TLN’s Postgame Report: Lakers vs. Rockets – Ringing In the Season (110-112, Win)

After Coach Phil Jackson received his 11th Championship ring, he recognized former Lakers from last season who were not with the team tonight (Jordan Farmar, DJ Mbenga, Adam Morrison and Josh Powell), and then he spoke a few words on Luke Walton. From there, Walton introduced Lamar Odom, who introduced Ron Artest, who introduced Andrew Bynum…Pau Gasol…Sasha Vujacic…Shannon Brown…Derek Fisher…Kobe Bryant. One by one, each player introduced another, providing heartfelt words about their teammates; and with each introduction, each hug was held longer; the very last and most enduring embrace between captains, Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher. After, Bryant introduced Jerry Buss to receive his ring, calling him the “best owner in the history of team sports.” 

As Artest counted down, the 16th Championship Banner was unveiled on the Staples Center wall. The now two-time defending champions looked on, and before they handed back their rings (because there was still a game to play, after all), Lamar Odom lingered then saluted towards that wall of banners. It was almost like a greeting and farewell, as if to say, Hello, we’ve been waiting for you and also We’ll meet again around this time next year. It was a unique and personable ceremony, filled with more heart and camaraderie than pride and individual accolades. The newest ring was the most difficult piece of hardware to attain to date, and tonight the Lakers began a new season, another opportunity to add to their jewelry collection.

Of course, it didn’t appear the Lakers were ready to defend their title. Forgetting that the Houston Rockets are the “Little Team That Could,” L.A. allowed the visiting team to rain momentarily on their proverbial parade. Not only were guards, Aaron Brooks and Kevin Martin having their way with the Lakers defense (when there was a Lakers defense to have their way with), but Houston simply outplayed the home team in every category in the first half.

The Rockets shot 48% in the first twenty-four minutes while the Lakers, behind by 11 points at the break, were shooting a measly 36% from the field. From downtown, Houston converted on 6-11 attempts while the home team could only manage 2-11 from three-point range.

Kobe Bryant, still trying to build strength in his knees, led the Lakers at the half with 13 points and he also handed out four assists. He went 27 points, seven assists and five rebounds in 37 minutes of burn. 

The value of Lamar Odom was again highlighted when, plagued by early foul trouble, he had to sit, watching the Lakers get behind by double-digits so soon in the game. Coming back in the second quarter, however, Odom led a 9-0 run capped by his signature defensive rebound, coast-to-coast, ain’t-no-stoppin’-me-now lay-up. The Lakers got to within three points until a late-half Houston run dug the Lakers into a 62-51 hole.

Phil Jackson was not amused as his team continued to struggle in the third quarter, shouting from the sidelines to “put a body on people” and to “get more stops.” The Lakers got behind by as much as 15 points. Each time they chipped away at the lead, Houston would hit a three or drive in for, sadly, uncontested layups and dunks.

Enter the new-look Lakers back-up backcourt, Steve Blake and Shannon Brown. To end the third quarter, Blake scored on back to back threes to cut a once double-digit lead to five points. After another three-from Brown, a Gasol putback, two Matt Barnes free throws and a fastbreak finger roll from Brown, the Lakers got the lead, 88-86.

With less than six minutes left in the game, Brown hit back to back threes to increase the Lakers’ lead to eight points, 99-91. As per usual, however, Houston made another great comeback and the lead switched back and forth a few more times. With under 30 seconds left, behind by a single point, Bryant drove into the lane and tossed a pass over Gasol’s outstretched arms, into the hands of Blake, who hit another timely three to take a two point lead that would last until the final buzzer sounded – 112-110, Lakers 1-0 for the season.

The game did not start the way the Lakers may have hoped it would, but as Bryant has said before, victories can’t all be beautiful. Tonight’s game certainly wasn’t one of the prettiest, but it was one of the grittiest, with the home team shooting just a little over 41%, but whose defense brought down the hot-shooting Rockets to the same field goal percentage. A win is a win, and tonight, the Lakers got their first of the season. It’s a long way to the finish line.

