Lakers/Rockets Game 2 Chat

Kurt —  May 6, 2009

Kobe Relax
The T-shirt idea posted over at the LA Times Lakers Blog (and shown above) really sums up my thoughts. There are a lot of people saying the Lakers lost home-court advantage, but that’s not how I see it — of the six games left, they are split evenly. What having the HCA gives you is breathing room if you have a bad game. The Lakers had theirs, but this is far, far from over.

As for what the Lakers need to do, it is get back to their offense, which I think Houston assistant coach Elston Turner described very well in a TrueHoop story (from Kevin) that I thought was the best on the first game:

“Spontaneous creativity — that’s what makes them so tough,” Turner said of the Lakers, as he marked up the board. “They’re so flexible offensively. That kind of flexibility is unique, and you need defensive flexibility to stay with them.”

One of the most insightful commenters here had a great rundown of things that need to change after game one, and so I’m just going to let him have the floor:

First of all a strategy that depends on Yao wearing down is not going to work. I don’t know what kind of ginseng he’s been taking but the Yao of yesterday does not drain that 20 footer at the end of the game and 40 minutes of court time.

Some of the Lakers problems were temporary. Lack of shooting touch, slow on rotations, etc… these will naturally be improved. But some problems are structural. These problems need a change in strategy.

1. Aaron Brooks. The problem he posed was different to the problems D-Will and even to some extent, Chris Paul poses. He broke Fisher down without needing a screenroll. The Lakers have gotten better at defending the screenroll with Pau or Lamar showing hard and recovering to his man. But Brooks just blew by Fisher, never giving the help defense the chance to affect him. Brooks is similar to Parker, a shoot-first point guard who can get into the lane and finish. The Lakers should consider putting Ariza on Brooks who can leave space to prevent penetration and still bother his shot. This would leave Kobe on Artest (Ariza did not slow Artest at all) and create a matchup problem with Fish on Battier but I’d rather have Battier taking up Yao’s low post possessions instead of taking the corner 3. I’m not convinced that Farmar can stay in front of Brooks as he’s not demonstrated this ability against any other point guard in the league whereas Fish is strong enough to hold his position against Battier.

2. On offense the Lakers simply have to do better executing 2 simple plays. High screenroll with Kobe and Pau and mid-post with Kobe. The Rockets are doing a good job defending the screenroll by having Battier cheat off Kobe toward the right side of the court. Ideally Kobe would have the ball on the strongside (left side of the court) and Pau would flash up to screen his man, resulting in either in a Kobe dribble drive down the right side of the court (the new strong side) or being double -teamed which can create the highly effective hockey pass to Odom on the high post and Pau diving to the hole. But the Rockets anticipate this screenroll and when Pau flashes up to set the pick, Battier is in front of Kobe and already shading to the weakside. Thus when Pau sets the screen, the pick is a backside pick and the only avenue left for Kobe is to double back toward the strongside (left side) where the defenders funnel him toward the baseline. This defense is exactly out of the Michael Lewis article. To combat Battier’s stance, the Lakers have to change the initiator of the triangle sequence. You know the sequence that Fisher runs where he dumps the ball off to the high post, cuts down and then doubles back to receive the hand-off (yes picture it, Fisher usually takes a 20 foot jump shot off of this sequence). Instead of Fish, this has to be Kobe. If Kobe initiates this sequence on the left side of the floor, he can receive the hand-off from Pau who also picks off a trailing Battier. The screenroll now is dangerous, with either Kobe one-on-one with a showing Yao or being doubled by a trailing Battier. The Rockets now are rotating furiously to cope and shooters are open everywhere on the floor. I’m disappointed that the coaches do not have a solution for this defense because this is what the Rockets have run each and every game since last year.
Also, Kobe must simply work harder to establish the mid-post position on the right side of the court. You know the plethora of moves he has from this position. We saw this once last night with Kobe getting a good shot in the lane.

On a macro note, some times it is not your night. The 50/50 plays went the Rocket’s way. Someone posted about the team rebounds being an indicator. There were many sequences where the Rockets made shots with the clock winding down. And still the Lakers had chances. I expect the Lakers to win the next game as Kobe should come out very aggressive continue his forays into the lane that he started late in the 4th quarter. But the win would be easier if Phil addresses the structural problems and not just count on more effort. I don’t know whether Phil’s adjustments will have any similarity to the ones being suggested by FBG readers but it will be interesting to see what they are going to be.

Nomuskles suggested in the comments the Lakers may need to give Brooks the Steve Nash treatment — don’t let him facilitate, make him score. He will, but it’s less dangerous. Maybe that’s an option.

But what I really want to see tonight is some made shots.

Kurt

Posts

657 responses to Lakers/Rockets Game 2 Chat

  1. I’ll put this one in for Warren!
    go Lakers!

  2. Yeah I am not too worried. Its just one game and the lakers are the best road team in the league so I they can win in Houston. Now if they lose tonight than that might be the time to worry.

  3. Upon reflection the defensive switch I advocated should be plan B. A swarming, trapping team SSZ defense should be plan A. Channel back game one of the season versus Portland and the Lakers will be fine. But they should have a plan B in case Fisher really has aged a dog year this season and Brooks continues to run around unchecked.

    From Phil’s comments I don’t expect drastic changes. He seems to believe that crisper execution is the solution and not change in strategy. This is partly true. Many passes were slightly late, or behind and whilst not resulting in turnovers, the receiver did not get the ball in rhythm to make a play.

    However, if the team has not made an adjustment to attack Houston’s screenroll defense, they are still making it needlessly hard for themselves.

  4. The question the Lakers have to ask themselves is whether Game 1 was an aberration or have the Rockets exposed and capitalized on the Lakers’ systemic weakness in the following manner: tough, contested shots for Kobe with quick double-teams, open 3s for the likes of Ariza (instead of allowing Ariza to drive) and bodying up the likes of Odom and Gasol.

  5. Some things I wanna hear/see tonight:

    -More primal screaming, less checking for blood from Pau.
    -More “Ooh!!’s from Lamar, as it indicates him driving to the hoop as opposed to settling for jumpers.
    -No possessions that consist of “Pass to Kobe, dribble, dribble, dribble, pull-up/turnaround with Battier-hand in face.”
    -The Staples Center crowd actually cheering on their team and caring.

    Let’s see some intensity from the guys. I have yet to see any of our guys come out with half the energy that Eddie House, Joakim Noah, and Birdman Andersen give their teams. If we come out with that kind of effort and energy, there’s no way we’ll lose any game, ever.

  6. I think Game 1 was an aberration. We have seen the Lakers play a lot better in the past, bothy against the Rockets and against other teams, and they can and will play better when they have to.

