Livingston is extremely talented, but I also think he won’t achieve success with the Clips. It’s been too long, there’s been too much grumbling from fans and the expectations here are too high. Like Kwame, a change of team could do him wonders.

    And as for the Clippers? They certainly don’t need a slashing guard who can draw traffic form the perimeter. Nope. That kind of player clearly wouldn’t benefit the team. Especially a perennial All-Star.

  3. Luther Head looks like the new Otis Thorpe.

  4. Except smaller, of course.

  5. I think this game strengthens the ODOM for MVP campaign

  6. Kobe has gone trigger happy.

  7. I’m behind, watching this on TiVo, and that was the ugliest first quarter (or any quarter) I can remember since Phil returned. Man, see a zone (granted, with Yao in the miiddle) and they freeze up.

  8. I’m impressed as hell with the Lakers’ play in the third quarter for the past three games, but what’s with coming out the gate doing our best Bobcats impersonation in the last two? It’s killing us!

  9. (8) Yeah, we just need kobe to grow a morrison ‘stache.

    But great gut check win. came back from a huge deficit, something we haven’t been able to do this season, and some players other than kobe did come up big in the end, but lets not kid ourselves kobe is Da Man!

  10. Also can some one explain how the scoring title works? Is it whoever scores the most points, or the most ppg? What is the cutoff for being considered if it is ppg?

  11. great win by the lakers! they showed grit and determination and clawed their way back (80% by kobe) and gutted it out for the victory. I haven’t seen the lakers win this way for a long time now. this season, when they’d get behind at the start and by half time, they haven’t won. Big big victory for the team. I guess Kobe has to start scoring earlier and stop looking for someone to score in the 1st half. Let the other players feed off his confidence to start games

  12. Also, Farmar’s play has not only benefited him, but to a certain degree, smush’s as well. I like how sumsh is responding to the challenge given by farmar, taking away his minutes. When he came back late in the 3rd, he played great ball pressure on Alston and his offense picked up as well. Now that he has serious competition for minutes at PG, the more he has to keep his focus and play great basketball! good omen for the lakers!

  13. Last time in Houston the Lakers were up by thirty and got bored, so why not spot them twenty and make it interesting all the way?

    Interesting it was.

    Kobe haters will say that he reverted, and Kobe lovers will say that he looks more like Michael every game. Smushaholics are celbrating; Smushaphobes are bloated from all of the Alka-Seltzer they drank.

    The most important statement from this game for both teams couldn’t be found on the floor or in the stat sheets: Lamar and Tracy.

    They were sorely missed!

  14. Kurt- as far as Livingston, I think he’s actually one of the most overrated guys in the leauge. What can he really do, don’t get me wrong, he’s a good passer and a good defender of 2 guards, but he cannot shoot and he cannot defend fast pg’s. If I were the Clips, similar somewhat to the Lakers, I’d trade my young overhyped unknown for a veteran, hall-of-fame caliber player.

  15. Notwithstanding Houston’s two losses to the Lakers, this team, IF (that being the operative word) T-Mac can return healthy, this team looks tough with Yao playing the way he is.

    Could it be also that Smush played extra hard because he was going up against another NYC streetball legend (Skip), or does he bring this defensive intensity against guys like guys like Jose Calderon and Luke Ridnour?

  16. 10 – The scoring title goes to the player with the most ppg who is also a qualified leader. I believe that a qualified leader is any player who has played in 85% of his team’s games, but that is merely based on the fact that Yahoo defines a qualified leader in that manner. I could not find anything on nba.com to corroborate yahoo’s definition.