Preview & Chat: The Houston Rockets

Kurt —  April 3, 2009

Ron Artest of the Houston Rockets
Records: Lakers 59-16 (1st in the West) Rockets 48-27 (4th in the West)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 112.8 (3rd in league) Rockets 108.2 (14th in league)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 105.0 (6th in league) Rockets 104.0 (4th in league)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Trevor Ariza, Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol
Rockets Aaron Brooks, Ron Artest, Moneyball Battier, Luis Scola, Yao Ming

The Lakers coming in: If you believe that Kobe is greater than LeBron, why not wear it on your chest with pride? (You have to love Free Darko. Just have to.)

We’ve talked a lot about it in the comments, but if you haven’t seen al the news that Bynum is likely going to be back a couple games before the playoffs, here is your link.

The Lakers have had the Rockets number this year, winning all three games, the last one in Houston to stop the Rockets 12-game winning streak, and the Lakers did it without Odom (who was suspended). The Rockets, as they should be, are a team that the Lakers see as a potential threat and they have been focused for their meetings with them this season. And the focused Lakers can beat anybody anywhere.

In the fourth quarter of the three games against the Rockets, Kobe is 12 of 19 with 37 points.

Finally if you want to think about something else for a while, what would it look like if the Lakers played baseball? Sure, Kobe is your closer. The only question is, what song does he enter the game to?

The Rockets Coming In: Just some fun trivia to start — when was the last time the Rockets won a first round series, and who did they beat?

If the Rockets want to win another first-round series, they need to get focused now — they currently would face a very tough out in Portland in the first round, and they are just half-a-game ahead of them in the standings. If Portland had home court it would be a brutal first round for the Rockets. The problem for the Rockets is, look at some of their closing games: Lakers, Blazers, Magic, Hornets and Mavericks. For the Rockets, the playoffs start now.

Tonight we’re going to get a heavy dose of “will Artest taunt Kobe again” talk, but we know Artest is smart enough not to piss in Kobe’s Wheaties again. This blog’s resident Rockets fan Stephen has thoughts on that and more:

For the Rockets Coach Adelman has been downplaying Artest/Kobe, going so far as to claim Artest is going to be defending Lamar.

The Rockets are making an increased effort to get Yao the ball. Yao is very good when he makes a quick move, when he starts crouching and dribbling, a turnover invariably follows.

The team just finished a stretch where they played 1 game in 7 days and they had several days of intense practice so expect some crisper cuts and more attempted passes. The Rockets are still at the see-think-act stage, instead of the react automatically stage that teams that have been together all year reach.

The Rockets biggest weaknesses are the lack of a rebounding monster, a closer and mental discipline. Against good teams these too often lead to losses.

Their PGs are very young and can get blistering hot and then do the dumbest things.

Ron will bull-rush into the lane w/no idea of what he’s doing, hoping for a bail-out foul. Then he can nail a 3 just when the team needs it-and he is deadly from the 3 when his feet are set.

Scola is vastly underutilized and will hustle and pound you all game long.

Wafer has started to regain his confidence.

Barry is getting more minutes and settles the second unit down. Landry being out has really hurt Rockets’ depth.

Keys To The Game: In the last meeting, the Lakers forced 23 Houston turnovers (and had just 12) and that was a big key to the win. The Rocket young guards can make poor decisions, as can Yao if you get him to hesitate and think.

Pau Gasol had a great game on Yao last meeting, particularly doing well on the defensive end in the second half. The Rockets offense flows through Yao, to disrupt it you need to both pressure the ball and make the entry pass hard, and not let Yao get deep position. The Lakers did those things in the second half of the last meeting.

A few more thoughts from Stephen:

This time around Battier will probably stay on Kobe the whole game, with Artest guarding him when Shane’s out. One side effect will be Artest will be guarding Ariza/Walton, limiting their open looks, but leaving them the opportunity for quick drives as Ron has lost a step.

For the Rockets, Yao needs to be fed often and he has to be decisive. The second unit needs to run, and run some more, and in half-court attack the basket. If the Rocket second unit outplays the Lakers’, the Laker starters will see alot of time and hopefully-for Rocket fans-this will result in dead legs in crunch time.