Box Score
Pre-game Thoughts: Another Ring Night to open the new season – it should always begin this way.
Half-time Thoughts: 62-51 – Either the Lakers are still distracted from receiving their Championship rings, or they’re still working to get out of training camp mode. Either way, they’re getting outplayed by the Houston Rockets. Kevin Martin and Aaron Brooks together have scored 37 of the Rockets’ 62 first-half points. Kobe Bryant leads the Lakers with 13.
Most Thoughtless Player(s) of the Game: The Lakers, in the first three quarters of the game, played more mindlessly than out of their minds.
Most Thought-filled Player(s) of the Game: Steve Blake and Shannon Brown – before the back-up guards poured in from downtown (7-9), the Lakers were 2-12 from 3-point range. Bryant and Gasol may have collected 27 and 29 points respectively, but it was Blake and Brown who chipped at Houston’s 15-point lead.

Anna Gonda has been the post-game editor for LakerNation.com since the 2009-2010 season. Between post-game reports, she's a full-time advertising coordinator for an academic publisher and a part-time photographer. Favorite Lakers: Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher. Favorite Laker Moment: Game 7, 2010 Finals against the Boston Celtics.
  • http://lakersground.net lakers4life372417

    VERY EXCITING GAME! Can’t wait to see the progress that we’ll make as a team. Very excited about the future with this new team. THE BENCH WAS SUPERB! Time to come up with a new nickname and drop the bench mob nickname.

  • showtime4eva

    Shannon Brown has game.That bench plays high energy,Houston looks good too. good enough to beat that over hyped team in miami. but our bench & L.O. was dishing it out tonight..GO LAKERS!!! 3 heat can’t stop the 3 peat!

    • showtime4eva

      ha ha ! even Justin Bieber got a ring before lebra..

  • Westcoast Mofo

    Great fukkkkkin game. Ring ceremony was awesome. The bench won this game and they’re going to win even more games this year. Fukkkin Blake is bada$$$$. One thing I like about the dude is he can play off the ball ala go ahead 3 at the end. Barnes is a hustler, & Brown seems like he was living in the gym this offseason, dude’s stroke looks good.

  • Robert.

    Already noticed many great things about this team. Since Kobe now has reliable peripheral shooters (I know it’s just the first game, but..), Shannon and Blake, then Kobe can draw two defenders, pass out to the open player and ‘instant score’.
    .
    These players will be ‘spreading the floor’, and Kobe can finally play perfectly in the triangle. He will then get more open looks, and his scoring average can go up this year. Lamar looked good, and hope for consistency.
    .
    On the ‘other part of the world’, LeBron essentially admitted that he ‘wants the ball’. He claimed that the players have to be selfish, and score rather than pass the ball around. That will make for lower scoring games, and more losses. Also, as the TNT crew said, LeBron and DWade are not good jump shooters, and quite frankly, neither are anyone else on that team (Mike Miller is ‘ok’, but is out until January). They are also smaller than other teams. And … teams need size (as Steve Nash claimed, and he knows more than anyone else – his former team’s lack of size kept him from furthering in the playoffs). The heat do NOT have size. They will lose if they even make it to the finals.
    .
    But this is mostly about the Lakers. Lamar looked great, the bench looked great (right about needing a new nickname – Bench Mob is now ‘old’). Close game, but that’s because Houston shot 48%, which they will ‘never’ do again against the Lakers (and, the Lakers still won this one).

  • uweee

    where the hell is laffs atu? ……….HA!

  • uweee

    laffs at who?…………………………..

  • http://57.amklac/ laffs atu

    i`m with your mom.she gives good head.

    • laffs atu!

      i’m by myself hehehe! I give myself good pleasures!……..keepin it gay!