    How much better, is the real question. How close will the game be?

    Also, I want that shirt. :)

  7. lil pau, personally I think moving LO to starting would be a good idea. it seemed like every time we did get the ball down to ‘Drew, the rhythm of the play just froze up, ‘Drew hung on to the ball, looked for a way to attack, wound up forcing it up and … well, it wasn’t good.
    and the point about him being about to tower over the Rockets bench sounds like a good way to get him back into believing in himself.

  8. My lovely fiancé is supportive enough of my Lakers obsession to procure me a Kobe-themed cake for my birthday, but she’s not a sports fan herself … after a particularly tough loss (like Game 1) I can tell she struggles to understand why I’d invest so much in an endeavor that can be so frustrating. However, I’m in it for times like tonight: speaking as a fan, if this team can face adversity and rise to the challenge, there are few feelings that can compare. Before the series began I might have predicted the Lakers in 5, but if they can still pull out a series victory in 6 or even (shudder) 7 games, that triumph would be all the sweeter.

  9. It’s time to see the Lakers team that slammed the Cavs, beat Boston twice, should have swept the Spurs, and beat a certain team from Houston four times in a row!

    LET’S GO, BOYS!!

  10. Hey now Zephid… let’s be fair. Sasha always plays with that level of energy. Maybe not with that efficiency, but he definitely has the energy level. ;)

  11. This game is my only study break while studying for the USMLE, I need this win to keep me going. I will be representing hard for the Lakers in Kansas City.

    Thanks for the great game breakdowns Kurt.

  12. I can’t believe how quiet the Staples Centre was on Monday (sorry Sunday night). More noise people.

    Once again, I think many people underestimate the loss of Luke. Phil generally sends him in when the offense is stuttering a bit to try and get that ball movement going again, and he can play Battier without leaving him open for threes (unlike Kobe).

    No panic from this end, bad shooting night, stagnant offense at times….what do you expect after a week off?

  13. @ Rockets Roll:

    I don’t think any Lakers fans here are necessarily thinking of Game 1 as an aberration. It’s certainly faults we’ve seen from the Lakers all year, and strengths that everyone knew the Rockets had. Heck, the NYT wrote an article on it!

    But I would counter with a question that the Rockets should ask themselves: Was Game 1 the result of the better team winning or the better team getting caught off guard? I’m not talking about the better team that night, which Houston clearly was. (Might I pat my fellow Lakers fans on the back for NOT trying to blame that game on the refs, by the way.) I’m talking about the better team, period. Time will tell.

  14. Rockets Roll – I’ve been saying all season long that a healthy Rockets team, firing on all cylinders, was the biggest threat to this Laker squad. Game 1 proved that.

    The Rockets are no walk-in-the-park by any means of the imagination, but they are also not invincible.

  15. Fisher of course can’t guard any PG in the NBA. We couldn’t put Ariza on him…. or we could play Brown more… esp since Fisher can’t even shoot anymore.

  16. I meant we “could” put Ariza on him

  17. I expect this to be a great game and remainder of the series. I laid out before the last game the reasons that I thought Game 1 was the Rockets’ best chance to win in LA. Luckily for me all three reasons came to fruition (Kobes sickness was evident, Lakers were lethargic, and Yao looked fresh).

    I’m sure that the Lakers will come out with much more intensity tonight. I’m sure Phil will make some good adjustments, and I’m sure the Lakers will shoot better. The talent that they have is too good to continually play like Monday night.

    With that said, the Rockets now feel that they can win this series, and not just compete. The intensity and defense that they bring won’t waver during the game or series. The Lakers are going to have to come close to matching that intensity throughout to win.

    The majority of talk is on the fact that the Lakers didn’t play well, while everyone seems to think that the Rockets played close to their best game – they didn’t. They did some good things, but also stumbled in a couple of other areas. I hope that the Rockets match the intensity from Game 1, but address the problems that they had on the glass and with turnovers. I think they will improve the rebounding, but they are a turnover prone team so I’m not sure about that one.

  18. Farmar could get some real playing time tonight.

    We shouldn’t throw Jordan under the bus. Yes, he played bad at the end part of the season. But, if it is true he came back from his knee surgery too soon, he did it for the team as Fisher was playing huge minutes, and they didn’t have Shannon Brown yet.

    Farmar could be a key factor in this series.

  19. I have no support for this whatsoever, but how is Kobe a perennial first team all-defense? His closeouts are lazy, he gambles, he can stay in front of his man when he tries but does he ever try?

    I don’t know. Maybe I’m wrong. There has to be a better explanation than ‘he’s Kobe’

  20. anyone know when luke’s supposed to be back?

  21. 8) chris,
    “‘Drew, the rhythm of the play just froze up,”

    Yes – quicker decisions was something that he was just getting better at when he was injured.

  22. The graphic at the top of the page reminds me of this:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/jdhillen/2848911432/

  23. i am not as panic-stricken as some members of the expert team down in espn. but i won’t take time to foolishly blast at their comments. heck, even if we drop this one or win by a nail, i wouldn’t be that concerned. i also agree that our problems are more or less in passing and should be shaken off tonight.

    i agree, the lakers better bring out their a-game tonight. what team identity are they bringing in? the defensive lock-down team? the offensive barrage team? or the lethargic bobcats cmon beat us twice team? i doubt the third will apply tonight. what i am hoping though is that they bring out a statement from start to finish (not from the third quarter, not til the third quarter). cleveland had 9 days off. they shook off the rust pretty quickly. and please don’t say atlanta is a long shot from houston’s level of play. if any, we played the way atlanta was in some stretches and they got fried. we got beat JUST by 8. so this tells me of whay talent we have. sadly, that won’t be enough.

    i know a lot of people want all the others lakers involved, but i think that will be, should be a given tonight. but i will be watching kobe. this is his jordan moment. and no i don’t want to fire up another debate because it is not worth having. kobe has to own this playoffs and so does the lakers. tonight, he has to tell the basketball world, that NO ONE is going to pull off another rabbit hat trick against us AGAIN. the cavs are a notch better in this effort than us.

    in the end, one game is one game. i will make no excuses for our team should they fall or struggle tonight. but for goodness sake, bring your a-game tonight. GO LAKERS!

    and oh, they should really do something about the pg position this offseason…as well as polishing the defensive schema.

    about kobe being a perennial defensive 1st-team: that tells me something about what he can do (against what he forgets doing at times) and i’m happy with that.

