Lakers/Rockets Game 5 Chat

Kurt —  May 12, 2009

Houston Rockets vs Los Angeles Lakers in Los Angeles
I really am not worried about the Lakers focus or effort tonight. That may sound weird after the last two days where in all of Lakerdom, the team was bashed for its flat effort Sunday. But for anyone who followed the Lakers this season, that effort was almost predictable. Just as predictable, after a flat game the Lakers almost always come out with a very good effort.

Instead, let’s focus on what they have to do.

• Run the offense through Pau Gasol. In game four the Rockets came out with a new gameplan while the Lakers decided not to execute theirs. Entry passes to Gasol, if they happened at all, were sloppy. If you have watched the Lakers since the All Star break, you know that the triangle offense has run best when the ball ends up in the hands of the best passing big man in the game — Pau gets the ball and good things happen. The other guys need to move without the ball, Gasol will reward them, and that will open up ways for him to score.

• The Rockets are a lot more freewheeling and aggressive without Yao, and they have given the green light to shots earlier in the clock. Be ready for that, don’t expect them to run 15 seconds off the clock setting up. That was the old Rockets, not the new ones.

• The Lakers need to change how they defend the pick and roll with Brooks (insert you own joke here about defending it at all would be a change). Bigs have got to show out harder and use their length. The Lakers should even trap him on occasion — Brooks cannot be allowed to turn the corner. But part of that last game was the Laker guards did a crap job of fighting through the pick and recovering to their man, that opened up things as the bigs cannot hold Brooks off for that long. The guards have to help.

Brooks has preferred passing options and if he can’t get up a head of steam those become long passes that Ariza et al can steal, or Scola and teammates will need to come out farther to get the pass, pushing them away from the basket. Either is a better option than last game.

• Stick with your man if he can shoot the three. Kobe, I’m looking at you.

• Rebound like you mean it.

• Get back in transition defense and be aware of your man (the Lakers got caught in a ton of mismatches this way last game).

• Realize that even if you get a big lead, this Houston team will not quit and quietly accept their fate. You have to beat them. Again and again. No letting up.



366 responses to Lakers/Rockets Game 5 Chat

  1. Do you reckon Kobe, Fish and Pau are having bets on how long it will take before DJ dunks on someone????

  2. Did you see that ball roll around the ring like 10 times and then go in, wow, it is our night.

  3. Are we trying to crush Denver’s record? Heh.

  4. Von misses!

    And Cook passes to Trevor!

    Almost like playing 7-3 a while…

    So, a full 40 pt game now. Can we get outscored by 40 in a single quarter, even if we don’t use any of our starters?

  5. Surely even we can’t blow a 40 pt lead going into the 4th quarter?

  6. its hard to phathom the differnce in this game from the last, all I know is that we are awesome on our day

  7. 58 by the Nuggets was the tie for highest winning margin. Is 60 beyond the Lakers???

  8. I hope we don’t see Pau / Lamar / Kobe / Fish in this game again. Rest them the entire quarter, get the other guys some burn.

  9. yeah, if we manage to blow this lead and lose this game, i’m shaving my head, becoming a monk and giving up all ties to the world.

  10. The Rockets have missed a lot of open shots, but the Lakers have played really well on defense. We have kept them out of the paint, i mean, almost everything is a 3 by the rockets.

  11. get Pau out!!!

  12. why is gasol out there?

  13. It is still important the Lakers finish strongly, dont give the rockets any confidence going into game 6.

  14. Why are we sagging off one of the best three point shooters (and one of the highest career TS%) in history in Barry?

  15. Sasha is trying hard to equalize the number of fouls called for both teams so that it doesn’t look too bad on paper.

    … and he should dunk rather than attempt 3s 😉

  16. This group on the floor simply cannot generate offense. Why isn’t Bynum on the floor?

  17. i think i can say that even i would hit the rim on a wide open 3

  18. I’m outta here guys. See ya next game, which is Thursday. Damn…at work again!

  19. We should get Walton out too, given that he’s still nursing an ankle issue

  20. MESSAGE TO THE OTHER TEAMS: We can turn this thing on when we want to. Just wonder what we can do if we decided to do this night in and out…where’s the fun?


  21. Can you imagine if Brent Barry would’ve signed with the Lakers instead of the Rockets? He’s probably kicking himself right now.

