Thursday, May 7, 2009

Lakers vs Rockets - Things Are Heating Up!

Game one: This was a cold shooting error filled game with the Lakers playing like they had this series already won. Someone forgot to tell the Rockets and they caught the Lakers with their pants down. Yao Ming was a problem matchup for the Lakers as I predicted and he burned them. And Andrew Bynum did get into early foul trouble once again. Ron Artest scored 21 points, Yao had 28, and Aaron Brooks scored 19 to lead Houston. Poor free throw shooting and turnovers via ball-handling mistakes probably cost the Lakers game one, along with the home court advantage.

Game two: This was a completely different story. The Lakers came out running and Yao quickly got into foul trouble trying to keep up with Pau Gasol. Lamar Odom started in place of Bynum and the Lakers jumped on the Rockets early. But...the Lakers have a bad tendency to give up leads and last night was no different. After leading in the first quarter the Lakers fell in love with the three-point shot and ended up tied at 57-57 at the half-time buzzer. The second half showed an entirely different Laker team. Not usually known for playing a physical type of game, the Lakers got rough. In times past the Lakers would tend to fold when challenged with force. This time they fought back. Derek Fisher was ejected (rightly so) for a flagrant foul on Scola and suspended for one game. Kobe (a few minutes later) put an elbow to the throat of Ron Artest while fighting for a rebound. The officials missed that one. In retaliation Ron Artest subsequently charged Kobe and gave him a verbal warning about rough play resulting in Artest being tossed. He should have been given a Technical and nothing more. Anyway, the Lakers got tough and ended up with a win.

Game three: With Jordan Farmar starting in place of Derek Fisher we got much better play last night from the Laker starters. Better free throw shooting and three-point shooting. I expected things to get dirty but surprisingly the game was a hard fought and clean game. The Rockets looked flat. Artest couldn't buy a three point shot in the first three quarters. Once again, Artest got tossed. He fouled Pau Gasol on a drive that should have just been a clean, but hard foul. At the very worst a continuation basket. The referees are obviously making an effort to take control of a series that was starting to get out of hand. The Lakers win and take back the home-court advantage. Game four is Sunday

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