  24. Really quick on Kobe’s 1st team all defense selection. We see Kobe every game and tend to focus on the mistakes or laziness that we see. However, I think that coaches, who sit courtside, see his communication, directing of traffic, and the subtle things that he does to disrupt the oppositions offense. For example, Kobe is great at cutting off angles by how he plays through screens, he’s a very good weakside shot blocker (ala Wade), he’s also a very good defensive rebounder for a guard. Plus he can go into lock down mode – which is something that many other players can’t do (this is also very impressive and memeorable in a “wow he’s really good” kind of way). Does this add up to 1st team all-defense? I think to many coaches it does.

  25. Not sure if anyone’s mentioned it, but ESPN’s reporting that Odom’s starting tonight. Likely, anyway. Walton should be back.

  26. I think Lamar Odom is more deserving of a defensive team award than Kobe this year.

  27. Warren Wee Lim May 6, 2009 at 6:13 pm

    LOL CHris… I just figured that the times Kurt posts this is like 1pm LA time so that means its 4am here :O

    ANyhow, I have money on the Lakers beating HOU by 11. Talk about relaxed :D

  28. Does anyone think Wade should resign this offseason? I guess given his injury history, maybe. But from a pure bball standpoint I’d say no way. If I were in his shoes, it’d be all about being with a franchise that would put him in best position to win multiple ships. Riley’s done it before, but I’ll be very blunt when I say I’m not a big fan of Riley the GM. The 06 title team was more about Wade’s greatness than Riley’s genius moves (for what it’s worth, I think the 05 Heat team was better than 06, and was a D-Wade rib and Shaq thigh away from knocking off the Pistons at their best).

    All I can say is I hope both Wade and Lebron are surrounded with satisfactory talent for the next decade. They could produce something really amazing in the East that’ll be remembered for a long time to come.

  29. I think Darius put Kobe’s defensive prowess in a good perspective, however, there is something else to note. Individually Kobe is a great defender – and this is what the award is usually for. He is not as great in team defense, because he takes on other’s issues too often.

    We criticize him mostly for his team defense lapses and take his 1-on-1 defense for granted. The coaches don’t do this; they emphasize mostly individual defense.

  30. If any of the big guys who are free agents in 2010 (Lebron, Wade, Bosh, Dirk, Amare, etc.) want to have to best shot at winning the title, they will wait and run their current contract’s course, wait for their team to sign other players, then re-up with their new contract. Why is this? Because they all possess Larry Bird rights with their current teams, so they can freely be re-signed without salary cap implications (albeit luxury tax payments still apply).

    Given Cleveland’s current contracts, assuming they don’t re-sign Big Z or Varejao, they will have about 37 mil committed, with possibly 1-2 mil for a draft pick, with 17 million of that amount committed to James. If James waits, his team can go out and sign free agents up to the cap level, which will probably be around 57-58 mil, then re-sign James. This way, they’ll be able to sign two max contracts in addition to James.

    Similarly with Miami, assuming they renounce the rights to James Jones’ corpse, they’ll only have 8 million committed to players other than Wade (Beasley, Chalmers, Cook), so they can use all that money to go out and hunt FA’s to pair with Wade.

    Thus, for the player, waiting is by far the best strategy: not only do they get to test the free agency waters, but they also get to see who is interested in teaming up with them before deciding to destroy their team’s cap flexibility for the next 6 years.

    I know this is super off topic, but salary cap info is my thing :).

  31. Lakers Viewing Party tonight in Chicago….Lakeview Neighborhood…let me know if interested……

  32. Thank God Reggie Miller is the Magic and Celtics fans’ problem now.

  33. As a fan, there ARE grounds to be worried though. G2 is essentially a must win. Going to HOU down 0-2 is not a good prospect with a young crew such as LA. Taking G2 lightly is tantamount to underestimating HOU.

    I think that with his statement, KB’s just trying to relax the team (perhaps even the city); take it one game at a time and don’t pressure themselves too much. This is good, just as long as they stay focused on the task at hand.

  34. Watching Magic/Celtics wind down and waiting to see if the Lake show can do just what the Cs did…come back in strong fashion. I think so!

    Who has a better chance of upsetting the Cavs…the Magic or the Celtics?

  35. Rob L- What’s up! You have brought the playoff karma, we are winning tonight.

  36. We make so much of Craig Saiger, so we’ve got to give props when he comes in with something good. That tidbit on Lamar was noteworthy.

  37. I’m glad to see Lamar starting tonight. Coming off the bench will take a lot of pressure off of Andrew, and that pressure is his biggest problem. I mentioned it in an earlier thread, that he’s still young and in his first “real” playoffs, and that’s a difficult mental situation to be in. Whatever is going on in his head is far more of an obstacle to him than his injured knee.

  38. Hopefully Fish can find his stroke. That would be nice.

  39. i am nervous! it is a must-win for us. go lakers!

  40. someones gotta call a tech on artest for having that haircut

  41. off-ball screen leads to open Kobe J. Hooray!!1

  42. wow, there you go. actually feels like a playoff game now. monday night not at all, the crowd was dead. I’m digging the vibe right now.

  43. I second anon’s motion. That haircut is a travesty.

    This is a good game! Go Lakers!

  44. kobes got that look on his face…

  45. Great start. Scola is the only player on Hoston bringing it right now. We need to put them to bed early.

  46. Now this is how we play.

    Great 16-8 start.

  47. I like this start. Let’s keep this up.

  48. One of these days Battier is going to poke someone in the eye. Hopefully not Kobe.

  49. It’s early, but the pace is for 99 possessions. Much better tempo.

  50. I like Scola, but if he is the player scoring for the Rockets we are fine. He is not option #1.

  51. need a stream…justin.tv not working..

  52. Shut. up. doug. collins. You can still make your quota of stupid without talking every single second of the game.

  53. Rockets are playing to LA’s hand right now. Already 2 possessions Yao has had good position and Brooks is to0 busy dribbling to notice.

  54. Cant double Yao so passivley. If its not a hard double, dont do it

  55. The Rockets are the new Spurs

  56. Alex- Doug has been muted in my house. I’ll let the Itune shuffle provide the audio. Can’t stand Kevin Harlan’s fake enthusiasm either.

    Nice to see fish hitting early.

  57. Did Fish call bank?

  58. Okay, I have to ask: What on earth has happened to Pau’s freethrow shooting since the playoffs started? I’m hoping it’s just perception on my part, but it seems he’s been missing an awful lot from the freethrow line since the post-season started.

  59. Nice pass from Kobe to Gasol. Good ball movement. I like it.

  60. the rockets havent gone far enough or even been consistent enough over the yrs to be called the new spurs

  61. Lakers are on fire. Shooting 85%.

  62. this is the kobe we need! i’d do the honors early joel…STOP IT’s KOBE TIME!

    any links? hard viewing things via gamecast.

