Lakers/Rox Game 2 Recap
Ejections and equilibrium at Staples.
– Things I never thought I’d write: I took the train to the Lakers game. You can take the New Yorker out of New York but you can’t take New York out of the New Yorker.
– A DJ spins 2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted outside the arena. Kobe is obviously Pac. I’d like to say LeBron is Snoop, but that doesn’t work on multiple levels. I could go with the whole “he’ll still be standing when all is said and done”, but that’s just not nice. Somewhat related, Ron Artest is number 96.
– The Staples Center is cavernous, but not in an offensive, unintimate way. The lower bowl seats push back without rising too high off the floor. The dimness that you see on television is also very real. There’s something very theatrical about lighting up the floor while leaving the rest of the seats somewhat in the dark.
– The pregame theatrics are shown on a giant sheet (or something sheet-like) that’s dropped to the floor and hangs from the jumbotron. Points awarded for creativity.
– Lakers go up 6-2 behind three midrange jumpers—two from the the foul line (Fish, Kobe) and one fadeaway (Pau)—and good, swarming defense.
– The crowd is active and loud. They sense the urgency.
– It’s 16-8 after some bricked Houston jumpers, Kobe buckets and a fastbreak conversion by Gasol off a turnover.
– Kobe is 5-6 to start, mostly on jumpers. On a scale of garter snake to Mamba, he’s at water moccasin, emphasis on water.
– The Lakers are shooting 87% from the floor through the first 8 minutes. A Kobe three follows an Ariza three, sandwiched by an offensive foul on Scola. 29-16, Lakeshow.
– Gasol’s speed in the post is troubling Yao. First, he shakes him on a spin move for a dunk, before getting him to commit his second foul on a baseline drive. Yao would have no comment on either of his first two personals after the game.
– Ron Ron hits his second off balance three, giving him ten and keeping his team in the game. A Von Wafer three during a stagnant offensive set brings the Rox within 8.
– A patented Kobe pull-up puts the finishing touch on a 39 point first quarter that saw Bean and Pau combine to shoot 12-16. I’d like to say Houston’s defense has been terrible, but the Lakers are just making shots. Granted, they could be bumping guys more when they try to get to their spots, but a lot of these shots are contested.
– They should stop calling them the Laker Girls. There’s no mystique. I vote for “yellow sun mamis”. Do better than that in the comments.
– Down 14, the most dangerous offensive player on the floor for the Rockets is Aaron Brooks.
– This hustle Houston lineup (Hayes and Landry on the floor together) scraps remarkably well. It is, after all, what they do. It’s fascinating, however, when you consider that the only visible executed offense is late shot clock high s/r’s, followed by slight off the ball rotations.
– Carl Landry getting called for basket interference on a putback is exactly the type of thing Carl Landry would get in trouble for. It’s like the episode of Fresh Prince where Carlton got pulled over for driving too slow.
– Kobe is back at it, hitting a tough shot in the paint and 2002 first team Slam high school All American Shannon Brown is putting in work, draining an open three and hustling back to strip Von Wafer in transition.
– Yao picks up his third foul, purposefully barreling into Gasol after grabbing an offensive rebound. He protests, but there was nothing dubious about the call.
–Chuck Hayes is balling, hitting a floater and getting under Pau’s skin a little bit. An open Ron Ron three off of great ball movement brings the Rockets within 3. For the first time all game the Lakers seem mortal. A nice step-back by Ron Ron gives him 17 to tie Kobe so far. More importantly, it gives the Rox their first lead of the game.
– Carl Landry cleaning up Chuck Hayes’s miss is like a plumber filling in for a Garbage man. 56-53, Rockets.
– Kobe ties it at 57 with a corner three.
– Kobe has stuck three jumpers to start the period, two 15-footers followed by a long one with Battier’s hand in his face to force a Houston timeout. 69-62, Lakers. MVP chants follow, even though we all know who the MVP is. Sidenote: is Kobe “settling” for jumpers if a) they’re all going down and b) it’s hard to get into the lane against the tough Houston defense? I guess not. If your jumper is that sharp, it’s not settling. You wouldn’t go to a fancy restaurant and settle for the lobster.
– Myles Brown contributes:
To: DMorey, CC: SBattier.
RE: Your defensive schemes…
SUCK IT NERDS.
– Yao picks up his fourth trying to draw a charge on a Lamar Odom fastbreak dunk attempt.
– Chuck Hayes with the back tap! Luis Scola with the hook shot. Rockets basketball!
– Artest seems to be alternating poorly selected made threes with wide open made threes. He’s got 26 to Kobe’s 30.
– Chuck Hayes does a nice job of showing on the Kobe double team to discombobulate the Lakers’ flow. Lakers come back and get a 24 second violation. PLAYOFFS!
– Chuck Hayes does a poor job of getting caught snakebiting Derek Fisher on a rainbow three.
– Good flurry from Lamar Odom: he flashes across the paint in the triangle for a layup, and then takes advantage of a 2-for-1 opportunity by getting to the line very late in the quarter.
– Luke Walton and Luis Scola get into it. The crowd seems to be sensing a fight. Why, I’m not quite sure. Luke Walton and Luis Scola will get into a legitimate fight when I’m a green mermaid living in an underwater strawberry mcmansion somewhere off the coast of Iceland. Perhaps in an effort to restore some semblance of manhood into the proceedings, Derek Fisher flattens Luis Scola with a pancake screen, or something similar that made me use the words “pancake screen”. Fisher’s ejected, but not before receiving a few fives from teammates. More importantly, Scola drains the pair to bring it back to single digits. Myles Brown offers that Scola looks like Razor Ramon. I concur.
– Write it down: nobody double dribbles like Sasha Vujacic. Nobody. Not you. Not me. Not Zarko Caparkaba.
– Yao gets his 3rd and 4th (!) points on a late shot clock recovery putback of an errant Artest jumper. 88-81, Lakers. Rick Adelman is proud of his depth.
– Three straight careless Houston possession combined with a swarming Laker defense lead to two fastbreak layups for the Lakers and an 11 point lead.
– Ron Ron gets ejected after arguing about an elbow that Kobe threw at his throat on a box-out. Sure Kobe’s conniving, but getting testy about that was totally unnecessary.
– Kobe gets a tech for talking trash to Shane Battier after a made jumper. I see the tech translation as: “Can’t you just be happy you lulled one guy into getting ejected and lay off the fucking gravy?”
– Kobe goes off the glass to himself on a layup. Kobe Bryant: salting wounds since 1996. Me? I find the footwork impressive. Bean exits with 40, King Cobra, if you will.
– Purple and gold confetti.
– Derek Fisher analyzed his ejection well enough to prove that he should be an analyst some day.
– Yao learned the word “split”. Yao also asserted that he thought I wanted him to get into foul trouble again. Communication is a bitch.
– Kobe is excited it’s a physical and emotional series.