Game 50 Preview: Houston Rockets vs. Los Angeles Lakers

I love playing the Lakers when they're pissed. It's just great to get a team desperate for a win. Especially when they have one of the best players of all time. And a bigger height advantage than any other team over the Rockets.

I love playing Phil Jackson. The guy is a huge tool, and Rick can't seem to beat him. I love the scores of "Rockets" fans who will check out the blog tonight. I loved them when we played the Lakers two years ago in the Western Conference Semifinals. Aren't bandwagon fans the best?

I really like the Lakers fans who believe they don't get any calls since NBA officials don't want to seem biased in their favor. Yeah, the officials really swallowed their whistles in that Kings-Lakers series. There were only 27 foul shots during the entire series. My mistake. It was 27 free throws by the Lakers in game six. In the fourth quarter. That can't be right. I mean, David Stern never said that his dream Finals matchup was Lakers vs. Lakers. Oh wait, yes he did.

/sarcasm

I take a ton of crap for the Rockets winning titles when Michael Jordan was playing baseball. I read all the time that those championships shouldn't count. Or that the Bulls would have killed the Rockets in the Finals had Jordan been there. And Scottie would have shut down Drexler. And that Robert Horry isn't a complete basketball player.

Well, the Lakers won that series when they shouldn't have. Tim Donaghy has been proven more and more right over the last couple of years, and anyone who watched that series knows the fix was on for game 6. This isn't meant to insult Lakers fans. Not in the slightest. Rather, it's to ask why we always get no credit for those titles yet we talk about how dominant those three Lakers teams were. Oh, and Robert Horry was on both teams. Just thought I'd add that for you, Dave.

In my defense, I like the Lakers infinitely more than the Celtics. Or the Jazz. But the Jazzholes are tomorrow. We can't get caught looking ahead.

Update: Andrew Bynum will not play. So assume Odom starts at the power forward and Pau Gasol at center. Pau still holds the advantage, and Odom/Scola is slightly in Scola's favor. Bench goes to the Rockets now, hopefully. Here's a link for those of you who want one.

Matchups

Matchups:

PG: Kyle Lowry vs. Derek Fisher

I know that people always blast Fisher, and that's fine. He's old. He's slow. He's not a great passer. All of those are true. But he's like their version of Chuck Hayes to some extent. He hustles, he's a leader, and he'll win you a few games when no one else really wants to step up.

That being said, AB and Lowry should eat him alive tonight.

Advantage: Rockets

SG: Kevin Martin vs. Kobe Bryant

Bryant's stats are a little down from last year, but not by much. Oh wait, he's averaging five minutes fewer per game and hardly practicing anymore. It seems that Phil is just saving him for the playoffs. That makes sense. Kobe has been in the league for 15 years, and they need him for the playoffs, not for the season. The only issue is that it might be possible that the Lakers will only have homecourt advantage for the first round of the playoffs.

Advantage: Lakers

SF: Shane Battier vs. Ron Artest:

Rick Reilly wrote a cool "Day in the Life" piece on Ron earlier this season. It made Ron-Ron seem normal and actually made him endearing. Here's the link. Check it out.

That being said, I hope he gets killed tonight. I hope K-Mart opens a can on Ron and he goes something like 4-13 from the field. The Rockets want Ron taking several shots tonight. Because the other four starters, and everyone off the bench except for Walton can score and shoot very well.

Advantage: Rockets

PF: Luis Scola vs. Pau Gasol (Now Lamar Odom)

The best power forward in the NBA squares off against Pau Gasol tonight. Oh, I kid. Gasol is a beast, and he's a great passer, and blah blah blah. I know he's good. You know he's good. So that's it then, huh?

Advantage: Lakers

C: Chuck Hayes vs. Andrew Bynum (Now Pau Gasol):

Bynum is officially "questionable" for this game, because he injured himself in the third quarter against the Celtics. He came back and played in the fourth quarter, so I expect him to play.

He's tall, if you hadn't noticed.

Advantage: Lakers

---

Bench:

Lakers: Steve Blake, Shannon Brown, Luke Walton, Lamar Odom

Rockets: Aaron Brooks, Courtney Lee (questionable), Chase Budinger, Jordan Hill, Patrick Patterson

Advantage: Right now, Lamar Odom has the advantage

Injuries:

Lakers: Matt Barnes out, Bynum out

Rockets: Brad Miller out, Courtney Lee questionable (flu)

Prediction: Rockets lose by 15.

Rockets vs Lakers coverage

Silver Screen and Roll

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