  63. lets just hope they can hold on to a lead tonight…

  64. Interesting that Kobe hasn’t caught the ball in the post yet.

  65. If you are going to give up 80% shooting, at least get the rebound on the few misses there are.

  66. gasol’s overall shooting has been a bit off lately too

  67. mohan, that’s the scary part…for the rockets at least as early as the game has gone. go lakers, HOLD ON and keep on punishing!

  68. 4/4 can’t be bad for pau to start

  69. how’s the staples crowd? man our boys need some pushing

  70. Link to game. Scroll to the bottom:

    http://atdhe.net/

  71. My TV receiver decided to reset itself in mid-possession. Not happy. :(

  72. Artest has really been good, I can’t hate.

    I’m telling you, Scola is a problem, dude kills LO

  73. Odom is a little sloppy tonight with all 3 of our TO’s.

  74. u know kobe knows the importance of this game

  75. Fantastic first quarter. Let’s see if the effort keeps up.

  76. Odom has been on the receiving end of a couple of bad passes, and the one turnover he had in the backcourt he never had real control over.

    That being said, Odom pushing the pace has been the reason we’ve been getting easy buckets.

  77. Any post player with a good up-and-under move will get the best of Lamah.

  78. “I like turtles” May 6, 2009 at 8:12 pm

    Is it me or are the Rockets hitting all their open jumpers? These guys are efficient!

  79. Battier’s defense is great – but isn’t face-guarding illegal??

  80. Let’s see if Bynum can get it going against this smaller Rockets second-unit.

  81. Um, wow, Phil is really experimenting with lineups isn’t he. How many minutes has this group logged together?

    I’m glad Luke is back…yup, I said it.

  82. Our interior defenders need to stop allowing guys on the baseline to make that pass to someone in the paint. It’s an easy angle to cut off but they always give it up anyway.

  83. While I’m not sure we can keep up the offensive efficiency, I do know that we can keep up this pace and continue to extend our D to force the Rockets into mistakes. Also, that post play against Wafer is where we missed Walton. I love Ariza and Sasha, but Luke is our only wing besides Kobe that is truly comfortable in the post. He can draw fouls and score down there against any Guard that Houston puts on him. I also like Pau’s activity and decisiveness. He’s driving the ball and crashing the offensive boards hard. And that aggressiveness got Yao out of the game. We couldn’t ask for a better start.

  84. kwame, i mentioned it earlier. The second unit, and even the first, seems a little more settled with Luke in the game. His passing adds a lot more than people give credit for.

    Not a bad first quarter by the LakeShow though :P

  85. rockets climbing back

  86. Bynum needs to hit the glass…

  87. Not a good slo-mo replay for Drew, he didn’t make too much of an effort for that board. How long can he go with this lineup?

  88. We should be able to rebound better than this, given our height advantage.

  89. I don’t like the way our bench is playing right now. Aside from losing half our lead, there is a lot less direction and focus on the floor right now than there was five minutes ago.

  90. horrible rebounding…there were like three yellow jerseys watching on that last play and brooks was the only one actually going for the board

  91. Does Bynum even give a crap?

  92. Darius/Joel R-ha, you guys saw that too huh?

  93. Yea, this Rocket team isnt just defense like I thought. They shoot lights out.

  94. I am not liking Andrew Bynum’s play on defense. Everyone else is playing fine, it is simply Bynum not getting position or rebounds that is hurting us a ton

  95. Odom is not having a very good night (so far) and he’s anchoring the bench with a rusty bynum and a bunch of guards. Interesting experiment by Phil.

  96. Two straight possessions where we struggle to control our defensive glass. Bynum needs to do more right now than just body up Hayes. He needs to find Hayes AND move for the ball. If he secures those boards we can get out and run with Houston trying to crash the offensive glass.

  97. Interesting age chart for playoff contributors that TNT just flashed.

  98. Kobe is back already?

  99. What an effort by WOW.

  100. Why is Bynum so bad? He doesn’t look like he cares.

  101. 4-11 to start the 2Q ain’t good

  102. Its the 4 position for the Rockets that has been consistently scoring on us

  103. i expect battier to get back in soon too

  104. i’d take shanwow and bynum with their bench…man are they killing us

  105. ShanWOW…

  106. Two beautiful opportunities to build the momentum…blown.

  107. At least Shannon Brown and Sasha put in effort and produced some results… not thrilled with the rest of the bench though.

  108. Bynum needs to put forth the effort while on the floor.

  109. @H
    bynums gonna need a while before he gets back into rhythm. he was out for a long time and only played a couple games before the playoffs, and he didnt play much against utah

  110. Sasha is horrible…..just horrible…anyone else agree???

  111. Bynum is disinterested. Is that a word? = no/low rebound numbers.

    ShanWOW is hustling and interested. = steals.

  112. *I love Luke, but putting him on Landry is a tough cover.

    *I’m loving Sasha’s speed and effort on D, but he needs to slow down on offense. That jumper off that down screen was incredibly rushed.

    *I think we need to run some P&R with Bynum just to get him more active and moving. Get him some dives instead of wandering around the block.

  113. #111, Joe,
    Darius said what I was going to say. Sasha’s effort and energy on offense is admirable. On defense… not so much. All that energy gets in his way.

  114. Sasha tries and plays hard, but he cant shoot anymore

  115. cmon! we gotta extend the lead as much as possible while yaos out

  116. I’m glad LO is coming back in.

  117. Uh-oh… is it just me, or are we falling apart…?

  118. The Lakers are being sloppy the last few minutes. They need to calm down a little bit.
    Artest is killing them.

  119. The double teams are leading to open shots. Why needlessley double? Phil is messing up with that strategy. Single cover the rockets!

  120. We’re falling apart because Phil Jackson seems to think it’s a good idea to play Josh Powell more than zero minutes.

  121. not just u…definitely falling apart

  122. Shannon needs to be in the game and Trevor cannot stay with Artest.

  123. Kobe isn’t even touching the ball. Why.

  124. what lead? rockets being consistent and determined while we hit another flat note. our bench play makes me wanna have a fire sale. i doubt their level even on paper now. since when have we been giving them grace to improve play? not at this level guys. cmon let’s get our act together

    artest is burning us too.

  125. anon,
    Somehow, that doesn’t make me feel better… :(

    Did anyone count how many possessions it’s been since Kobe touched the ball?

  126. Make Artest go right.

  127. if bynum continues to play like this, why bother even playing him? We would get more out of DJ Mbenga…

  128. Where is our post game? When was the last time Gasol got consecutive touches on the block? Where is our off ball screening for Kobe? Phil is going to get these guys back in gear.