  • http://57.amklac/ laffs atu

    i`m laughing at you as your mom gives me head.

    • laffs atu!

      i’m laughing at myself hehehe! as I give myself enjoyment!……..keepin it gay

  • The artist formally known as Brown Hater

    I have to say so far Brown has made me eat ever word I said about him over the summer. The dude was strokin it last night and it nice to finally have bench that can not only keep pace with a team but actually pull out a win . Blake , Barnes & Brown

  • 242LakerFan

    Welcome to the SB Show starring Steve Blake and Shannon Brown!
    That was a hell of a win last night. I just hope they don’t plan on doing that kind of thing every game. Whoa, that was a heart-pounder!
    This bench is really going to be an asset this year, but I can’t wait for Kobe to get those legs under him and Bynum to come back so we can add Lamar back into the bench mix. I can see by February or so, our starters getting a team down early nd the bench coming in and maintaining or stretching leads. It should be fun!
    NWA

  • http://57.amklac laffs atu

    justin beiber wearing a laker ring,seems right.so no one got hurt?miracle.with the CELTICS and HEAT playing was really exciting………..did the lakers play?

    • Showtime4eva

      Oh yeah 30 points at heat half time ha! Very exciting Lebra looked in playoff form. We played very well in the first game.

    • laffs atu!

      justin beiber my boyfriend was wearing a laker ring, seems right. so the Champs won last night? NICE! with the CELTICS and HEAT playing was boring!………..I’m so GAY!………..keepin it real

  • ICE CREAM MAN

    A little thought of the earlier game boston vs. miami…Miami is very small. The center they have to start is small and the bench center has height but lacks any movement. They are extremely fast but unless they can stay running ALL THE TIME, they will not win anything. Boston looks big and experienced but old. I see them more of a threat than Miami. Only game 1 but these were the first impressions.
    As far as the lakers, it’s not a fare game to judge because of the ring ceremony. That ceremony makes players lose focus. Lets see how they do next time.

  • http://57.amklac laffs atu

    derrick fisher knew this day was coming…………….

    • laffs atu!

      derrick fisher knew this day was coming………LEARN HOW TO SPELL MAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It’s Derek not Derrick! Mie mame is laffs atu, ande i aproove theis messagge!

      • mike

        spelling police

    • laffs atu!

      I juste wove waching baskitbal ande mi fevorate pleyear lebrwon jemes. Goe miame heeat!………..keepine it reel

  • Laffsatuisafruit

    New benchmob name: Benchoritos

  • sancho

    Awesome game last night. Lakers Baby!

  • http://www.barrageclothing.com TonyStarks79
  • NBAmazingKB24

    shannon brown looking real scary…
    3peat here we come!

  • LUCKY N’ LA

    SHANNON : What can Brown do for you!

  • John Robertson

    Nice game for the “SB duo”, hehe….

    I’m sure Kobe will dish out more assists this year because of the two.

    I wish Kobe averages 9 assist a game or if not be in the top 5 in assist.

  • http://57.amklac laffs atu

    my bad…….douchebag knew this day was coming…………

    • MECKA

      Look at your comment, now back to mine. Now back at your comment now back to mine. Sadly it isn’t mine, but if you stopped trolling and started posting legitimate comments it could look like mine. Look down, back up, where are you? You’re scrolling through comments, writing the comment your comment could look like. What did you post? Back at mine, it’s a reply saying something you want to hear. Look again the reply is now diamonds. Anything is possible when you think before you post

      • le-elbow =)

        =*) you made me shed a tear, that was simply beautiful

  • nath

    I think we will soon see laffs atu say to himself “Shut da fck up and suck Lebra cock!!!” You’re weak man, those dirty trash-talking is over. Farewell Gayman!!!

  • Pingback: TLN’s Postgame Report: Lakers @ Rockets – CHUMPS IN FOR CHAMPS (99-109, Loss) | Sports Journey