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Hot Rockets, thin Lakers

On a good night, facing the Rockets in Houston is a challenging proposition.  They're a tough, physical,Lamar_odom_hou_2 defensive minded team that can make things difficult for the best of squads, defending them in a variety of ways.  For the Lakers, things already looked hard enough.  Now, coming off their worst performance of the year, it'll be even tougher.  Lamar Odom will miss Wednesday's tilt, having been suspended by the NBA for leaving the bench during Monday's scrap in Portland.  Odom told the media after that game, "I stood up. I didn't go nowhere. They'll [the NBA] see it and they'll see I didn't go nowhere."  (If by nowhere, Odom meant "five or so steps towards the action," he's right.  If nowhere meant nowhere?  As you see about 1:38 into this clip, that's tougher to defend.) 

The NBA, because they, you know, watched the video, disagreed (really, Mitch, it was pretty clear).  Now the Lakers, losers of three straight on the road, will have to take a short roster against a Rockets squad that has won 11 of 13. 

All in all, the whole situation didn't represent the Lakers at their most clear headed.

Since the Clippers couldn't hold a 19 point fourth quarter lead Tuesday night against LeBron the Cavs at Staples, a loss tonight would leave Cleveland a step ahead of LA in the race for the Association's best record. 

Those of you looking for a frame by frame breakdown of Trevor Ariza's foul on Rudy Fernandez, here you go.  As it turned out, because Monday's was a high volume Spainaird affair, it was broadcast back in the motherland, meaning Fernandez's family was watching live.  Fortunately, Fernandez is out of the hospital today, diagnosed with a bruised chest and a hip pointer.

Interesting graph from Mark Cuban about the inequities of the schedule.  The Lakers don't play as many back-to-backs as everyone else, but they don't face nearly as many teams on b2B situations of their own.

In other news...

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Good stuff as always. This will definitely be a tough game. Hopefully Kobe read Michael Lewis' story on Shane Battier and come prepared.
Also, when is the Lakers Blog going back into rotation on the front page? Now that Manny Watch is over and Dodgers Thoughts has been introduced, seems like it is time for DT to take the back burner. It is after all only spring training and the Lakers are gearing up for the playoffs and a hopefully title run.

Mr. Inconsistent: Sasha Vujacic:

"Sasha Vujacic, whose showing last season earned him a new contract this season, has disappeared. The reserve guard is averaging 5.7 games and 1.6 assists. The Lakers need "the Machine" to be running smoothly in the playoffs like he was last season, when he averaged 8.1 points in 16 postseason games."

"The Lakers vaunted "Bench Mob" is looking more like a "Bench Mess," having lost its mojo ever since Lamar Odom moved into a starting role. Without Odom's playmaking, the bench has contributed an average of 27 points over the past five games."

They forgot to mention Sasha shot horribly at 39.9% overall from the field in the 08 playoffs. Not to mention his overrated defense.

It was Kobe-Pau-Lamar who carried the Lakers while the bench was whimpering in fear at the intensity of the playoffs. When Boston's Big 3 and their better bench who wasn't shattered mentally (the battles with the Hawks and Cavaliers may have strengthened their minds) made Kobe shoot bad, Pau not be as good as the first two series, LO be a non factor, the bench whimpered in fear.

Since LO and Luke had been promoted to the starting lineup the ball movement of the bench has been horrible. If those 3 are the starters of the future I'd cringe at how the Lakers won't be a great passing team (required to win championships) and just either play perimeter oriented play and shoot themselves out of games or be too dependable on Bynum and when Bynum is heavily double teamed the rest of them will disappear.

-KB Blitz

There are no excuses to lose tonight. Having Kobe and Pau should be enough to beat most teams. Tonight's game will give us a good look into the team's mental toughness.

I'm interested to see how Kobe plays against Battier and Artest. All I remember from last year's game was Battier faceguarding Kobe on all of his shots...isn't that not allowed?

The call is made. TA's penalty has been assigned BUT


Trevor Ariza was clearly going for the ball and got a lot of ball. It was a foul. He did hit his head, but in a rapid motion pursuit of the ball. If he didn't cleanly block the shot over his head, I'd disagree. But to say it was intentional harm done while NOT MAKING A PLAY FOR THE BALL is just false.

The league should have definite guidelines. Intent cannot be proven. What can be proven is whether or not the person can reasonably be said to have been going for the ball. If that were used as a guideline, this would be seen as an unfortunate hustle play in the game of basketball.

Penalties like this will DIMINISH HUSTLE PLAYS IN THE FUTURE. That sucks.

On the bright side. Between Bynum's Flagrant and TA's we may get a reputation as being physically tough yet.


Mo' 'bout LO

This run will get Lamar what he wants: to stay in LA. We've all said he's an 8? mil player making 14 or so. The 14 was earned by "potential upside", the most bankable asset a company or player can have. The man has physical potential, but his short side has always been mental. His synapses fire part time, evidently.

That problem shines in the glare of a national spotlight.
You "didn't go nowhere?" The league could use Judge Judy on these rulings since they've never been consistent, but he went somewhere.

He'll be LA at 8 or 9 mil, where he's a bargain, which will fade the target from his jersey. Given the state of his fragile psyche, it just might free him up enough to play up to his... potential?


Time to reestablish road dominance.

Defeat the rockets and maintain the leagues best record!

Great week for the golfer in me. Several rounds at Aviara. Not so great week for the Laker fan in me. Accuscore has tonight's game at 60% for the the Rockets and Vegas says it's a pick-em. Houston has been playing their uber-defensive line-up of Battier and Artest on the floor. That will be a tough proposition if Kobe decides the absence of LO and the overall poor effort against Portland means he has to go into Mamba mode tonight.

As always I'm pullin' for our team.

GO LAKERS!!!!!!!

Bad times

Yao Ming should put 30 points on the Lakers weak front line and Artest will shut down Kobe. Book it.


Artest has never stopped Kobe.What makes you think he will do it now?

Aaron Brooks has been playing very well for the Rockets, justifying the faith that Houston's management and coaching staff has shown in him. Watch for Scola, Landry and Wafer as well. Tough game for the Lakers. This past Monday was 5 weeks since Baby B.'s knee was diagnosed. Get well Andrew! Meanwhile, this is the NBA...(No Bellyaching Allowed....No BS Allowed). Lakers need to man up and find a way to win.


Johnny Q - just look at Ariza's eyes. If he was going for the ball, shouldn't he, you know, be looking at the ball? Both the picture from the L.A. Times and the picture from above the action show that Ariza was looking down at Fernandez's head and nowhere near the ball.



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