  129. Apparently neither can Odom- it’s time for Kobe to step up and take RonRon

  130. ya like honestly WHY is trevor guarding ron…ariza i love you but I think kobe should guard ron and ariza should guard battier…

  131. Typical Lakers, they get a lead and give it right back.

  132. painful to watch turnovers on the lakers end, and trips to the free throw line for the rockets. the rhythm of the game is totally messed up.

  133. Zephid-Exactly. This is on Phil. He ran a bs lineup out there to start the 2nd quarter like this is some December regular season game. He needs to cut the damn rotation to 8 or 9 players and let the starters do the heavy lifting so at the end of the game he can run his experimental lineups in garbage time!

  134. Our bench bigs are giving us nothing. Bynum and Powell might as well be invisible; they’re contributing nothing.

    I don’t see why Phil is sitting Gasol for so long. He’s been playing great with Odom, and now Phil takes Gasol out in favor of Josh Powell? C’mon.

  135. Fisher is a liability.

    It is time to hand the reins over to Farmer, for better of for worse. Fisher is costing us too many possessions, and committing too many reach fouls. He simply doesn’t have the foot speed or endurance for his position anymore.

  136. Kobe *is* first team all defense….I think he’ll step up to the challenge of guarding Ron.

  137. Let’s face it. The Rockets are a better team than the Lakers. They’re basically a poor man’s Boston Celtics team.

    Good Defense & efficient offense.

  138. I agree need to put Kobe on Artest. Ariza can’t guard him.

  139. frustrating to watch the second quarter for sure.

    trevor’s specialties (D and occasional 3’s) are non-existent…

    bynum just seems frustrated and lost out there…

    gasol’s postup games are not being utilized fully with yao out of the game…

    kobe is not getting the touches… while

    ron ron is going crazy… ugh!

  140. this could be the end of our season, the rockets want it and we dont simple as

  141. @yes man
    …trolling?

  142. Stop doubling off the block! Why are we making the same mistake over and over. The Rockets 4 man is torching us

  143. We cannot have Kobe shoot over Battier for the rest of the game. That will. Not. work. The rest of the team needs to step up.

  144. Ariza should just stop shooting altogether. He has no touch at all.

  145. #137=troll

  146. Lakers are being out hustled right now. Need to stop fouling and get out in transition again.

  147. Yao is out and we are underusing Pau.I don t get it.Really

  148. bring back vlade!

  149. That s it¡

  150. Pau needs to go strong like that every single time.

  151. now HOU up..urgency in the 1Q was simply gone. wow…

  152. Thats a little better. I dont understand why Gasol is not getting more touches in the post.

  153. there should be a guy in our coaching staff who gets on their faces for every bad stretch on the court and we ought to pay that guy good money.

    our staff is too calm, too quiet (too scientific perhaps?) as is the crowd. we need raw emotion here. hustle. passion. intensity…absent for the most part.

    this concers me more than the rockets. our inability to take the trophy and dominate.

  154. & pau misses FT..my

  155. go in to gasol EVERY possession plz…it seems like we went in to gasol more with yao on the floor

  156. Seriously Pau, make the free throws!

  157. Someone really needs to introduce True Shooting Percentage to Doug Collins.

  158. Rockets PF’s: 23, Lakers PF’s: 0.

  159. man… couple missed shots and now the whole team is afrad of taking shots…

    luke passing on a wide open 3… gasol is being pushed aroudn by hayes…

    come on lakers!

  160. We’re playing dumb and hurried. No reason for Odom to be out that far fouling Landry.

  161. This is very frustrating and ugly to watch.

  162. Excuse me: Lamar has 2, but Landry sunk a couple more Ft’s so make that Rockets 24, Lakers 2.

    Next half we will need LO to be a factor. Both sides of the ball buddy

  163. The Lakers are rushing everything.

  164. this is not fun, we are literally falling apart

  165. I notice Kobe still isn’t touching the ball. Urgh.

    What bothers me about this game is not that the Rockets are in the lead right now. It’s that we gave them the lead.

  166. The shots have stop falling. They need to make more of and effort to get to the rim and not settle for jumpers in the 2nd half.

  167. Walton is rusty.

  168. When people talk about the Lakers being “soft”, the second quarter is exactly what they refer to.

    Lack of heart, lack of effort, lack of focus.

    Great teams play hard, the whole time.

    The Rockets are showing they have that. The Lakers simply don’t have it.

  169. wow, not the kind of result i expected.

    just got back from my honeymoon, and i find my lakers trailing, and already having lost game 1.

    they better start winning now that i’m back!

  170. We need someone who can hit an open jumper. Maybe a lineup of shannon, kobe, fisher (spotting up- if he can still hit from distance), lamar, pau

  171. dont even trip…they usually come out strong in the 3rd

  172. Holy crap, they suck. Not tough enough…mentally and physically.

  173. We’ve gone cold and are rushing the pace instead of pushing the ball and playing under control. Just as Collins relayed from Phil – We need to space the floor and be patient by going into the post.

  174. Or Kobe can just do that.

  175. the most worrying part about all this is that Phil has no clue what to do

  176. odom
    it’s time to freakn step up and do something.

  177. what should not be said of a championship team:

    “they make their runs, and oh the other team makes their run and takes the lead because it just happens in basketball so as long as we win with that drama and a big sigh of relief from our fans.”

    disappointing close to the 1st half of a must-win game. lakers learning the hard way. umph…am still saying this…lakers win this game (convincingly, is now an afterthought).

  178. our 2nd unit definitely seem to have lost their mojo.

    they look lost and afraid out there… as if they can’t handle the pressure of playing with the lead.

    i mean they used to look like they were having fun out there on the court and looked like they couldn’t wait to be out there. now they just look lost and scared… almost to a point where they just want the time to pass and get back to the bench.

    tied game… who would’ve thought it after the first quarter like that.

  179. The spacing was terrible in the second quarter. One play at the end, Gasol, Odom, and Walton were all on the strong side within 5 feet of each other.

  180. Carl Landry and Chuck Hayes destroyed us in the few minutes that Andrew Bynum and/or Josh Powell were on the floor. Both Bynum and Powell are playing with no energy, which is very disappointing.

    Luke is hesitating on his threes. He needs to be decisive and either rise and fire or take it to the rim.

    We need to go to Gasol; He’s come out with the fire I wanted to see and he and Kobe are really carrying the team.

  181. its not just odom that needs to step up

  182. Need more Zen from the Zen Master. The guys are feeling the heat and pressing, which is resulting in turnovers and rushed shots.