  22. Let the Ammo chant begin…

  23. Time to get Sun in there. It really isnt a good sign for the other team when he comes in….

  24. la_resistance28 May 12, 2009 at 9:59 pm

    Panic time! They just shaved a 40-pt lead down to 30!

    Oh, and Snoopy, from wayyyy up earlier in the thread, yes, there is a Karate Kid remake in the works, but it’s “re-imagined” with a Chinese flavor

    Jackie Chan = Miyagi
    Jaden Smith (Will’s Kid) = Daniel San

    No joke. *sigh*

  25. e-roc, brent could have been the steve kerr for this team. But realistically, I don’t know if he would be even in the Lakers’ radar given the roster sitch.

    Kurt will you have to moderate the overreaction posts tomorrow?

  26. J – The Lakers extended an offer to him, but he chose Houston.

  27. Brent would’ve played the role of Radmanovich at best, I’d think…

    Now, can we close this thing out in 6?

    We’re not a bad road team, but we’re a horrible team when it comes to consistency 😉

  28. all’s well this time. i think the laker got the message. they’ve brough back the lead up to 39. but that is how strong this team is preached to be on paper and commentary. so i’m pleased.

    if we do another blowout next game, at least i know we got the message loud and clear and have our swagger back. denver should be a fun challenge. but am not discounting dallas just yet, partly because i want denver to keep working. though all this workout has been good for us

  29. I think we have found the formula with Bynum/Gasol front court. Now if we can bring some energy to start game 6 then we can wrap it up in H-town.

  30. Is it very sportsmanlike to dunk when you’re leading by… 40?

  31. harold,

    Eh, Mbenga is a crowd favorite and honestly he doesn’t really score any other way (besides a horribly ugly elbow jumper).

  32. and look at that – so much for giving them momentum, we tied the 4th quarter after going down big.

    About the only negative was not getting Sasha off

  33. BCR – I know, I was just being… sour? I should enjoy this win, and seeing the Miami-Hawks series I understand how you could have routs each way every game, but this made me wonder just how unprepared we must have been to be blown out by this team before.

  34. e-roc, thanks. Can’t believe I missed that, I’m usually enough of a junkie. My friends are officially revoking my status as the most hard core.

    Harold – I think he’d be better than Rad only because he’s not as brain dead. Plus being a big guard that could handle the ball. Phil would have loved him.

  35. Before, I had no feelings about The Closer one way or another, other than hating the commercials. Guarantee hurt their ratings with that interview. That was painful.

    Very late comment, but anon – if you think Shane Battier has left Kobe open on jumpshots, you clearly have not been watching the same games the rest of us have. Shane Battier has played picture perfect defense on those jumpshots at most times this series. Give the man some props. Kobe isn’t always open, he’s just nailing tough jumpers (not so much tonight, but in other games).

    That remake will be interesting. Can’t take anything away from Jackie, but remaking a favorite like Miyagi won’t be easy.

  36. So… are we resigning Farmar next year, or what’s the deal with all that?….

  37. Good win. Expected us to win big, but the way we did is great. Glad to see Bynum and Gasol do damage and impose their will. ShanWoW is great, and Kobe shot magnificently.

  38. hey darius, thanks, the link worked very well, and what a great game to watch. I will be up here in Toronto all week, so I have to watch Thursday’s game on the net too. but this weekend, I’m back home in LA, my wife tivo’d these games so I’m gonna enjoy them again! (at least I hope Thursday is a great game for us!)
    now it’s late out on the east time zone…so check ya’ll later! cool beans, love his one fo’ sure.

  39. Dominance. Seeing a 40 pt margin in the final box score is definitely a beautiful sight to behold. I’m going to enjoy this win for sure. Especially after a game 4 like that one. Man, I hope Phil coaches us forever. Beautiful performance tonight.

