Beating LA will be challenge for the Rockets, but I think that this group of Rockets can do it.
- Shut down everyone else but Kobe: Kobe will get his points. Let him, but shut everyone else down. Do not double Kobe (except on occasion to mix it up), and solely rely on Ron/Battier combo to wear him down on both ends. If the Rockets can make Kobe shoot 30+ attempts to get his 30 points per game, then they have done their job.
- Get Yao the ball: This one is on Rick Adelman. He has to come up with some specific plays for Yao. Pau is effective, and if the Yao who showed up to play Game #6 against the Blazers can show up for each Laker game, then this series could get a whole lot of interesting - pretty quick.
- Keep your cool: What has been impressive about this group of Rockets is that they have been fairly levelheaded despite their inexperience. This is virgin territory for most of their players: Brooks/Lowry/Landry/Wafer are all relatively inexperienced, and this is new even for veterans such as Yao/Battier. So, if they play within their offensive capacities, and try not to force too much they can win. I think that this team is plenty good defensively, but on the offensive end, they have to become more workmen-like; Just run your scheme, take the high percentage shots that the defense gives and move on.
- Coaching: If one were to rely on the history, I fully expect Phil Jackson to start whining about officiating as soon as the series gets tight. It is going to be a lot of gamesmanship from the Lakers coaching staff. Let us see if Rick Adelman can coach his team to a series victory against the Lakers in this series.
Slow Down the game:
- Minimize turnovers: Brooks has to play smart basketball and stick to a game-plan. Rick Adelman needs to keep him on a tight leash. Fisher can not guard him, but Fisher is very savvy. Perhaps a small dose of Barry might not be bad idea to mix things up.
- Play solid transition defense: The Lakers would like to push the ball up quickly, and quick transition defense would allow the Rockets (in particular, when Yao is on the floor) to get set up to play Rockets style.