The Lakers need to harass Yao and stay in the passing lanes. Stay focused, run the offense. The starting 5 should run every chance they get as there is a speed advantage everywhere except PG. The bench has to be competitive.

Where you can watch: 7:30 start on ESPN and Fox Sports West. For those wanting to watch online, follow this link when the game starts to the ESPN 360 broadcast.


287 responses to Preview & Chat: The Houston Rockets

  1. I’ll be at the game tonight, so expect some updates and tweets from me, I won’t be 30 minutes behind on the DVR like normal.

    Also, if you want to pop over to the other side, Rockets-Buzz is doing a live chat tonight. We’ll be having another soon.

    http://www.rockets-buzz.com/

    0

  2. Let’s win this thing!

    0

  3. Home sweet home!

    0

  4. coffee is for closers April 3, 2009 at 2:44 pm

    Hoping to see a renewed commitment to team defense these last couple weeks. The offense will be fine, but whether or not another banner gets hung at staples is entirely dependent on how they play D. If Bynum can come back and give them close to what he was pre-injury, that will be a huge help.

    0

  5. Theme music from “24”?

    I think tonight the Lakers need to look to get some fire back. The play of late has been uninspired , and I think that’s a combination of factors: tired legs on a long roadie, pining for the dog days of the season to end to start the “Redemption Tour”, and some obvious mental fatigue causing some to lose their proverbial swag.

    Recipe for success tonight and in ensuing games: Toss it into the lanky Spanish kid early and often.

    0

  6. Hopefully by the end of the night we are only one game back of Cleveland!

    0

  7. 24’s theme music? “Sureshot” by the Beastie Boys:

    “You can’t, you won’t, and you don’t stop!!!…”

    Really would like to see the Lakers sub out LO early in the first and have him run with the 2nd unit. The 2nd unit desperately needs a cutter.

    0

  8. I’m surprised AI is dumb enough to take the bait.

    The NBA is secretly happy about this. They couldn’t put the Iverson braids, bling, and tattoos “Era” behind them fast enough, and he’s helping them by seeming to be the selfish superstar not able to cope with his declining abilities. Is he still a starter in this League? Sure, but right now, it’s about perception and he is guaranteeing that he ends his career as a role player, or star on a crap team. He took the bait. Dumars and the Pistons wanted this to happen.

    In the post game interview Wednesday night, Kobe was asked if the Lakers should rest him and Pau to prepare for the Play-offs, and he responded, “These people pay their hard earned money to watch us play, I’ma play.”

    AI should learn a thing or two from Kobe. It’s about the fans, not just yourself, and from the practice rant to sitting out because he’s not starting, AI (like T-Mac) just doesn’t get what it means to be a professional.

    0

  9. As is usually the case, I agree 100% with Gatinho. This team has to start looking and playing the part of a great basketball team. Step one should be to focus on a team effort. one thing we can do is varying our defenses on Yao. A nice mix of a. doubling on the catch, b. doubling on the dribble, and c. single coverage should keep things varied and not allow the deadly Hou. shooters to camp out comfortably.

    Also, if Artest is on LO and Battier is on Kobe, who guards Trevor? Scola? We should try to attack this speed mismatch.

    0

  10. 9. I’d lay off the guy. He is one of the greatest players of all time, and definitely the greatest player 6′ and under.

    How would you feel if you had the 5th highest career scoring average and were asked to come off the bench? As Lakers fans we were talking about how it difficult it must be for Lamar to come off the bench (something he hadn’t done since he was a pre-teen) earlier this season. This is Allen Iverson, former MVP. I’d be pissed too. You don’t see Shaq or Nash coming off the bench.

    0

  11. Kobe must be feeling some pressure right now. The playoffs are his time to shine and he’s got a lot to prove.

    His legacy will definitely be damaged if he never wins another championship and this year is the best chance he’s got.

    0

  12. Kurk,

    Yes, he has every right to be pissed. I don’t disagree with that. It’s normal and completely understandable to be upset. He’s a competitor and one of the best scorers this game has seen, BUT he is a professional getting paid 20 million this season. I don’t give a flying f if it makes him upset. He gets paid to play, and whether it’s coming off the bench for 17-8 minutes a game or starting at 40 minutes per, it’s his job. Cry me a river.