  183. i started watching at the start of the second quarter. I can’t help but feel that was partly my fault. Unfortunately for us, I’m not going to stop watching. Let’s hope I had nothing to do with that boneheaded quarter.

  184. Simply a case of not properly understanding the opposing personnel:

    • Don’t rush Lowry off the three-line, he wants to get into the paint
    • Don’t force Artest left, he wants to dribble left and pull-up
    • Don’t double off Scola or Landry, the only way they score is off open jumpers or layups
    • Don’t force Kobe into iso’s at the top of the key where Battier thrives, let Kobe catch the ball in scoring positions
    • Don’t try to beat the Rockets from the outside when Yao is on the bench in foul trouble

    Lets see if we make the proper adjustments next half.

  185. I talked a long time about this Laker team being soft, and this forum simply ripped me apart for even having that thought. Well…..maybe we aint always soft, but sometimes we are. Rewatch that second quarter to see what I mean. Outhustled the whole way, blowing a 14 point lead.

  186. I first got worried when Phil decided to follow Adelman’s matchups instead of dictating matchups the way he normally does. It was one of the few times I can remember him following the opposing coach’s lead, putting in Brown/Farmar/Sasha. That lineup gave us nothing.

    Brooks/Lowry/Wafer annihilated our trio. I’ve been the biggest proponent of Sasha’s playing time, but right now we’re in a desperate situation. We can’t wait for him to snap out of it. He’s not going to get many open shots against this Houston D, which really hurts him on the offense end.

    I’d like to see Kobe pull a Lebron and play through the 2nd half. Our bench is a recipe for disaster right now. If we (hopefully) get in a good groove again, I think Phil needs to play the group that’s doing well and worry about rest later.

    Anyone see Phil with a hand on Powell’s back, talking to him as they went back to the locker room? Looks like he’s really trying to get Powell to settle down and have an impact.

  187. Now’s where Phil earns his contract/reputation/owner’s daughter/10th ring and makes some adjustments. We win this game (and the championship) on defense. Kobe needs to shut down Ron. If we stick with Fish, then I agree with the idea of putting him on Shane. I don’t know if Trevor deserves much pt- Shannon has played with confidence and ability on both sides of the floor and should be in for the second half. And Lamar- step up.

  188. its all ur fault nomuskles!! STOP WATCHING NAO!!
    …thats the only explanation i can come up with to how they can start so perfectly to playing so horribly

  189. Kwame is right in that our PF’s are giving us close to nothing. But the entire problem is the cross matching. If Ariza/Luke/Sasha can’t make shots we won’t be able to effectively run our offense because of Artest being able to limit Odom’s effectiveness and the Rocket’s PF’s being able to clog the lane. Plus, we’re not rebounding well enough to get out and take advantage of their PF having to chase our SF up the court. We saw what’s possible against them in the 1st quarter and we need to get back to basics – extend our D, rebound the ball, get the ball up court quickly, and take the open shot.

  190. 184, we ripped you apart because you never, ever say anything positive, not because you called the whole team soft. If you weren’t a constant downer, people wouldn’t rip on you.

    That being said, I agree that the team got worked in the 2nd quarter, and it is entirely our backup bigs fault. Our guards played fairly good perimeter defense, but the missed shots didn’t matter because our bigs couldn’t corral rebounds.

  191. kwame a – Good points. I hate to criticize the coaching staff, but do you feel like our boys are less prepared? Or maybe they apply the knowledge less than they should.

    I do feel like Phil needs to tighten the rotation right now. Enough is enough. It’s cute when we’re in control and we’re trying to get guys to play better. Right now we’re in a 1-0 hole, we need guys that will contribute. Keep the starters in. The bench is looking that bad right now, aside from Brown.

  192. no magic sauce for making shots. =(

  193. Artest is shooting way over his head.

    Landry and Hays are like Millsap, you need to block them out.

  194. Landry has more FTA than the entire lakers team. Thats not just the ref’s fault.

    Lamar, Luke, Ariza are just not forcefully trying to draw contact in the paint. Its almost as if all the offensive fouls last game made them very afraid to take it to the rim.

  195. This is the 2004 Finals all over again: everyone looked at the opponent, declared them inferior, and then watched that team take a big steaming crap all over the Lakers’ hopes.

    Phil hasn’t made a single adjustment in this series so far and they’re on their way to being swept out of the playoffs.

    Bynum’s clearly still injured. At this point, every second he’s on the floor is lost time. I’d rather see Sun Yue playing than him now, and he’s normally my favorite player.

    I seriously want to puke.

  196. Anon & Bizzy,

    I’m not trolling. I’ve been a Laker fan since the early 80’s. But I’m realistic. What I see is one team with a lot of heart and passion and one team without it. You tell me which team is which.

    My comment regarding the Rockets = Poor man’s Celtics. Let’s take a look at this. Boston is built around their defense and their tough bench. Their game isn’t pretty but they do all the little things from scrapping for loose balls to setting the right picks to free up their spot up shooters.

    Boston and Houston have a lot of similar players too:

    Artest = Pierce (too strong for Ariza)
    Scola = Perkins (scrappier than Pau/Odom)
    Landry = Powe (stronger than Powell)
    Wafer = House (better shooter than Sasha)

    Plus they have Yao creates matchup problems on both sides of the ball (similar to KG). The only player key player I haven’t mentioned is Battier, who actually acts more like a Bruce Bowen type.

    Lakers are more talented but the Rockets might be a bad matchup for this team unless they can get more production out of unfamiliar places (Bynum, Fisher, Bench).

    I’m not a Laker hater. I’m just trying to keep it real.

  197. Hate to say it but VladRad would help now – on Artest and he wasn’t afraid to shoot.

  198. 190) When Artest is playing under control, he is one of the top 3 or 4 players in the league. HE has played very much under control so far this series (and for the majority of the season)

    He isn’t shooting over his head

  199. On offense, we cannot turn into the Kobe show. Again, this is on Phil to talk to the Mamba and tell him to play with patience, get his teammates involved, work into Pau, find cutters, etc.. Patient, but aggressive. But, again, the defense is the key- stops will create fast break opportunities and give us confidence to relax and hit shots on the other end. The offense will come- I trust in Kobe and, most of all, in Phil to be preaching patience and defense right now.

  200. I will take this! The 1st quarter was the best that the Lakers could throw out. Even at the half, with Yao playing 10 minutes – I have to think that the Rockets are feeling good about their chances. I figure it will be pretty close through the 3rd, then the Lakers will turn it on. I hope the Rockets can absorb that run again.

    Odom has done exactly what I expected against the Rocket defense – disappear.