    I’ve really been impressed with Farmar/Brown’s point guard play in this series. Fish is in no way washed up or below average like some one dude here kept commenting recently. Just a horrible matchup for Littlerock. Combined with the horrible timing of an off shot his past 15 games or so. If I had to pick a pg outta our 3 to be struggling, I’d trust Fish to bounce back the most. So I’m satisfied there. Just glad Jordan rediscovered some of that swagger.
    Odom stepped up tonight. That fall he took sunday was nasty. I’ve felt that Odom’s fall was a lot more harsh because of the fact that Scola was pushing LO down toward the floor while helpless in the air after a late Battier slide for the charge call. Back contusions/spasms are nothing to play with. Bynum definitely stepped up tonight as well. The perfect description when Bynum and Gasol were in together, think Doug Collins used it, was that it looks like they were volleyballing rebounds to each other. No height on houston. Forget us trying to match with their speed. Let them match up with the one thing they absolutely can’t with us, and that’s our huge size advantage. No Yao/Mutombo, means more Gasol/Bynum. Might benefit LO to get some rest for a deeper run.

    Oh and with the help of Snoopy, I figured out who the perfect pg would be for the triangle: Chauncey Billups. That link to the article you posted yesterday was an amazing piece. Billups had my 3rd place vote for MVP this yr. Just seeing his impact on their troubled young studs this season, simply amazing.

    So please no negative thoughts for the next couple days, I’d like to ride this win out.

  40. The Lakers have a set pattern. When they don’t feel challenged they can look bad. When challenged they respond. This pattern holds true against top competition (which Houston is). I think the Lakers win a close game Thursday. I think we’ll see a Lakers team focused more often against Denver because they are good enought to challenge the Lakers but homecourt takes the series in 7.

    Is anybody else looking forward to watching the champions heart go against the upstart. The Celtics are having a great season and frankly I think this run is just one more argument I can add to my long list of anecdotes which indicate KG is overrated by a long shot. I think a series between them and the Cavs gives us 5 hard fought games where LeBron pulls out 4 close wins with the Cs winning 1 game on champion’s clutch.

  41. Peanut Butter Spread May 12, 2009 at 11:21 pm

    Shout out to the Ducks!!

    Disagree with Chuck/Kenny that the Lakers are arrogant.

    I agree that they get complacent and rest on talent – but that’s a fault, not arrogance. It bothers me with these “sports analysts” label teams like that: arrogance, soft, tough, hard-working, selfish, etc. It just pisses me off. Gives casual viewers of the game inaccurate labels and assumptions of teams.

    I’m interested in how the Lakers will approach Game 6 too though. I hope it’s with intensity and energy. I don’t want a game 7.

    Anyways, feel bad for the Orlando Magic. Giving up leads like that always sucks, the refs didn’t help them, but if you live by the three, and die by the three, when you have Dwight Howard, you deserve to lose. Sucks for their fans. We should know.

    It’s disgusting to listen to the greens gloating about the win right now, but whatever, they won’t win against the Cavs if they go to the ECF, unless KG comes back.

  42. On a slightly off topic note, before this round of the playoffs, for that HP/ESPN prediction thing, I really struggled with Orlando/Boston. Do you take the team with more talent that doesn’t always play smart and up to it, or do you take the less talented team that will play over their heads and deal with pressure. I switched between Boston in seven and Orlando is six 15 times or so, before settling on Orlando.

    Kicking myself now. I should not underestimate desire like I do sometimes.

  43. Farmar has played well and made some VERY good passes, especially this game. He saw the open guys and got them the ball.

  44. I have to say that I really enjoyed seeing Brian Cook play meaningful minutes for Houston, and see Trevor Ariza play meaningful minutes for us. Thanks Mitch! 🙂

  45. Looks like Mbenga isn’t just a fan favorite, but a Kobe favorite. For slightly different reasons:

  46. Watching tonight’s 40 point win is a reminder that the Lakers are not taking the first three rounds too seriously. They KNOW that they are the best team in the WEST. Last season, they weren’t sure, as the Cleveland is right now. They gave great effort every night, and showed it by breezing through the first three rounds. They weren’t ready mentally against the Celtics, and it cost them the championship. But this year, they are much more assured of themselves. They know what they have to do. Will they give maximun effort every night? I don’t think so. They think they have enough talent to carry them through the WEST without putting in the maximum effort. Cleveland, other hand, like the Lakers last season, want to prove to the WORLD, that they are the BEST, though they are not the most talented team. They need to give maximum effort to win each night. Actually, the East is so bad this year, they won’t need to give their best every night, and they still win by double digit margin. I think the Lakers are finding out that the West is a lot tougher than even last year. However, they have the supreme confidence that they can overcome any obstacle to get to the Finals vs. CLE or BOS.