    If was going to be upset about it, then he should’ve kept his mouth shut, because now he’s just showing himself to be spoiled, selfish and sensitive.

    0

  13. coffee is for closers April 3, 2009 at 4:51 pm

    Gatinho: “Recipe for success tonight and in ensuing games: Toss it into the lanky Spanish kid early and often.”

    No doubt. Amazing how much the flow of the offense works when Pau is getting the ball on the block. Guys cut to the basket because they he’s looking to pass. Defenses collapse to help out, creating open shots for fish and kobe. Oh ya, and he’s a damn proficient scorer down low.

    0

  14. I think the team is going to put together a great game tonight, they are overdue for one. And go Orlando!

    0

  15. coffee is for closers April 3, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    Ya, AI has been an amazing talent, fearless, and tough competitor, but a team guy, not so much. I seem to recall him saying it was all about winning a championship when he came to detroit. Let me interpret: “its all about winning, but only so long as I’m starting and getting my touches”. All ego and entitlement. Makes me respect rip hamilton even more – this is really his team, and i haven’t heard anything negative from him about AI, god knows he has a right. It will be interesting to see who offers AI a deal this off-season. Couldn’t you see the clips bringing him in?

    0

  16. Oh, the Pistons were winning before Iverson returned. Yeah right, the Pistons were a .500 team. When he returned, the Pistons won the first game but lost the next two. Its Allen Iverson’s fault folks. His aura just oozes losing. Lol, this is joke and so was Bill Ingram’s column at HOOPSWORLD.

    0

  17. wondahbap – I totally agree that there isn’t much room for complaint when you’re making such a ridiculous amount of money. At the same time, that’s exactly the reason that I feel he has a right to speak his mind. If he feels like he can play a full game (keeping in mind that he has an even more impressive 41.44 minutes per game for #4 all-time), 18 minutes off the bench is an insult. Play who you pay, if they’re healthy.

    If I were Iverson, I’d retire too. This is a joke. I’m a 49ers fan and it killed me to see what Rice did at the end of his career.

    0

  18. As talented and competitive as Iverson is, the fact is that he can’t function unless he is able to shoot at will, dribble the air out of the ball, and gamble for steals whenever he wants. He was never forced to develop the type of skills which are needed to fit into a normal team structure. The only time he’s ever been a winner is when Larry Brown surrounded him with a bunch of defensive-minded players who were happy to watch him ballhog his way to 35 points on 12/31 shooting every night. Unfortunately, he and Philly caught lightning in a bottle that year, mainly because of how bad the East. You can’t expect to have long-term success with a formula like that.

    Now that he isn’t explosive or marketable enough to justify the type of carte blanche he needs to be successful, he doesn’t know how to make the transition. I think he’d be a great 6th man if he embraced the role, but after years of being overpaid, overhyped, and overindulged, what are the odds of him accepting that kind of demotion?

    0

  19. Sorry for the double post…but

    Wow, weird foul for all those watching the competition on the four-letter right now. Varejao gets loose-ball fouled while LeBron is shooting his 2nd free-throw. One shot foul. Don’t see that often.

    0

  20. Baron & Ivy.. that would definitely have to be the most selfish backcourt of alltime. Throw them in with Randolph and you have 3 headcases on one team but hey that would definitely sell tickets

    0

  21. 20

    Imagine this team:

    PG – Starbury
    SG – AI
    SF – Artest
    PF – Randolph
    C – Stoudemire

    I can just see the 5 of them now, fighting to the death for the ball while the other team looks on bemused.

    0

  22. Orlando is on a 12-2 run and they are killing the Cavs at the moment and making them look bad.

    0

  23. AI has always said that when he wasn’t able to play at the level of the other stars in the league he would retire. I think he is just being honest. He is a volume scorer, so he is not going to be effective (especially when he is not 100%) coming off the bench.

