Game 5 Preview: Houston Rockets vs. Los Angeles Lakers

Okay, so at this rate the Rockets will go 33-33 and win all their home games and lose all their road games. Who do we trade to make this stop?

I know many of you were excited after the first couple of games of the back-to-back-to-back because McHale was playing everyone. I fully expected him to grab Lee and throw him out there for a few minutes.

But that changed on Saturday. Ten players saw time, but counting the eight seconds that Chandler Parsons was in the game shouldn't count. At first I thought McHale figured he'd squeeze everything he could out of his guys on the last day of the grueling stretch. After all, most of the starters got plenty of rest in the first two games since they were blowouts by the end.

But then I read this McHale quote (from this piece by the always-great Jonathan Feigen. Emphasis is mine.):

"I’ve never seen a really successful team platoon and play 10, 11, 12 guys," McHale said. "Right now, we’re playing that out of necessity just because I need guys to get in better shape and it’s just been a short period of time. I’m also giving guys some looks right now that you’d normally be giving looks in exhibition games. We got to get our rotation shorter, tighter and play eight, nine guys. We just have to determine who those eight, nine guys."

Whoa there buddy! I thought you were here to play the young guys. Young guys doesn't mean that Dalembert, Scola, and Martin get 30+ minutes per night. It means playing the games like you did against San Antonio (except maybe not giving Parsons 20 minutes). Now you're changing on us? I thought we had an agreement. This cuts deep, Too-Tall.

Update: AND Marcus Morris got sent down to RGV!

Matchups after the jump.

Matchups:

PG: Kyle Lowry vs. Derek Fisher/Steve Blake:

Fisher and Blake have split the minutes almost 50-50 so far this season at the point guard position for the Lakers. Lowry is better than both of them.

If you came to me today and asked, "If you had to choose one point guard to win a game for you tomorrow and if they lose you die, who would you pick?" I would first make sure you were serious, because that's the stupidest thing I would have ever heard. The rest of the conversation would play out like this:

Me: "Give me Derrick Rose."

You: "Can't have him."

Me: "Well, that's even more stupid than this whole premise."

You: "Hey man, it's your life. Clock's ticking."

Me: "Lowry."

You: "Wait, seriously? Lowry? Not Chris Paul?"

Me: "Yes, Kyle Lowry is better than Chris Paul right now."

And hypothetical me is correct. Kyle Lowry (through only four games of course), is the best all-around point guard in the league right now. Not hyperbole. It's complete truth.

Advantage: Rockets

SG: Kevin Martin vs. Kobe Bryant:

I know Kobe's getting older. All those long seasons were supposed to take their toll on him. Bully that. He's still Kobe, and he's still one of the top 2 shooting guards in the league, and one of its top players.

Calvin-and-hobbes-mood_medium

Advantage: Lakers

SF: Chase Budinger vs. Ron Artest:

Yes, he's still Ron Artest to me. I will not call him that stupid other name. Not happening. I liked Ron Artest when he was here. He was fun to watch and put forth a ton of energy on both sides of the ball. Can't ask for more than that, right? But these days he's not the same guy. In fact, he changed his name. Just for the sheer stupidity of that he doesn't win the advantage tonight. And Matt Barnes will play a lot here, too.

Hello, Chase Budinger. Nice to see you again. Thanks for coming. Um, did you know the season started three games earlier than when you finally showed up? Just checking.

Advantage: Rockets

PF: Luis Scola vs. Pau Gasol:

Oh, this is awkward...

Advantage: Even

C: Jordan Hill vs. Andrew Bynum:

First, the Magic don't trade Dwight Howard by opening night, then Andrew Bynum gets a few games in after his suspension so he can be ready for the Rockets. The only way I could hate David Stern any more than I currently do is if he became a Jazz fan and rigged it to where they won the playoffs while being led by Rafer Alston.

Bynum gets the advantage here, but I just want to say that I'm still impressed with Jordan Hill. This guy can average 10/10 a night. He's got a ways to go to get there, but it's on the table and you can do a lot worse than a 10/10 center.

Advantage: Lakers

---

Bench:

Lakers: Devin Ebanks, Josh McRoberts, Troy Murphy, Matt Barnes, Jason Kapono

Rockets: Corndog, Showtime, Other Kevin Martin, Other Chase Budinger, Tweet-Will, Legit Center, Beast, P Piddy

Advantage: Rockets

Injuries:

Lakers: None

Rockets: None

Prediction: Lakers 99-89

Make sure you get in on TCWHRO (we have to figure out another way to say that)'s fantasy basketball game. Details here. Just make your predictions in the comments, and maybe explain how you came to that conclusion so we have something to talk about.

Rockets vs Lakers coverage

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