Although the NBA season is entering it’s third week, it sure doesn’t feel like it thus far for the Lakers (4-0).

Fortunately, the so called “bye week” is mercifully coming to an end tonight as the Lakers face their first elite and formidable foe during this young season in the Houston Rockets (4-2).

And although the Laker showed some signs of rust during Wednesday’s contest against the Clippers, they eventually were able to find the same groove that propelled them to their other three victories, this time on the merits of a 7:11 span in which they held the Clippers scoreless.

Tonight, however, will be remarkably different. The Houston Rockets, although they have two losses to their record, have one of the league’s most talented and potent triumvirates in Yao Ming, Tracy McGrady and Ron Artest. With the injury and subsequent unavailability of perhaps the best “Kobe Stopper” around in wrinkly-headed Shane Battier, the Rockets aspirations for a victory in STAPLES Center are severely at risk. To feel confident about their fortunes heading into STAPLES Center would be a laugh at best.

Face it, the 2008-09 season is still but a tadpole in the pond of the NBA, but, if there were a game to point to as the 4-0 Lakers first true test, this would be it.

Television

  • Los Angeles: FSWest (Joel Myers & Stu Lantz)
  • Houston: FSHouston (Bill Worrell, Clyde Drexler & Matt Bullard)

Radio

Los Angeles: AM570 KLAC (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)

Rockets: KILT 610 AM (Craig Ackerman & Adam Wexler)

Injuries

Lakers:

  • Probable: Andrew Bynum (Shoulder)

Rockets:

  • Out: Shane Battier (Knee)

Storylines

Oh! Ron!: Remember last July as we all scratched our heads and wondered about what would have been the missing link to a Laker championship in 2008? Remember when all the local radio pundits and beat writers (well, most of them) decided that Ron Artest was the panacea to the Lakers lack of defensive toughness? Remember when everyone decided the Lamar Odom was useless and all but packed up boxes for him?

Well, luckily for the Lakers, the best trades continue to be the ones you do not make. Lamar Odom has embraced his role as the league’s most versatile and unique sixth-man and the Lakers, although it is very early, have reaped the benefits of Lamar’s presence. Ron Artest, however, continues to be Ron Artest and I am just waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Keeping Schedule: Due to some scheduling malfeasance by the NBA, the Lakers had what Kobe Bryant referred to as a “bye week”, playing one game over the course of eight days. Well, each action deserves and equal reaction, so starting tonight, the Lakers face Houston and then have a Tuesday-Wednesday Back-to-Back with the Dallas Mavericks and the New Orleans Hornets and then return home to face the newly-Iversoned Detroit Pistons on Friday. Nowwwwww it feels like the season has started.

Varsity Challenge

(Prize: A wine tasting tour of Napa Valley with Laker’s play-by-play announcer Joel Myers!)

Tonight is the reluctant return of the spic and span Sunday white jerseys the Lakers have worn since 2002-03. What is the Lakers record in games played when wearing these uniforms?

  • http://youtube.com/MvpGoesToKobe LakersNewDynasty08

    INDIVIDUAL MATCHUPSSSSSSSSSSS PLEASE ANDREW PLEASE!!!!!!!!

  • Freshh

    Lakers win by 9

  • grungedave

    lakers win by 39

  • Moses

    Lakers win by 15, T-Mac and Yao non-factors, Alston and Artest have decent games, Kobe closes down the stretch, Bynum does a good job on Yao, Pau and Kobe both have 20+ points each.

  • K0be08-09

    Lakes win by 5

    Kobe 33 Points
    Pau 18 POints
    BYnum 15 POints
    Odom 15POints
    Ariza 11Points
    Farmar 11 Points
    Fisher 20 Points

  • pedro

    i have a bad feeling about this game… but i still think we´ll blast rockets by 14

  • http://swishtheball.net sir charles

    this is drew’s chance to prove he is better than yoa. he needs to outhustle him

  • nabil

    yup. big game for him. really big game.

  • K0be08-09

    YUP BIG GAME FOR DREW> TONIGHTS HIS GAME ITS HIS GAME BOOK IT

  • iskerfan567

    [Comment ID #54021 Will Be Quoted Here]

    Your delusional Lakers by 23

    Kobe 25 points
    Lamar 16 points
    Famar 37 points
    Fisher 13 points
    Gasol 22 points
    Bynum 8 points but have 5 blocks

  • http://TheVerveNerve.com Billy Kupchak

    “Tonight is the reluctant return of the spic and span Sunday white jerseys the Lakers have worn since 2002-03. What is the Lakers record in games played when wearing these uniforms?”

  • Russ Ahi

    I say Lakers win pretty comfortably tonight…

    the only thing that might stop them is the “rust” factor. I hate it that the NBA gave them this much time off in between games and now we’re playing three of the toughest teams in the west over the next 4 days. doesn’t make much sense.

    anyways, the rockets are good, but they’re not THERE yet. I feel like they still need one more piece. Plus, it’s a good possibility that Yao or Tracy will get injured half way through the season, because it happens all the time.

    I think the lakers will win..they’re playing at home..they got some rest over the last few days..they know that this team is a challenge for them.. and they know that they’re playing some tough teams in the next few days..i don’t see them losing…no sir

    peace

  • Laker4Life

    I say Lakers will win by a last second shot by KOBE
    Kobe scores 44 for Obama
    and Bynum beats yao and has a break out game
    Houston is no contender they cant even beat Portland

  • Kobe Forever

    Lakers will beat the rockets because Shane Battier the best Kobe defender is injured, so Kobe will score 30 or more against the rockets. Score Lakers 109 Houston 92

  • KB=BOSS

    lakers will dominate

  • mihaithemiraculous

    this is gonna be a good game i dont know why espn didnt pick it up, artest will gaurd kobe and slow him down, no but no one can stop kobe, yao is clumsy and weak look for bynum to keep him off the low block with his strength, the game will be close till about mid way through the 3rd quarter untill the offense catches fire (having some slow starts this season), lakers win by double digits

  • as1084

    its gonna be a low scoring game… lakers 91 rockets 84

  • Yoyo

    Lakers will lose this game. 105-97. Mark my word!

  • mihaithemiraculous

    like i said close till the third, the lakers really pounded on the rockets after that, kobe shut down t-mac. he was like 2-11, what a sorry shooting performance haha

  • http://thelakersnation.com jki

    [Comment ID #54048 Will Be Quoted Here]

    haha…

  • http://www.psgoodlife.com Stan