    0

  24. Many teams look tired right now. Maybe we should return to the 50 game season?

    0

  25. I would not want to face Orlando when they are on and playing like they are tonight. Great d and great play making. Half way through the 3rd and they are keeping the Cavs to 42 with a 34 pt lead. Amazingly scary. And they beat us in both games. I’m glad we’re not going to have to play them in the playoffs.

    0

  26. OMG…ORLANDO UP BY 40 aT THIS POINT WOWWWWWWW

    0

  27. Cavs looks tired, but losing by 40 at this point, only end of 3rd quarter, is just ridiculous.

    0

  28. Who else is watching the spanking by Orlando?

    I really think Dwight deserves more consideration for MVP this year.

    I mean seriously, Magic is the only team that beat the Lakers twice out of the big three in the East. And without Jameer Nelson, a big focal point, Dwight is still leading his team in the East.

    0

  29. boy the cavs are getting murdered, if there was one reason why i would vote kobe for mvp its his team and peronall record against good teams is better than lebrons

    0

  30. song – Simply the best

    Yes agreed.. they do look tired. But maybe 66 would be better 66+ 16 playoff wins + playoff loses = 82 + They’d be right. But lets not hold our breath.. got to pay these guys.

    0

  31. I switched from the LeBrons vs. Superman to the Mavs game. Gotta love league pass. Go Mavs!!!!

    0

  32. Orlando is intimidating the Cavs into mediocrity. It’s a constant stream of great d, blocks, turnovers, and 1 or 3’s. Playing with confidence and to near perfection.

    0

  33. What bothers me about the AI situation is not that he doesn’t want to come off the bench or that he gets paid to play (both of which are understandable) – but the fact that he is only 3 games back FROM INJURY. The biggest stars, better players than AI at this stage of his career come off the bench after injury. If he isn’t feeling good, even as he says he is, he should at least try to get back into full playing shape before being upset at coming off the bench. Obviously, his reasoning is unjustified and saying it’s his injury is just damage control. I wouldn’t expect professionalism from AI, just selfishness. Selfishness to do the PR this way, to not want to come off the bench, and to not want to try and help his team.

    0

  34. When does Brown sit the MVP? The eggs are coolin’.

    0

  35. the jello is jiggling

    0

  36. Just got done watching Bynum work up a good sweat during pre-game warmups. He was wearing a brace on his knee. He was doing a little running, some pick-and-pop stuff out of the offense (and hitting the 17-foot baseline jumper out of that wing pick), and he took one big ally-oop. He was moving pretty well, I would not say explosive by any means but also was not seeming hindered by the knee. These were some no-contact drills, but it made me a little more optimistic.

    Also, he cannot shoot the corner three to save his life.

    0

  37. What a difference in perspective two games can make!

    The Lakers suddenly have almost as much at stake as the Rockets.

    0

  38. Houston games are always exciting. I’m jealous Kurt.

    0

  39. If you want to see a photo of Bynum’s brace:

    http://twitpic.com/2sh50

    0

  40. You know, with Nelson, I think Orlando might be the best team in the league.

    0

  41. seems mavs is destined to be #8

    0

  42. I’m really hoping the cleveland loss and seeing bynum in the pregame will really REALLY focus this team tonight. It’s been said on this site before…the lakers (and probably now cavs) are a little tired, but also very bored. They’re ready for the playoffs.

    The lakers for sure had that cavs game on in the locker room, and are looking at trimming another game off that lead.

    0

  43. The sad thing about Iverson is that at this stage of his career, there’s a ton of teams that would like him for scoring and energy off the bench, where he can dominate the ball all he likes. Maybe Larry Brown takes him down to Charlotte along with Rasheed Wallace so they can all have their nostalgia moment.

    And man, Cleveland got steamrolled. Let’s hope San Antonio gathers its mojo back and Cleveland is still in a funk by Sunday.

    0

  44. holy crap. the ‘stache is gone!

    0

  45. What are those shirts the Lakers and Rockets are wearing?

    0

  46. I like the idea of posting up Fisher, he just better be very aware of the help defense.

    The Lakers are taking kwame a.’s advice and having Trevor attack Scola with quickness.

    0

  47. Goo,

    It’s the NBA’s green week. It’s why the Nuggets were wearing green jerseys last night.

