Yet More Bullet Points - The Lazy Man's FriendTM
- When does a "fluke" become a "trend"? Over the last nine games (playoffs plus 09-10 thus far) LA's record against the Rockets is 5-4. One extra bucket last week and it would be 5-4 in our favor. This recent "dominance" has largely been accomplished by a full-strength LA team competing against a Houston team playing 40% of its payroll. At this point, it would be reasonable to hear Laker fans say something like: "Wow, Houston is just a good team. Hats off to you guys. Glad we made it past you last year."
It's a nice dream, anyway. Instead we've largely been subjected to the output of the Los Angeles Excuse Factory, operating at near-full capacity:
"We didn't have Pau Gasol."
"Kobe's wittle gwoin hurted ‘im!"
That IS sad. Maybe he'll have to microfracture it.
"You guys played above your heads. We were: flat/loafing/uninterested/conserving our energy/oddly un- beloved of the refs/pre-occupied-with-callipygian-Armenian-Americans."
Yes, it's amazing how often these freak wins happen, isn't it? So, why did it happen after the Denver Debacle?
"Kiss the ring, mofo! LoLZ! ROCKETS SuXoRz!"
Haven't seen a lot of LA Trolls® on TDS tonight, though. Odd, that.
- Ah the Lakers. We've played them so often lately, I am becoming supersaturated with Lakeriana. It's much like radiation exposure - it just keeps building, until you're very sick indeed. My exposure level to toxic purple radiation is killingly high right now and I am weary of all things LA.
- As it turns out, I think about Portland too much as well, for similar reasons. But guess what? I like Portland. Something about their largely pleasant fans, and mostly jerk-free team, I guess.
- On to the game. This wasn't the result I was expecting. Not after LA got bludgeoned in Denver. La Lakers came out with manic energy, taking a big lead in the first, and somehow still found the time to throw Ariza's shoe into the crowd. Get a ring, lose a shoe. The cycle of life.
- I must confess, doubt plagued me. I thought the rout was on in the 1st, and that it was going to be a long and painful night, like so many nights in LA have been. I humbly apologize. The Rockets were coming off a tough loss themselves, and are made of sterner stuff. They turned things around in 2nd, played close until the end of the 3rd, where Houston's superior depth (yes, I mean just that), higher energy, and, frankly, will to win, simply overpowered LA.
- Aaron Brooks torched Fisher and LA for 33 points on 11-23 shooting, with 5 3pts, 6 rebounds and 4 assists. Why they don't start Brown against Houston is beyond me. But by all means, keep Fisher in there, shooting (3-13) and doubling Chuck Hayes off Aaron at the 3pt line.
- If I told you that every starter but Brooks would combine to score 20pts on 7 for 27 shooting in LA, you'd be thinking loss, right? What if I sweetened the deal with 4 fouls in 18 game minutes(!?!) for Battier. Big, ugly, loss, right? Not tonight.
- Carl Landry came back to his sizzling 15pts in 25 minutes contribution level. Chase added 11 points on a slightly off 5-13 night, but contributed 6 boards, 3 assists and 3 steals in his 26 minutes on the court, and a few of his buckets drew "Oohs" and "Aahs" from the partisan crowd
- Staking a nigh-insurmountable claim as Best Australian Rocket, David Andersen introduced himself to the NBA champs this evening. He scored 19 on 9-14 shooting, with a stroke so sweet it had diabetics at Staples reaching for their glucose meters. He also did what we all hoped he could do- he spaced the floor in a uniquely "Euro Center" way - pulling Bynum or Odom way out from underneath the boards to cover Andersen's jumper. Call me a hypocrite - I HATE that when it's done to Yao, but turnabout is fair play.
- (Oops!) The Rockets out rebounded LA 60-38 tonight, with 13 offensive boards. Let me repeat that. The Rockets out rebounded LA 60-38. With only 2 seven footers in their starting lineup poor, poor LA was unable to keep Houston off the glass. The Rockets also notched 27 assists - another telltale sign of a lucky win.
- Trevor Ariza got a ring tonight, (in a touching gesture of conciliation from #24). He also got to D-up on Kobe most of the night. This is because Shane was banned from the arena tonight on a charge of Attempted Defense, possibly by order of David Stern, (who must be pissed at Michael Lewis, or something). Worryingly, Trevor had the homecoming yips, and shot bricks all night (an ugly, ugly 2-12). Happily, he also made sure Bryant did the same (5-20). Without the "No D on Kobe" whistles and ensuing tissue-soft D, it's debatable whether Kobe would have broken double figures scoring tonight. Double digits are probably inevitable with Bryant, but a nine point night was in the cards tonight, at least. Trevor also blocked 2 of Kobe's shots, and stole the ball from him 3 times. Apparently Kobe's groin hurt a little more with every block and steal. Chase Budinger also played creditable defense on Bryant tonight, largely because he's tall, can jump and Shane was glowering from the bench.
1. Aaron Brooks' new career-high 33pts. The PG formerly known as Derek Fisher is still smoldering somewhere in LA County.
2. David Andersen - is it starting to click for him?
3. Ariza's D on Kobe.
1. 18 minutes and 4 fouls on Battier. I saw 2 fouls. This "No D on Kobe" stuff is getting out of hand. Big 3 pointer by Shane in some the few minutes he saw, though.
2. Ron Artest throws Ariza's shoe into the crowd. I admit it's funny, but it's also kind of cheap. He also continues to take shots within the LA system, and make them with distressing frequency against us. What happened to that Ol'Brickslinger we knew (and once loved)?
3. Sasha Vujacic appears not to have been devoured by weasels.