Friday, May 1, 2009

Lakers Vs Rockets - It's On!

This should be a very good series. The match-ups are interesting to say the least. In March the Lakers played the Rockets and Kobe and Ron Artest got into a trash talking exchange. Well after that, a pissed off Kobe torched Artest for thirty-one points in the second half. If there's one thing special about Kobe Bryant it's his competitive spirit. He can and will take over a game if need be - or if he gets angry as he did with Artest. In seasons past it was often necessary for Kobe to do so. Now that the Lakers have a great starting five and probably the deepest bench in the NBA the load can and will be spread around.

The match-up at Center should be intriguing. Who's gonna guard Yao Ming? Paul Gasol has the quickness but not the strength. If it's Andrew Bynum will he get into foul trouble as he did in the Utah series? How about Lamar Odom? Lamar has the speed AND strength but he often gets into early foul trouble too. The Lakers do have several options at Center. All three big men (Gasol, Bynum, Odom) can play Center or Power Forward, although Andrew Bynum is a true Center. It gives the Lakers a lot of versatility.

Trevor Ariza is really coming into his own as a Laker and he's been a pleasure to watch. The same can be said about Josh Powell and Jordan Farmar. They have all really matured this season and are key players. As of now Luke Walton is injured so he may not be a factor.

There will be some interesting switching in the low-post. As in the Jazz series it may come down to who makes the fewer mistakes. Passing and ball-handling are the Laker's weakness. Kobe is NOT a good ball handler. Derek Fisher should take care of pushing the ball up court as much as possible. I'm going to pick the Lakers in six. The second round for the Lakers vs Rockets begins Monday night at the Staples Center.

Home court advantage is the deal breaker in this series - unless someone wins on the road. And, as with with all NBA games, the officiating will always go in favor of the home-court team. That's the way it is is. I have blogged about this in the past. This is why home-court advantage is so crucial in the playoffs.

Final note: I watched the Bulls vs Celtics game last night and it was great. What a battle of wills. The game went into three overtimes before Jochim Noah made a great steal and got fouled for a three point play to seal the deal for Chicago. I am rooting for Boston to go all the way to the finals. They have some serious injury problems with Kevin Garnett being out but that's sports. Last year when they played the Lakers Andrew Bynum was hurt and that may have been the difference in the series. Who knows? Anyway - Go Celtics on Saturday. You have an appointment with L.A. in a couple of weeks....... I hope.


Burnt Toast said...

Greasy, I think I'm going to have to be a West-coaster this year. I've missed most of the action this year, because of work, etc., but I think the Lakers are a dominating force to be reckoned with.

Like you said, when Kobe wears it on his sleeve, he is unstoppable. But they'll have to figure out how to get around Yao. The Lakers might have to rely on the jump shot and the outside game more than they want, but penetration against the Rockets will be a daunting task.

Greasywrench said...

I think the Lakers will go for the driving penetrating game that can and often does get Yao into foul trouble. Tonight's game should be interesting. I don't expect the Lakers to get away with the tactics they're gonna try tonight in Texas.

I don't count out the Celts yet. I'm not sure what the injury KG has and how long he will be out. The playoffs take a long long time so maybe he will heal. After the 3x overtime game the other night I was very impressed with Boston even though they lost that game.

As I remember from last years finals it was Pierce and Allen that gave the Lakers fits. KG wasn't really a factor. Oh's on tonight.