    I think it’s too early for the fans to judge this team. If they go on and win the Championship despite having every series from here on go to 7 games, I think we’ll say how great this team is. However, if we sweep Denver, yet lose to CLE in 7 games, we’ll say how we’re just not tough enough. I don’t care how we get there. We just need to win 16 game whether we win them all by one point or by 30. Win is a win is a win.

    Remember, one of the most agonizing, yet enjoyable season was ’87-88, when we had to win three game 7s, and the one of the most enjoyable, yet agonizing season was ’88-89, when we went undefeated throughtout the playoff until the Finals, where we got swept by the Pistons. I’d rather have ’87-88 season result this year than that ’88-89 season result.

  47. Its puzzling how this team can go from blowing the MOther’s Day game to being brilliant in this game. I guess they are consistently inconsistent.


    1) Ariza steal followed by an almost dunk that turned into a round-and-round-and-round shot.

    2) THE KOBE AND LEBRON PUPPET COMMERCIAL. Funny. Smart. Pure Genius.

  48. This was by far the best, and most satisfying Lakers victory of the entire season. 48 minutes of heart and effort. Winners on the majority of hustle plays. Smart passing, great defensive extension on the screen and roll and a DJ Mbenga highlight to cap the night.

  49. PeanutButterSpread May 13, 2009 at 3:02 am

    Snoopy, that’s a great clip! how did I miss that?! I think no one on the Lakers bench got Kobe’s joke though lol

  50. Well played by everybody. Even Brian Cook, for the first time in his career made key contributions to a Laker playoff victory.

  51. A few things:

    1. I’m tempted to go back to the chat from g4 and paste the comments from people saying the Lakers can’t beat the Rockets and so on, but I’ll restrain myself.

    2. The first half showed exactly what happens when we run the offence through Pau. The other team’s big men get in foul trouble, and every Laker get better shots – including Kobe.

    3. It’s great, and I do mean great, for the Lakers if Bynum can build upon this game. If the Lakers run the offence through Pau, and get productive minutes from Drew, they are going to be incredibly tough to beat. Kobe will show up no matter what, and when we run the offence through the post he’s at his best if you ask me.

    4. I don’t always agree with Doug Collins, but I do agree with his statement that the Lakers’ defence feed off their offence. Whenever the ball is going in the basket, they also try at the defensive end. We may dislike this all we want, but the best thing is to simply make sure that our offence keep rolling (again, by feeding the post). Also Drew plays a huge roll in this, not only by the defence he brings himself, but his presence also puts Pau in a position to get rebounds and blocks from the weak side. Again, having Drew in there playing well is just gravy (and let’s not forget that this trickles down to the second unit as well, since it enables Lamar to be out there with them and lead).

  52. sasha and luke are useless!

  53. Dwight Howard goes off on one of Shaq’s classic tirades. But if you read the ESPN article, there’s an interesting excerpt:

    “According to ESPN Stats and Information, Howeard…touched the ball on the offensive end just three times in the fourth period, and only one time in the final 6:50 of the game. That was a harmless entry pass with 5.9 seconds remaining, and Howard was intentionally fouled.”

    Doesn’t that answer part of Howard’s question? Why would they throw the ball into a 50% FT shooter if Boston is simply fouling? Improve your game before criticizing your coach, D12 (a stupid nickname, by the way). Too bad he’s been learning from the master of immaturity in S32.

  54. It’s amazing to actually see what happens when we play with heart and intensity for an entire game. This is the team that we have been waiting to see.

    Now the key is can we put two games together and close this thing out. We MUST end this now, no game 7.

  55. I think this 40 pt win is a little misleading. Yes, LA was the better team tonight, but the fact is that Houston simply missed a ton of shots. 29-89 from the field, 5-29 from three? Some of that was improved Laker defense, but most of it was simply shots not going in. That being said, if Houston had made about average percent of their shots, this still would’ve been a 20 pt win. Now for some likes and dislikes:

    1.) Kobe Bryant, 10-19 from the field.
    When Kobe starts driving, like he did tonight, we’re almost unstoppable. He forced up maybe 2-3 bad shots, but mostly we stuck to the game-plan, ran the offense through Gasol, then switched to the Kobe-GasolPNR so Houston couldn’t get too comfortable. Like Doug Collins said, when he scores 1.4-1.8 points per shot attempt, we’re unbeatable.