    I like our execution. The day of rest is having a clear effect on our play.

    0

  48. By the way, how many teams besides the Rockets have their center shoot a technical?

    0

  49. I’m not sure how wearing a T-shirt makes the NBA more green? Or green uniforms, for that matter.

    0

  50. Anyone have a link besides ESPN360? It’s running really slow for me.

    0

  51. Kurt,

    Okur shoots the technicals for Utah when Korver is not on the floor off the top of my head.

    0

  52. another link for the game: http://atdhe.net/live-tv-5871.html

    are they using the synthetic ball from a few years ago for green week as well?

    0

  53. http://myespn.go.com/blogs/truehoop/0-39-22/That-Green-NBA.html

    For everyone wondering about the tshirts the players are wearing

    0

  54. Powell can’t guard Scola period. Odom needs to come back on the floor.

    0

  55. 49

    Big Z used to take them for Cleveland if I recall correctly, but I doubt he still does with Mo Williams there.

    0

  56. If Scola is creating off the dribble, that is a good thing.

    0

  57. good team houston but they wont be able to ride scola all night, they need artest to show up

    0

  58. Thanks, Goo.

    0

  59. The pace is too slow, the Lakers need to get out and run, get some easy transition baskets.

    0

  60. “Fighting.” That’s a riveting movie name.

    0

  61. I’m not concerned about the score right now. Our guys are getting good looks – mostly Pau going one-on-one or Odom driving to the hoop – and several of our shots were in and outs. I like what I’m seeing.

    0

  62. kurt: kinda like they did in the first 3 minutes or so when they went up 10-2

    0

  63. The Dude Abides April 3, 2009 at 8:07 pm

    Stan Van Gundy had a perfect game plan for the Crabs. Stay home on the three-point shooters, and double up on Lebron with a big man when he gets in the lane. Perfect recipe for the half-court defense, and since CLE was taking the ball out of the basket all night, they couldn’t get Lebron going in transition. On defense, CLE couldn’t keep Hedo and Alston out of the paint, which led to wide-open jumpers when ORL kicked out to the shooters then reversed the ball.

    0

  64. Sasha’s last two shots were off the dribble (one going left, he got fouled, and the pujit). The catch-and-shoot guy just seems gone. He was good at that.

    0

  65. I hate complaining about the refs, but this is terribly inconsistent officiating.

    On a positive note, beautiful drive and pass by Sasha.

    0

  66. The machine is broken.

    0

  67. Dude, do you think Orlando could take them in a seven game series?

    Lakers shooting just 40% eFG% so far. You have to think that will improve.

    0

  68. DJ’s attempt to make a hook shot is painful.

    0

  69. Before the game, DJ spent a lot of time shooting from two spots on the court, that one he just made from 15 and the spot for the high pick-and-pop.

    0

  70. The Dude Abides April 3, 2009 at 8:19 pm

    Not the jump hook DJ! Nooooo!!!

    0

  71. That was a terrible hook by Mbenga. Not his game.

    0

  72. Did Mbenga just airball a jump-hook?

    0

  73. There’s a shot DJ can make.

    0

  74. That’s more like it DJ.

    0

  75. DJ just made up for those bad shots.

    0

  76. defence is wining this game

    0

  77. The Dude Abides April 3, 2009 at 8:22 pm

    68. Kurt, I believe if ORL keeps that same game plan for an entire series against the Crabs, they can beat them.

    If DJ would stick to shooting face-up jumpers and catching and dunking, he would be a credible backup center on offense. Lose that hook during the games…

    0

  78. DJ! That’s his shot.

    0

  79. Mbenga is taking over!!!!!

    0

  80. Are we saying Mbenga Time?

    0

  81. Yao’s stamina (or lackthereof) will be a key tonight. As great as Yao is, his (comparably) weak edurance will cut down time which he could use to hurt other teams.

    And lol Mbenga, just shoot it as a jumpshot, please, even if it’s a 8 footer. Love his effort and production so far.

    0

  82. The Dude Abides April 3, 2009 at 8:28 pm

    Good defense of the rim by DJ. Just stick to the jumper, no running floaters.

