The Los Angeles Lakers played the Oklahoma City Thunder and were able to escape with a much needed road win with Kobe Bryant scoring 31 points while playing with flu-like symptoms. Bryant had help from Andrew Bynum’s double-double (his third of the year), Derek Fisher, Ron Artest and Lamar Odom’s all around efforts but not much assistance beyond that. The Lakers reserves scored a head scratching six total points.
However, the game started well for the Lakers and ended up being too close for comfort as the Thunder took the Lakers to overtime. A game marred by ragged play and several mistakes by both teams which is typical early in the season. The Lakers got the win with Kobe Bryant taking over and the team executing down the stretch in the extra session.
The Thunder are a young, talented & inconsistent team that was aided by the Lakers inability to take care of the basketball. Oklahoma City looked like the veteran team capitalizing on the Los Angeles mistakes with 25 total turnovers.
The Lakers will play their first back to back game in Houston. They’ll be in the Toyota Center to face the Rockets. It will be the first time that the Lakers face their former teammate Trevor Ariza; who is playing at a high level for the Rockets, as well as the first time Ron Artest returns to Houston since the Western Conference Semi-Finals.
The Rockets used balance scoring with eight different players scoring in double figures to beat the Jazz on Monday night. It was the first time since 2/26/1988 that Houston had 8 players accomplish that feat and score at least 10 points. The last time it happened a few of those players were name Hakeem Olajuwan, Clyde Drexler and Charles Barkley.
It is relevant today due to the fact that the Lakers will more than likely once again have to play without All-Star Power Forward Pau Gasol; still nursing a sore hamstring. The Lakers need a total team effort to avoid a loss. The odds makers have considered the Los Angeles the underdog in this match up and have predicted that the Rockets will win.
I can see the argument but there is something that must be said “You can’t underestimate the heart of a Champion”. Despite the teams struggles early this season the Lakers will represent. The Lakers need to take care of the basketball and eliminate the turnovers.
The Lakers still have a size advantage over the Rockets in the post; Andrew Bynum is playing well and the team needs to continue to use him as a presence in the paint. The Rockets are still a scrappy ball club with talented players; none of which are over 6’9” tall.
Look for Bynum to be a factor as well as the Lakers using Kobe & Ron Artest in the post. The Lakers need to trust their half court offense attack the basket and stop shooting so many jump shots. Play defense without fouling, stop the screen and roll play, get back in transition, control the tempo, the boards, stop the dribble penetration and rotate out to three point shooters.
Tip-off: 5:30 PM PST
- Los Angeles: KCAL (Joel Myers & Stu Lantz)
- Houston: Fox Sports Hou (Bill Worrell & Clyde Drexler)
- Los Angeles: 710 ESPN (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
- Houston: 610 AM (Adam Wexler)
- Pau Gasol (Hamstring)
- None Reported.