  201. 193. Defonitely, or anyone who could make open threes, what I would give for the Sasha of last year

  202. Chris J – Jackson hasn’t made any adjustments? LOL. Apparently you haven’t actually been watching the games. On the Lakersblog, some are complaining because he is making too many adjustments.

  203. Artest doesn’t even have his eyes open on some of those shots.

  204. I really don’t understand how the Lakers could play this bad. Almost everyone predicted Lakers in 5, and look where we are now.

    Having lost Game 1, it didn’t worry me much. The Lakers are a good road team and (now hopefully) will win one in Houston. The thing that worries me is HOW they’re losing and HOW they lost Game 1, and now, especially, HOW the Lakers can’t seem to pull it together.

  205. I got a chuckle out of Eddie House saying the Celtics don’t use bush league tactics.

  206. The lakers really need a Eddie House type player off the bench, a role player that will hit open 3’s. We thought Sasha was that player but apparently 07-08 Sasha was a figment of my imagination. The Rockets don’t respect any Laker shooters and have basically packed it in and dared the lakers role players to beat them.

    I hate to say this but with Bynum playing like Olawakandi, and Farmar, Fisher, and Sasha incapable of hitting open shots, last year Lakers were a better team then this years team…

  207. Zephid, I have said many positive things about this team, Kobe is amazing, but does that really need to be said?? Gasol has been ok, but as for everyone else, they have plaid badly the whole night, most notibly the bench, which is my book, is now a big weakness for this team.

  208. I just hope that Pau can hang in for the rest of the game, because Bynum is offering nothing out there.

    That was awful, but I have to think that we can’t play any worse. The game’s tied. Think of it as a two quarter game. But hell, this is really a two quarter season right here.

  209. Yes Man, no real Laker fan would say the series is over before halftime of game two. That’s how you get called out for trolling. Simple.

  210. 207–Fisher is hitting his shots. He’s 3-4.

  211. @ yes man
    if ur not trolling, then i think ur panicking too soon. its a tied game at halftime. we saw how well they can play in the 1st. the rockets are definitely a tough opponent that have a legit chance at winning, but i think some of it is the lakers fault just for losing focus. phil using random lineups never used before doesnt help either. i have a feeling theyll come out strong in the 3rd.

    …even tho optimism can be slightly delusional, it cant hurt ;)

  212. We’re panicking quite a bit and I’m sure with hindsight some of our comments will seem twisted by panic and the heat of the moment, so I may regret saying this – but a lot of this is on Phil. He can’t make guys make shots, but Adelman has outcoached him so far in this series (admittedly, their personnel allows them to exploit mismatches better than ours does).

    194 – I was actually thinking along similar lines. The Rockets and Pistons are very little alike basketball wise but the situation is the same. Underestimated, tough, scrappy defensive team.

    I hate getting blindsided like this. It’s a worse feeling than when we were the underdogs against the Suns.

  213. Rafer Alston shouldn’t get suspended, but a fine of say……$25K would work.

  214. The difference in this game is that the Rockets are getting the production from the exact players they need it from considering Yao and Brooks have been non-factors. Landry and Wafer hit shots to close the gap and then give the Rockets the lead. Meanwhile Odom, Sasha, and Ariza have been relatively quiet (with only Ariza flashing any punch waaaay back in the 1st quarter). Someone (or someones) are going to have to help out Kobe/Gasol or this game is going to be too close for comfort for the entire 2nd half.

  215. I think Odom expended all his energy while walking to Staples…
    Bynum situation is mainly a confidence and mental factor. Not sure how he gets up for games, but not supporting the team in huddles and sulking is evident on his face.
    3rd QTR efficiency is extremely important and the series is on the line now…we better start hustling and throwing some weight around. We’re getting pushed around by “undrafted” and 2nd round journeymen.

    Sorry for venting like this…

  216. i’m diggin that pocket hankerchief thing in harlan’s pocket. let’s see more transition and more pau gasol. and a few three’s landing wouldn’t hurt either.

  217. I was going to hold off on posting at all during this game, but I’m just too stressed out by that second quarter! Landry and Artest are both hotter than either player has any right to be! Meanwhile, Ariza, Luke, Fish, and the rest of our shooters can’t get an open look to go down. I mean, things HAVE to even out, the law of averages is just on our side, but I am losing hair waiting for it to happen! Again, I found myself immensely frustrated by the Lakers losing ground when Yao was sitting.

  218. Rockets shooting 63% eFG% for the game. Pace now back to 92 possessions for the game (one slower than last game). Simply, the Lakers need to defend and convert that into points in transition.

  219. Thank you Kurt. :)

    Now, back to business. We do not have a problem with softness. “Soft” and “tough” are lame labels people use when they need a cop-out and feel too lazy to actually think and analyze. Our problem is one of a short attention span. We lose focus the moment things have gone our way for ten points or more. If we could just stop being so f-ing complacent once we get the lead we would own this game by now.

  220. Alas, Artest is allowed to go left.

  221. i dont think ive ever seen artest be so efficient…hopefully he cant keep it up

  222. brilliant ball movement on that first possession.

  223. @ 214 E-ROC, I say you’ve got to suspend him, even though it was open handed and not that hard, Skip was clearing not doing anything except trying to incite some further fighting. I mean, maybe he caught an elbow there, I can’t really tell, but that could have exploded into a much worse situation and the NBA can’t let it stand…

  224. 214. Slap to the head? I want the Magic to win but you HAVE to suspend Alston. That is as good as a punch.

  225. calls starting to go our way…

  226. Good point, Nick the Great.

  227. #225,
    They didn’t suspend Rondo, so why suspend Alston? Note that I have not seen the situation, I’m merely being difficult. ;)

  228. gotta like how we’re starting this half. phew. i wasn’t the jinx!

    much more active defense.

  229. a fisher 3, an ariza block albeit a pau miss…good!

  230. Kurt, you’re rooting for the Magic and not for the opportunity to get revenge in the Finals?

  231. Gasol needs to block that Artest layup.

  232. exhelodrvr — maybe I should rephrase it: Phil’s not making any effective adjustments, in terms of getting through to this team. How many times will they play smart for a quarter, then go completely away from what had been successful.

    They worked the offense through Pau in the first quarter and good things happened (with thanks to Kobe’s hot shooting). Second quarter, they went away from Pau, went away from crashing the boards, and look where that got them.

    Where’s the desire? Where’s the smart game plan? It’s up to the coaches to instill that, and this team has seldom shown that in these playoffs.

    When’s the last time Houston played stupidly? If they get beat, it’s because the other team is doing more things right. When the Lakers lose/play poorly, it’s more often because they’ve quit doing things right.

