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Lakers have chance to rebound with game tonight against Houston


The Lakers can treat tonight's game against Houston as if the 91-75 loss Friday to Oklahoma City was just a bad dream and it never happened. Those wanting to approach the game that way may not want to look at the standings or read anything written about the Lakers. Unless, of course, it's at the L.A. Times website.

Or the Lakers (53-19) may acknowledge the reality and try to prevent the hangover from having a lasting effect. Good to note - taking long showers and drinking lots of coffee don't do anything, but gym workouts really do the trick. However the Lakers want to slice it, the fact the Lakers play tonight can be a really good thing and a really bad thing. 

It's the gift and the curse, what with back-to-back games.  You can literally move on to the next game either by building momentum off a good win or quickly forget about a bad loss by immediately correct mistakes. In the Lakers case, they obviously fall under the latter. The curse, of course, is that quick travel time and little practice aren't really substitutes to quickly erase bad habits, such as 18 turnovers, 39.2% shooting from the field and a season-low seven assists.  

But that's why they play the games. The Lakers are 7-3 this season on the second game of a back-to-back that features both contests on the road. And tonight's matchup provides a good opportunity to restore what at first appeared to be a good five-game trip. Or they can continue to sulk and then lose. Up to them.

This is a new format I'm trying as a way to bring everyone to quick speed about the Lakers upcoming opponent and so you know when the game starts so you can arrive on time for the chat. If you guys like it, we'll keep it. If you don't, well, I can just act like this never happened, kind of like how the Lakers want to treat their loss to Oklahoma City.

Team: Houston Rockets (36-35) 

When: Saturday, 5:30 p.m. PDT (KCAL-9) 

Record vs. Rockets this season: 2-1

Matchup history: Consider how the Lakers have done statistically against the Rockets this season compared to their season-long average in points (94, 102.4),  The reason for that discrepancy isn't because of a dropoff in offense in each matchup, but really just a severe dropoff in the third game, a Lakers; 88-79 victory on Jan. 5. The Lakers featured a different cast of characters in each game. In a 103-102 overtime win Nov. 3 at Toyota Center, the Lakers secured the victory after guard Derek Fisher made a late-gave steal (Kobe Bryant's 41 points also helped). The Lakers lost 101-91 Nov. 15 at Staples Center, that featured the team shooting 38.1% and Bryant going five of 20. Interestingly, this loss came two days after losing 105-79 to Denver, meaning Houston isn't the best opponent to have for a rebound game. And in the Lakers' 88-79 victory Jan. 5 to Houston, efforts from Andrew Bynum (24 points and eight rebounds) and Lamar Odom (17 points, 19 rebounds, nine assists) helped make up for Bryant's aggravated index finger that resulted in a nine of 23 clip and Pau Gasol's absence because of a strained left hamstring 

Outlook: The Rockets aren't the same team the Lakers met in last year's Western Conference semifinals that featured a seven-game series, a feisty Rockets team and an inconsistent Lakers. The Rockets' aren't just different because Trevor Ariza is with Houston and Ron Artest is with the Lakers. Houston isn't in playoff contention, so they may use other sources of motivation, such as wanting to unseat the defending champions and avoid their fourth consecutive loss for the first time since losing six in a row Nov. 13-23, 2007. Houston has also been plagued by injuries, including Shane Battier (hyperextended left knee) and Kevin Martin (sore left shoulder, has averaged 21.8 points in 17 games since he was acquired in a trade on Feb. 18), both whom are listed as day-to-day.

--Mark Medina

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Photo Credit: Los Angeles Times

Comments () | Archives (8)

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i do agree with some bloggers that is not time to panic but it may be officially time to address this *POTENTIAL GASOFT* issue as starting to become a very serious problem.

its pretty plain and simple.. if gasol does not *TOUGHEN UP* before the playoffs then we are in for a very rude awakening and you can kiss that ring goodbye

it seems like more and more teams are now trying this lets OUTPHYSICAL pau strategy so he wilts under pressure... it used to be just the denvers and bostons that did this but now more teams are trying this intentional ROUGH HIM UP strategy to get in his head... pau is paul and he'll always be about finesse BUT he must hold his ground and keep his cool when this happens.. he doesnt have to respond in kind but he cannot show weakness and keep getting rattled inside.

when pau is rattled then nothing is more noticeable on the court because his whole game falls apart.. he starts whining incessantly to the refs, he loses his touch around the rim and his 10-15 foot jumper is completely off.

i hope we are not witnessing the return of gasoft from the nba 2008 finals... after that debacle he devoted his entire summer lifting weights (for the first time in his life!!) and it paid huge dividends when he responded well to physical teams like utah, denver and orlando in the playoffs... then last summer he participates in the stupid eurogames instead of hitting the gym again and its obvious this is playing a huge impact.

i am not abandoning gasol by any means and trust he will fight through this mentally when it matters most... we are desperately gonna need his inside presence and 20 pts a game consistently in the playoffs..

but bottom line is this: kobe will show up but if pau does not step up his game LIKE A MAN then we will be S**T UP THE CREEK WITHOUT A PADDLE.


any news on exactly what transpired between shaw and sasha last nite?

just when things cant get any uglier here comes aaron brooks!! (keep your fingers crossed)

yellofever - I don't personally have any first-hand news. Unfortunately I'm not travelling until the playoffs start. But if any items come up in the next few days with details on it, I'll be sure to provide the links.


Good grief, another PG to light up Fisher like a Christmas tree in March! We can already guess how much legs Fish has left on the second of a back-to-back: zero and none. Let us pray and hope that the refs will help us out -just not the usual way.

That's right, let us hope that the refs throw the book at Fish and give him 3 fouls in the first five minutes of the game. Since we cannot count on Phil let us count on the refs to put Farmar into the game as early as possible to deal with Aaron Brooks. Not that Jordan is anything more than a mediocre defender but that's still a few steps above the abyss the Lakers are in as far as defending PG.

russell had his breakfast/lunch/dinner

it's aaRon's turn.

is it fun for fish/farm/shabu to be chewed, regurgitated and eliminated every 24 hours? a day break can help. it's not the case.

and did i mention that next in line is no other than CP3?

that will be 3 in a row. i'm already starting to have MOTION SICKNESS

"Motion sickness or kinetosis, also known as Travel Sickness, is a condition in which a disagreement exists between visually perceived movement and the vestibular system's sense of movement. Depending on the cause it can also be referred to as seasickness, car sickness, simulation sickness, airsickness, or space sickness.[1]"

[1] NBA fast PG syndrome



you wrote: The only thing I do not agree with you is giving Kobe a free pass. As our leader and best player and future GOAT, we usually live or die on how he plays. Last night was a terrible aberration that I doubt we will see the likes of again this year. We will only go as far as KB24 takes us. We need Kobe to play like the MVP he is.

my response: Please name player who won the MVP with a broken finger on
his shooting hand. If you can't do it then it means that you're holding him to
standards that no other player in the history of the NBA has attained. If
you're going to hold him to those type of standards then the following is true:

1. You can't get mad at him if he takes 30 shots, trying to win the game, when
D-Fish is 1-6, LO is 2-9, Artest is 3-10.

2. You need to criticize him every game because he's not walking on water on
his way to the stadium.

Let's not forget the SA game where George (who?) Hill almost single-handedly beat the Lakers. He already had 20 pts by halftime! Unfortunately for Hill, he did too well too soon and got Fish in foul trouble early. The silver lining turned to gold for LA because Farmar got to come in early and he started to shut Hill down for the rest of the game.



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