    2.) Houston Rockets with 17 turnovers
    Admittedly, some of this was Houston simply passing the ball to the Lakers. However, as we’ve all seen, when the Lakers get turnovers, both our offense and defense really get going. Everyone gets hyped up from seeing Trevor or Sasha dunk, which gives us more effort on the defensive end, which forces more bad shots and opportunities to push the pace. Turnovers really fuel our team, so the more we get, the better we play.

    3.) Ron Artest, dribbling
    I started becoming almost school-girly giddy whenever Ron Artest started dribbling the ball outside the 3-point line or in the corner. Of course some of this was Ron Artest being Ron Artest, forcing up shots, but the Lakers did a great job trapping him and forcing him to pass, something he’s really, really bad at, evidenced by his 1:4 assist to turnover ratio last night. I seriously think that with each dribble, Ron Artest lowers his team’s chances of scoring by like 5%.

    4.) Derek Fisher, 18 minutes, Jordan Farmar, 22 minutes, Shannon Brown, 17 minutes.
    I really liked this distribution of PG minutes. Yes, Fisher got beat a couple times by Brooks, but I don’t think we should under-estimate the couple times that Fisher posted Brooks up. Like was said, Fisher posting up Brooks is like delivering body blows to a boxer; it takes his air. I doubt Brooks was used to taking a beating like he did in the post against Fisher, so I have a strong feeling that it affected his game, 4-11, 0-3 from three as evidence. Farmar and Brown also came in and played great, almost mistake-free basketball. Can’t really ask for more from our PG’s.

    1.) Officials: Ken Mauer, Bennett Salvatore, Derrick Stafford
    I don’t think we could’ve gotten a more home-team favorable officiating crew than the one we got tonight. The Hayes fouls were all fairly ticky-tack, while a lot of Laker contact went uncalled, especially Andrew Bynum man-handling dudes underneath the basket. Not saying that the Lakers didn’t earn the foul calls on the Rockets, it’s just that the favorable officiating helped.

    2.) Derek Fisher, 1-6, Sasha Vujacic, 1-5
    Our top two shooters, going 2-11 from the floor, including 0-3 from three is a bad sign. Sasha’s big brick in the 3rd quarter had him really upset, as you could see Kobe “consoling” him on the bench. That being said, we need these two to step up and start making shots. I don’t feel confident with the game on the line having to kick out to Odom, Ariza, Walton, Brown, or Farmar for the win/game-tying basket. We can only hope they can back on track soon.

    3.) Von Wafer, dribbling
    For those of us who actually watched the last 6 minutes of the 4th quarter, it was disturbing how easily Wafer was getting in to the lane. He was lightning quick out on the perimeter, repeatedly beating our guards off the dribble and getting easy scores. Some of this was lax Laker defense, but I for one would love to see Wafer taking contested outside shots over driving on Sasha any day. Sasha has done a great job on Wafer all series long, so I’m a little disturbed by Wafer getting to the basket at will in the 4th.

    Overall, it was a great win for the Lake Show. Good to see them close out a game strong, finally. Let’s hope this win doesn’t go to their heads and they come out strong in Houston.

  56. Snoopy2006 – I agree with Dwight Howard actually, though his tactics were wrong. The Magic have lost games in the same manner as last night’s game multiple times in this series and in the playoffs for that manner. I get that Howard isn’t a great free throw shooter. Heck, his post game still needs work. However, the Magic were throwing up awful shot after awful shot. Letting Dwight Howard get a touch in the post would’ve probably yield a better chance at making a basket than maybe any other play. Even if he’s making half of his free throws, those points are still crucial during those stretches.

  57. harrydoballin May 13, 2009 at 8:50 am

    Ouch Houston down 3-2. Losing by forty last night. Can they bring it back? I don’t think there’s an app. for that….

  58. my problem with the way they’re utilizing Howard is that he’s the most physically dominating and athletic big man in the game – give him the ball rolling towards the hoop! I’m sick and tired of watching Hedo or Alston eschew the “roll” part of the pick and roll, instead opting for ridiculous contested layups and hoping for a call (Hedo) or ridiculous airballed running hooks away from the basket (Alston). I don’t know if that’s on the players for not doing it, or on SVG for not drawing it up, but come on!

