Tuesday, May 5, 2009
OK, I said it before this series started, I really like the way Houston's starting 5 matches up with the Lakers' starting 5. Of course the bench is always key in the playoffs. I'm not surprised the Rockets won last night, but I still don't see this series going more than 6 games.
Houston probably played their best game all season. Yao was dominant with 28 points and 10 boards. He even forced himself back into the game when it looked like he was done when his knee collided into Kobe's late in the game.
Ron Artest finally decided to show up for the playoffs. He was big last night, 21 points and 7 assists. The Rockets need Artest to step up like this if they are to have any chance. Aaron Brooks looked nice with 19.
Maybe the most underrated, obscure player in the NBA is Luis Scola. Your average fan and just about everybody outside of Houston has no idea who this guy is. Scola had a quiet 10 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals. Pretty solid play from a no name power forward. Scola has a real nice jump shot, plays solid defense and never gives up.
The Rockets were fortunate to win this game when you look at the lack of performance by their bench. Von Wafer has really been the spark off their bench failed to score last night.
Kobe put in his standard 32 points but only went to the line 5 times.
Both teams were pretty dismal from downtown, the Rockets were 5-18 and the Lakers just 2-18. The deciding factor in this game was free throw shooting. Houston was 25-29 and LA just 12-19.
So who was the more aggressive team?
The Lakers' major problem in the first round vs. Utah was LA's lack of killer instinct. The Lakers would get up 20+ points and then let the Jazz go on a run and make the game close.
If the Lakers have any weakness, they are way too soft. And last night they ran into a hungrier more aggressive team.