    I’m pissed now so maybe I’m not totally rational. But this has got to turn around quickly of it’s summer vacation.

  233. dear ariza. your shooting card has been revoked. please turn it in to the front desk.

  234. I think Kobe has come to the conclusion he’s going to have to go supernova for four games to win this series…

  235. kobe burning the rockets… hopefully that opens up things.

    don’t want to see kobe have to do this night in and out

    tonight, he can not afford a cold spell

  236. Whoa there Jorge. Troll a bit more obviously, would you?

    in other news, Kobe still it The Man. The Mamba.

  237. we cannot CANNOT rely on kobe to keep hitting these jumpers. others need to keep pushing. keep pushing. don’t just rely on kobe.

  238. Can we hire battier as a defensive coach when he retires?

  239. If Battier is guarding Odom, Odom needs pin his ass in the post and do work. But Kobe has everything covered. :D

  240. Jon, the Cavs are coming out of the East, not the Celtics. And I hate the Celtics. I wanted them to not make the playoffs. I wanted them to lose to the Bulls. I want them to lose to Orlando. I want humiliation. I want Bill Simmons to cry.

  241. I just want to know why we are walking the ball up after a rebound….

  242. Give the ball to Kobe, his shot is falling right now

  243. like KB said, “relax”, guys

  244. can kobe please drive the ball instead of shooting outside shots

  245. i agree… this is one case in which kobe has to take over since no one else is stepping up. but i’m concerned cos i don’t know if he can keep it up for the whole of the third and fourth. bad things will happen again if phil sits him.

  246. kobe will only stay this hot if he gets a substantial break in the 4th or end of 3rd

  247. On a side note, I heard the NBA cares.

  248. Apparently this Bryant character can score some… I hate having given up that lead, but I at least like what the Lakers are doing to respond. Pau’s jumper is falling some and it’s going to force the defense (read: Yao) to spread a little, giving Kobe more room to operate, and dude is just torching Battier at present…

  249. i’m w/ you on #240, Kurt!

    @lakergirl: that make’s two of us! i say push push push!

  250. The Rockets FT defense has been amazing tonight. Everyone on the Lakers are missing FTs.

  251. @ 241 Kurt – the thought of a broken hearted Simmons is what keeps me going on bad days…

  252. Now that’s how you attack the basket.

  253. Love Lamar going straight at Yao.

  254. Does Yao even have any points????

  255. attack yao now!

  256. That would have been SO PRETTY.

  257. Lakers need to attack the basket more and get to the FT line

  258. We can’t lose to a team with Brian Cook on it. We can’t.

  259. yao’s out. let’ get the most out of this and not the 2Q all over again!

  260. Odom showing some desire out there. I like it.

  261. If the Celts have no chance of beating Cleveland, wouldn’t you rather allow squeaky-voiced Simmons and Bostonians false hope in return for a greater stomach punch of a loss (to use the admittedly funny Simmons’ phrase) against LeBrawn?

  262. odom (to yao): sitdown boy!

  263. Wow Ron Artest is playing at a Kobe like level!!!

  264. Artest earned a little grin after that shot… Of course, Kobe is earning some smiles of his own.

  265. i cant stress how much i love fisher

  266. Now that’s how you go for an offensive rebound. Great job Ariza.

  267. Trev is so good when active.

  268. I was catching up on some of the earlier comments from the 2nd quarter as we were losing that first big lead. My favorite Chicken Little moment was probably when somebody posted that the Lakers were “literally falling apart.” If any of our guys lost a limb, I must have missed it.

  269. Houston is still hitting some shots, but they are tough, contested ones. I can live with that.

  270. That’s what I want to see from Ariza. Use your quickness to beat Scola.

  271. It takes a lot of stregnth to tie up Artest he is big guy, but so is fisher (not as tall though but solid).

  272. cant someone just throw a drink at artest, we need him to enter the tyson zone quickly

  273. Make Scola finish with his left hand.

  274. Im glad we came out good, but thats to be expected. Key question is, can we keep it up?

  275. This is what I’ve wanted to see from Kobe on the P&R. Attack the hedger and try to turn the corner. That’s twice he’s drawn fouls on Hayes on the hedge.

  276. Wow who would have thought that Odom couldn’t guard Scola

  277. The key is our defense. We won’t beat houston unless we start getting consistent stops. Everything hinges on this.

  278. Now that the Lakers are up by a few points, is it time for them to slack off again?

    (kidding)

  279. wow, almost all rockets shots came from the right side (?) of the court and most were misses.

    attack and take a trip down to free throw lane

  280. This third quarter is very much an improvement over the second. Love the focus and how we’re starting to go for the jugular. Hit the weak spot! Hit them where it hurts!

  281. The Lakers are getting to the line tonight. When you can do that against the Rockets, who built a defense around not fouling, you are in good shape.

  282. R,
    Do not jinx this!!!

  283. What is Kobe doing? Rotate!

  284. wow, artest is mighty efficient tonight. he’s been keeping it close.

  285. Wow poor rotations there, no rotation actually. Can’t leave a hot Artest wide open.

  286. what ever happened to that height advantage in the front court when Yao goes to the bench…hmmm…
    And nice defensive rotations leaving Ron Ron wide open for 3’s
    Phil better say the right things in this time out

  287. Has Artest always been a lights out shooter?

  288. Ok, so maybe Gasol should’ve rotated off the stiff known as Chuck Hayes and get to Artest?

  289. That three was all on Kobe and Odom, I just replayed it and they both went into the paint and played freelance defense near Scola, leaving Ariza out high with Battier and Artest.

  290. what happened to the real ron artest?? this cant be him

  291. I must say Artest is wowing me out there. I’m praying something sets him off.

  292. E-Roc,
    Kobe was out of position but was at least helping on the baseline. We were in scramble mode and really that’s Gasol’s rotation but he stuck to Hayes. Kobe was only out of position because he got sucked in on Brooks’ penetration. I wouldn’t put that one on #24.

  293. The Lakers are a half-step slow right now on their rotations.

  294. And Kobe dribbles into a corner

  295. rockets playing with a lot of confidence.

  296. Scola can not guard Gasol, why are we not gong to Gasol on the block.

  297. Look at the +/- and it looks like so many Lakers games at the end of the season — every starter in double-digit +, every bench player in the -, while the Rockets are in reverse.

  298. Here we go again.No Yao ,no touchs for Pau.It s driving me crazy¡

  299. I love Collins throwing a Butch & Sundance quote in there. Right now the difference seems to me that the Rockets are hitting their open threes and the Lakers are not. As I said, at some point that will even out!