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.
- Los Angeles: FSWest (Joel Myers & Stu Lantz)
- Houston: FSHouston (Bill Worrell, Clyde Drexler & Matt Bullard)
Los Angeles: AM570 KLAC (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
Rockets: KILT 610 AM (Craig Ackerman & Adam Wexler)
- Probable: Andrew Bynum (Shoulder)
- Out: Shane Battier (Knee)
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?