Monday, May 11, 2009
Lakers-Rockets: The Lakers are dazed by the Rockets 99-87
The Rockets got the bad news on Saturday that Yao Ming has a broken foot and will miss the remainder of the NBA Playoffs; the team that suffered most was his absence was the Lakers. Los Angeles came into Game Four thinking that they had an advantage and that the Rockets would give the fame to them; little did they realize they had walked into a trap game.
The Rockets had lost their biggest player and in some ways were undersized and undermanned due to injuries but the way Houston played it didn't slow them down it set them free to open the floor and run.
The Lakers had an embarrassing effort and the team didn’t match the intensity or energy level of the Rockets and took a beat-down. The Rockets came out with a tremendous amount of energy; beneficiaries of a total team effort took a nine point lead and never looked back.
The Rockets destroyed the Lakers with the dribble penetration of Aaron Brooks, playing pick and roll basketball to perfection, and knocking down shots. The Rockets used excellent ball movement and made the extra pass to find the open.
Houston held a 16-29 lead at the end of the first quarter. The Rockets continued to increase their lead each quarter, at halftime the score was 54-36.
The only Rocket who didn’t knock down shots was Ron Artest. Aaron Brooks put on an excellent 30 point performance. Shane Battier had a solid 20 point effort knocking down five three point shots. The defense of Chuck Hayes, Shane Battier and Ron Artest were huge in this game.
The Rockets defense was solid again but offensively the dribble penetration, ball movement and lack of a defensive effort by the Lakers provided the several open shots and this game Houston took full advantage of the space being provided.
The Rockets were on fire and never took their foot off of the accelerator and continued to increase their lead which reached as high as 29 points at one point. The score at the end of the third quarter was an amazing 83-54.
The Lakers put up a modest effort in the fourth quarter to cut the 29 point lead down to 13 points toward the end of the quarter to make the final score closer but this game was already over. The outcome of this game was actually decided before halftime.
The second half of the game was sort of a variation of the same theme.
The Lakers were outplayed in every way and they’ll have to make some adjustments to be ready for Game five which will be in Los Angeles.
The Lakers took a beat down and in the process missed out on a golden opportunity to take a commanding lead in this series. This is now a three game series and the Lakers need to bounce back in Game five.
Photo Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times