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Rockets @ La Lakers Preview-ish

Warning: Not a real preview.

9 out of Houston's last 17 games that count (including tonight) have been against La Lakers. I feel I know them far better than I'm happy with, and perhaps La Fans feel the same. Not that I care about them.

So, what's to talk about? A few things.

LA is still without The Grubby Catalan aka Pau Gasol, with one of those "minor" LA injuries that seem to go on for months. When I hear medical reports out of LA I am usually reminded of the Monty Python sketch where the colonial Brit gets his leg eaten by a tiger and is told things like "A mere scratch! In the meantime, favor the other leg, old boy!". Doubtless Rocket fans everywhere are full of sympathy for LA's sad sad plight.

LA was taken out behind the Pepsi Center and beaten by Denver on Friday - then they started playing basketball and it went downhill from there for La Lakers. Truly, a beatdown of epic, legendary proportion. It wasn't as close as the scoreboard indicated. What does that mean for us? Well, either LA is pissed, and loaded for bear, or they're sitting around feeling sorry for themselves. If it was a few years ago, I'd pick the latter. These days? Probably the former.

Trevor Ariza's "homecoming". The way this is built up, you'd think they named a freeway or something for him. Its not like he's a legend out there. I think he was overexcited about the matchup last week, and played into Artest's hands to some extent. Hopefully he'll be icy this week, and display some deadly shooting, and the high basketball IQ he's known for.

We played a bad game against a team that is, let's say, finding its identity in Sacramento and lost. It was still a winnable game despite the Rockets generally looking ugly. I hope we're ready to put that behind us, and no better way than beating LA at home. Realistically though, La Lakers by 6. At home, angry, Phil has been salting their wounds for almost 48 hours. I haven't see the refs for this one, but let's just say I expect to be appalled.