    0

  83. Luke keeps on catching the ball while wide open, hesitating, then putting up the J. no wonder he’s missing…

    0

  84. powell and dj think they are robinson and duncan all of sudden, stick to the basics guys

    0

  85. Dj getting back to basics of his game, doing what he does well, dunks, jumpers and blocks. DJ is not broken.

    0

  86. The Dude Abides April 3, 2009 at 8:31 pm

    That Quiznos commercial is disturbing.

    0

  87. kurt, we should call it: Mbenga MTime.

    Also, asked you this on twitter but, “what’s with the complaining tonight? are the calls really bad, or we just being whiners so far? give us the in-person opinion.

    0

  88. Feels good to see Kobe making 3s again.

    0

  89. @87
    It used to be more disturbing. They edited it significantly.

    0

  90. Will this ignite Kobe? Threes like that usually do.

    0

  91. Fisher with the good decision in transition. Things are looking up!

    0

  92. The Dude Abides April 3, 2009 at 8:33 pm

    Awesome three by Kobe with Battier’s hand right in his face. And Fish with the transition decision!

    0

  93. Perfect pass by Fisher…thats what he needs to be doing off a fast break. He just needs to remain a jump shooter and stay away from driving to the lane.

    0

  94. Jesse, ask me again in the second half on the refs. I have been banished to the upper press area at Staples and am too far away to give any good insight on that. I’m trying to steal an ESPN seat down lower for the second half.

    0

  95. Pau is really struggling with the face up game tonight…though to his credit, he’s been stuck in bad clock situations a few times.

    0

  96. Yao’s length is bothering Pau. He needs to take him out closer to the arc with the P&R or his midrange shot.

    0

  97. If Yao hits that shot, more power to him.

    0

  98. How many straight games have we given up a 3 to end a quarter?

    0

  99. i’m fine giving artest that shot – the more time spends thinking he’s hot from outside, the better.

    0

  100. the homoeroticism of those quiznos commercials is hilarious.

    0

  101. haha. good luck kurt. theres no way that j a adande fella needs his seat…

    0

  102. The Dude Abides April 3, 2009 at 8:50 pm

    The Suns are still alive! DAL lost in MEM, and the Jazz? lost at home to Minny.

    0

  103. Shirt of the night: “Mbanging with Mbenga.” A few people have them.

    0

  104. the refs are KILLING us

    0

  105. Houston is obliging us by choking at the line.

    0

  106. This is the kind of ugly, shirt grabbing, slow it down, game that the Rockets want. The fact the Lakers are still in it without their big banging center makes me confident if we meet them again.

    Still, have to win tonight if you’re serious about HCA.

    0

  107. The Dude Abides April 3, 2009 at 9:08 pm

    The “Why Squirrel Hate Me” commercial is much more enjoyable, OTOH.

    If LO picks up his fourth, this is where PJ could try DJ on Yao, and Pau switching to the four. I don’t think that will happen, though.

    0

  108. Come the playoffs, that skip strong to weak pass for the corner three is something everyone is going to run on us. A lot.

    0

  109. Beautiful block by Ariza. Great effort play.

    0

  110. The Dude Abides April 3, 2009 at 9:10 pm

    That dweeb sitting next to Jack missed Kobe’s dunk. Serves you right, dweeb for sitting courtside and texting.

    0

  111. Run the floor, good things happen.

    0

  112. This is the type of run I love to see. Creating chaos on the defensive end and moving the ball & attacking the rim on the offensive end.

    0

  113. Great run. Kobe dunk, good defensive stand, Kobe kick to Trevor for 3, good defensive stand, Trevor to a streaking beating Yao up the court Pau.

    0

  114. kobe is playing the type of measured, controlled game that makes him the best player in the league. Not forcing anything, but exploiting whatever the defense gives him.

    0

  115. The passing has been fantastic. There is nothing like being home from a 7-game road trip.

    0

  116. Ariza’s one of those guys who when they make a good play on the defensive end, it energizes them on offense…I feel like most of our guys are the opposite. I like it.