  59. Great win by the Lakers. Hopefully, this game can put to bed the silly notion that a Yao-less Rockets somehow matches up better with the Lakers.

  60. Zephid,
    That is a great summary of the game! Thanks for a good analysis as always. 🙂 The paragraph about Ron Artest made me chuckle. Is there a formula for coming up with the 5% or was it an educated guess?

    Sasha is an emotional player, one of those who plays better the better he plays… when he thinks he’s made a big mistake or when he misses shots he knows he can make, he gets upset and when he plays upset he makes more mistakes, which in turn makes him more upset, and… I’m sure you see where I’m going with this.

    I loved the way Bynum played, with a lot more confidence than in previous games, and Shannon Brown was solid as always. Farmar improved as well, and as a result I feel a lot better about our point guard situation today than I did on Monday.

    Oh, and coming in about a year: The Kung Fu Kid

  61. “Kicking myself now. I should not underestimate desire like I do sometimes.”

    That’s a big part of it, but there are also specific issues:

    1. I love Dwight Howard, but he has no reliable low-post move.
    2. With KG and Yao gone, no one ever talks about Jameer Nelson’s injury–but Orlando has really missed him the last two games.
    3. SVG needs to run plays for Rashard Lewis when they need a hoop but does not seem to do that.
    4. KG is not really a loss offensively, so the impact of his absence is a bit less overall than many believe.

    All that said, Orlando choked and the Celtics really do deserve credit for playing with the “heart of a champion” much as I hate to say it–21/21 at the line alone shows some “clutch.”

    As to the Lakers, Bynum does still not trust the knee–but when they get SOMETHING out of him, they are tough to beat. There were many other reasons they won, of course, but that is one thing I was watching.

  62. Yeah that’s a good point. If they had a legit consistent perimeter scorer, then I’d have more problems with Howard’s statement. But you’re right, their perimeter players have a habit of forcing up low-percentage shots often (although I do remember Lewis was on fire at one point, I missed the Boston run so he could have cooled off by then).

    Goat makes a good point too. Howard’s having a lot of trouble with Kendrick Perkins, instead of posting him up, they need to find Howard more on the move. It’s easier said than done, because Howard’s so big and wide that any player focusing on him may be able to pick up charges. But Howard’s low-post game isn’t strong enough to be a go-to weapon against a strong defender.

  63. LAL-HOU
    -I almost died when Mbenga got the ball in the post, signaled for the isolation with his right hand, then proceeded to take a fall away airball. (think this happened on the other post too)

    -Who needs Billups for the triangle when ShanWOW is playing like Billups right now? Pull up jumpers, 3’s early in the shot clock, solid D. I hope we don’t get caught up in playoff hype and sign him for too much though.

    -I agree that Hou was missing a lot of shots, but as I’ve said and Darius has elaborated upon, the key fact was that we were simply not prepared to deal with the completely different type of offense without Yao. We made adjustments this game, like leaving Hayes or Landry to help on Brooks at the top of the key, or forcing him one way instead of allowing him to use the screen, or making the second and third rotations after a wing had to come help off the screen.
    Our closeouts were crisp early, which led to some missed open shots. Like Webber, I believe in momentum and I think good defense will earn you missed open shots.

    -Dwight Howard was out of line to publicly say that about getting the ball. And I don’t think he’s right either. His only baskets were off motion from set plays or PNR. When he went one-on-one he took awful shots against great coverage. I don’t blame Van Gundy for not going to him, especially when he hasn’t shown he can consistently score in the post. But Orlando went back to their quickshooting, no looking for Howard on the roll, and no passing offense that got them in trouble.

    -Hated the TNT coverage last night.
    Shouldn’t have missed free throws when 6 seconds left and no timeouts?
    Calling the Lakers arrogant/lackadaisical? You don’t win 60+ games like that. The difference was more basketball adjustments than character flaws.
    DH getting the ball

  64. RobinRed is right, I think the injury to Nelson gets overlooked a lot. But they miss him terribly.

  65. A sweet win w/ our not mentally disciplined for prime time players….

    Profs to J, #279, Bynum may be slowed due to his injury. But b’ball is a game of spacing…Injury not withstanding, if Drew can spot up, he’ll block our the paint hard.

    Frankly, I think we can win either way. But if Drew plays smart ball, I’m not sure who can touch us.