Game Notes: Lakers at Rockets
Lakers now in a four-game skid.
by Maurice Bobb / @reesereport
The Lakers are riding an uncharacteristic three-game losing streak. Could there be something wrong in paradise? Phil is miffed at the slow return of Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol seems out of sync and Ron-Ron, well…is Ron-Ron. Speaking of Artest, the Rockets’ faithful rain down a sea of boos for the ex-Rocket. I still don’t understand that. Ron wanted to come back but the Rockets chose to go another route. Why are the fans upset? Kobe, of course, gets his requisite heckles as he’s introduced.
Houston starting lineup: Luis Scola, Shane Battier, Chuck Hayes, Kyle Lowry and Kevin Martin. Lakers’ starting lineup: Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom, Ron Artest, Derek Fisher and Kobe Bryant. Pau and Luis with the jump ball. Rockets take it.
Scola makes a nice move to the cup for two. Scola is still riding high on his excellent play over the summer. I see All-Star nods in this guy’s future.
Odom executes a sweet jump hook and I notice that he, too, is playing some inspired bball since he helped the US team bring home the gold.
Scola swishes a wing jumper before Artest makes a nice lefty layup. Of course, on the next play, he takes an ill-advised jumper and follows that up with a stupid foul.
Pau connects on a nice assist from Kobe to put the Lakers up 9-6 with 7:05 left to play.
Chuck Hayes, who is referred to as the Chuck Wagon by fans, gets into the lane for two and has six points already. That’s gotta be a season high, maybe a career high? I kid…
Chase Budinger checks into the game and immediately drains a J from behind the arc to tie things up at 15, then follows that up with the go-ahead dunk. Rockets up 17-15 with 2:47 left in the quarter.
Pau goes the foul line and drains both to even the score at 17, but Courtney Lee nails a nice three ball to put the Rockets back up by three.
Matt Barnes gets an easy layup on a Pau assist, but Budinger drains another three ball. Rockets up 23-21 with 58 ticks left.
Odom answers with three of his own, and the Lakers end the first up 26-23.
Shannon Brown is in for the visitors and starts off with nice short jumper to pad the lead to 28-23.
Rookie Caracter gets a nice layup on a Steve Blake assist. Lakers up 32-25.
Odom hits another jumper. He’s really playing with confidence right now. Lakers up 36-27 with 9 minutes left.
Lee hits another three pointer to close Lakers lead to four.
Odom hits another jump shot. He has 13 already. Lakers up 38-32 with 7:32 left.
Jordan Hill gets an offensive rebound and put it back up for two. Odom hits a turnaround J on the other end.
Ish makes a nice pass to Hill for the dunk to close Lakers lead to four but Brown stretches it back to seven after a long bomb behind the three point line.
Ish makes a smooth move to the cup and finger rolls it in for two. Lakers up 45-40 now.
Artest connects on a layup and Kobe hits another on a Laker fastbreak to go up 49-40 with 3:54 left. Rockets call for a breather.
Fisher hits three ball from the wing and the Lakers have their biggest lead of the game, 52-40.
In case you’re keeping tabs, Kevin Martin is scoreless right now. He’s got to get it going for the Rockets to have a shot at the W.
Shane Battier nails a corner three pointer, Hayes hits a dipsy doo layup and Scola for two on the fastbreak to cut lead to five.
Martin finally gets on the scoreboard with a wing trifecta and Scola slams it home to cut Laker lead to one.
Kobe goes all Black Mamba and drains a buzzer beating turnaround J. Lakers up 56-53 at end of second.
Original starters for both teams are on the court for the second half.
Kobe with the nice fadeaway to start the scoring in the second. Lakers up 58-53.
Martin delivers a nice finger roll. Lakers up 58-55.
Kobe with second foul before Odom hits a nice fadeaway. He has 17. Lakers up 60-55 with 9:42 left.
Artest misses both freebies at the line and it’s clear that he still hasn’t figured out the triangle offense yet.
Martin is heating up with a dunk, an off balance J, a strong move to the hole for two and a crafty veteran play to get fouled on a three point attempt. His offensive comeback puts the Rockets on top 69-68 with 5:32 left.
Kyle Lowry joins in on the fun and hits a three ball of his own. Score tied at 77 with 52 ticks on the clock.
Shannon Brown steps to the FT line and hits both.
End of third. Lakers up 78-76
Brad Miller ties it up at 78 with 11:10 left and Chase adds two to go up 80-78. The Rockets have been scrappy all game and the sold-out crowd is starting to believe they can win this.
Matt Barnes gets TWO and ones to go and puts the Lakers back on top 84-80.
Blake hits a three ball and the Lakers have a six-point lead.
Ahh, that ol’ crafty Kevin Martin does it again and draws a three point foul from Kobe and then Lowry for three. Lakers up 93-90 with 5:24 left.
KMart hits another two and he has 20 that quick.
Kobe nails a sick turnaround over Battier to put the Lakers up 97-94 with 2:51 left.
Shane “Batman” Battier then reaches into his utility belt and goes to work. Battier nails two three-pointers, hits a two and draws a three point foul and hits all three. That’s 11 points in less than three minutes. Who’d a thunk it?
The Lakers miss badly on a multitude of three-point attempts before KMart steps to the line for the clutch FTs to put the game out of reach.
Game over. Rockets win, 109-99.
The Lakers now lose four in a row, which they haven’t done since Memphis gifted them Pau Gasol. Jackson is keeping his usual cool head about it, but you have to wonder what book he’s going to make the team read after this slide. The Rockets are without Yao and Aaron Brooks, so no one expected them to win. This is a good W for them. Yao is expected to return on Tuesday so they hope they can get some good minutes from their franchise center moving forward. And with that, I’m out like Ja Rule’s music career.