    0

  117. Pau Gasol catches and finishes EVERYTHING. Amazing. It stands out even more after years of watching a certain #1 overall pick fumble passes out of bounds.

    0

  118. Fish PUJIT. Wah.

    0

  119. The Dude Abides April 3, 2009 at 9:16 pm

    Worst call ever.

    0

  120. Horrendous. Officiating. Again.

    0

  121. Wow, horrible call.

    0

  122. Joe Forte needs to puff-puff pass. Seriously, that is just awful.

    0

  123. HOLY CRAP these refs are awful. GARBAGE

    0

  124. Wow. Is that Aaron Brooks or Dwyane Wade out there? Gimme a break.

    0

  125. Wow. Just… Wow.

    0

  126. WORST CALL EVER. Cheated us too cause we had a GREAT defensive stand. ARRRRRRRGH

    0

  127. usually im not one to resort to saying this ….but the officiating has been piss poor

    0

  128. D Fish and Kobe, they both look into it! Fish, maybe a little to into it.

    0

  129. Speaking of Brooks, these last few sequences are making it obvious that he is NOT a point guard.

    0

  130. Funny turnover…

    0

  131. Good lord, don’t watch Battier shoot, run out on him.

    0

  132. The Dude Abides April 3, 2009 at 9:23 pm

    Great hustle Luke.

    0

  133. Dont worry about the officiating. The league just wants to make sure the golden child’s team has the best record…lol

    0

  134. Kobe with a steal, followed by an assist to Fisher for the 3.

    Then Kobe with the turnover, and tries to distract Battier from hitting a wide open 3 by staring at him.

    0

  135. The Dude Abides April 3, 2009 at 9:26 pm

    Seriously, off that jump ball, there was no excuse for Luke to dog it like that and let Artest beat him down the floor.

    0

  136. terrible luke

    0

  137. Dude, Phil was actually angry after that play. A rare real show of emotion from him in a game.

    0

  138. Farmar is getting burned in transition.

    0

  139. The Dude Abides April 3, 2009 at 9:33 pm

    Phil was mad at Jordan, too, for letting Lowry beat him to possession of the jump ball.

    Luke is having one of his shooting funks…and now our second unit is playing lousy.

    0

  140. I like this – hopefully we can get in the penalty really early in the 4th and continually attack the hoop.

    0

  141. And again (because it needs to be said):

    Josh Powell needs dunking practice.

    0

  142. Why the hell is Pau being used at the top of the key to set screens and hand the ball off? Run the offense through him in the post!!!! It’s not rocket science.

    0

  143. Alas, the real Farmar has shown up. Yikes!

    0

  144. Does Powell practice dunking?

    0

  145. What is the bench’s worst shooting performance this season? They’re at 2-16 thus far.

    0

  146. Except for Mbenga, of course.

    0

  147. THERE’S the dunk by powell!

    0

  148. OMG Josh dunked!…

    0

  149. Powell’s energy and effort is a sight to see.

    0

  150. I think you guys are too hard on Powell, he’s like a 50% dunker. Look at that one.

    0

  151. Congrats to Powell on finally completing a dunk.

    0

  152. And Powell appropriately jams it down on the break.

    0

  153. Oh, haven’t seen the bench squander a lead. I’m absolutely shocked.

    0

  154. The Dude Abides April 3, 2009 at 9:36 pm

    Good fighting by Josh Powell and Luke today on the boards.

    0

  155. we can say good things about all of our bench, they all have strenghts, not sure what farmar does well though i have to say

    0

  156. Farmar runs the break well. I think he can be solid in another system. Right now he is second guessing everything he does and it is killing his game.

    0

  157. Who is the clown with Marc Jackson out there? Are the commentators required to know something about the teams they are calling. Gee!

    0

  158. The Dude Abides April 3, 2009 at 9:41 pm

    Ugh. Pau had a wide open jump shot from the FT line that he turned down.

    0

  159. Mbenga is a huge crowd favorite.

    0

  160. Farmar can’t hit an open shot to save his life.

    0

  161. Luke is really good at rebounding given his relative lack of size and athleticism.

    0

  162. Mbenga with great defense on Yao.

    0

  163. Nice physical D by Mbenga.

    0

  164. Yao is Mbanging with Mbenga.

    0

  165. The Dude Abides April 3, 2009 at 9:45 pm

    Stop! Kobe time!

