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Hot Rockets, thin Lakers

March 11, 2009 | 10:26 am

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...