    0

  166. Luke is missing shots but I think he’s had a solid floor game.

    0

  167. I can’t even honestly tell myself that my defense of Jordan a few days ago was justified.

    0

  168. Our bench is 8 of 29 so far tonight.

    0

  169. Yao, because of his size and strength, may set some of the best picks in the Association.

    0

  170. Good D by DJ on Yao. He is having a great game off the bench.

    0

  171. look – all those who are bemoaning our bench’s shooting %, what is the Rockets’ bench’s %? We are outscoring them and that’s what counts.

    0

  172. It’s already been said, but that Quizno’s commercial is not one of my favourites…

    0

  173. The Dude Abides April 3, 2009 at 9:48 pm

    168. Jordan’s compounding his recent poor play with a sudden loss of confidence. He actually had a decent first half.

    I like how Phil is trusting DJ in a close game in the fourth quarter. He’s really making Yao work and has thrown off HOU’s offensive rhythm.

    0

  174. I for one am really glad that Scola is on the Rockets and not on the Spurs. Because the Spurs would be really good with him in the line up/

    0

  175. Just like the end of the moneyball story, Kobe with the three in Battier’s face. Net.

    0

  176. MVP

    0

  177. Hey Kurt, when are you rolling out the “Stop! Kobe time!” T-shirts?

    0

  178. Kobe with the double daggers!

    0

  179. Stop! Kobe time!

    0

  180. I think Kobe has found his shot again. I just think that he likes hitting daggers in Battiers and Artests face.

    0

  181. Funny thing is that Kobe has dominated the Rockets in the two games since the Moneyball article. Apparently the Rockets aren’t able to account for Kobe’s vengeance in their formulas.

    0

  182. battier is killin us behind the ar….thank you kobe!

    0

  183. Joel, not a bad idea.

    0

  184. @178

    That won’t be a shirt. That will be on a pair of Hammer Pants.

    0

  185. thank you wiseolgoat, they’re shooting 23% and have fewer points so i’d say our bench did they’re job. Granted it may not have been the most effficient night for them but they did they’re job

    0

  186. did von wafer used to be on the lakers?

    0

  187. Solid minutes from Mbenga tonight, allowing Phil to keep Gasol’s minutes under 40.

    0

  188. Pau needs to dunk more.

    0

  189. wow…zero tolerance for artest these days, huh?

    0

  190. Has there ever been a fringy horrible player like Mbenga improve immensely the way he has? He is three times the player he was in previous years. The coaching staff has done a great job with him.

    0

  191. Remember that Houston really misses Landry coming off the bench. That’s one explanation for their poor performance.

    Also, Pau, Pau, jam it down when you’re that open please. You’ve missed a two-and-one twice because of that.

    0

  192. Notice Yao is out with the game on the line. Mbenga wore him down, and Yao’s conditioning is not great.

    That leaves Scola on Pau, and that’s a great matchup for us.

    0

  193. bit of a harsh T, i guess thats what happaens when your reputation precedes you

    0

  194. That way Gasol had to gather himself for that dunk (Kwame Brown style) convinced me that he has tired legs

    0

  195. The Dude Abides April 3, 2009 at 9:58 pm

    How can HOU object to either of those two fouls on Pau? Artest raked him across the face, and on the second one it was an obvious bump.

    0

  196. I like what Phil is doing….punishing Scola and forcing the Rockets to make a change if they so please…nice! *Avery’s voice*

    0

  197. Joel-Everytime Kobe hits those kind of shots I say in my head “stop…kobe time”. I guess everyone does.

    I love Pau, just wish he’d dunk everything around the hoop.

    Does MVP debate shift back towards Kobe?

    0

  198. 191

    Co-sign. Does anybody remember him knocking down elbow jumpers with regularity last season? Not to mention he is shooting 87.5% (!!!) from the free-throw line.

    0

  199. Jac – Wafer was drafted by the Lakers many moons ago and got a cup of tea before he was gone.

    0