TLN’s Playoff Preview: Lakers @ Rockets [Game 4]

The Lakers took apart the Rockets in Game 3 to take a 2-1 series lead. Toward the end of Game 3 you could see Rockets center Yao Ming noticeably limping, it was thought to be merely a sprained ankle. However, upon further review it was discovered that he has a broken foot and will miss the remainder of the playoffs.

This isn’t good news for the Rockets, but to be honest, they would’ve lost this series with him in the lineup as well. The Lakers took control of the series with the Game 3 win making a definitive statement on the road. The Lakers now smell blood so to speak and are fully prepared to break the Rockets in half.

The Rockets were competitive with Yao in the lineup as a huge low post presence and now without him the Rockets don’t stand a chance. The Lakers are far too talented and have too many weapons for the Rockets to contain.

Starting point guard Derek Fisher returns after a one game suspension although with him out for game 3 we saw a glimpse of the future with Jordan Farmar starting. The combination of Farmar & Shannon Brown scored 20 points which helped the Lakers win.

Seeing these guys play well showed the Lakers depth at the position and should help both players play with more confidence throughout the remainder of the playoffs. The Lakers have a huge size advantage now and need to establish both Pau Gasol & Andrew Bynum in the post.

The Rockets are without any shot blockers and both players will be doubled-teamed which will set the offense in motion. The Lakers as a team did an excellent job of knocking down shots. The difference in the game was the Lakers shooting from behind the arc and their defense.

Look for that to continue as the Lakers realize what is at stake and the opportunity that has been presented to them. Look for the Lakers to be firing on all cylinders offensively displaying excellent ball movement and excellent player movement to find the open man.

I’m looking forward to seeing the Lakers control the tempo, the boards, get back in transition, stop the dribble penetration and rotate out to three point shooters. The black mamba will again come out aggressive and on the attack.

This will once again put Houston in a bad position because so far the only consistent scorers have been Yao & Ron Artest. Seeing as Yao is out, this game should be a blowout.

Yao’s injury will work as a rallying cry for the Rockets for about one quarter at best. The Lakers need to come out active and aggressive for the start get a lead and continue to build momentum and said lead and literally choke the Rockets out.

I’m looking for a reverse sweep in this series. If you’re not aware of what a reverse sweep looks like it is when a team loses game one and comes back to win the next four in a row.

Tipoff: 12:30 PM PST

Television -

  • Los Angeles:ABC
  • Houston: ABC

Radio -

  • Los Angeles: AM570 KLAC (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
  • Houston: KILT Sportsradio 610 (Craig Ackerman)

Injuries -

Lakers:

  • None to report.

Rockets:

  • Yao Ming (Foot)
  • Tracy McGrady (Knee)
Jeff Little is the pre-game writer for LakerNation.com. Follow him on Twitter.
  • lainok

    the only down side, is that with yao out, the rockets will be a much quicker team. when the lakers go off on a lot of fast breaks, the rockets will more quickly be able to get down the floor with them. we saw a glimpse of this in Game two when Yao was out with foul trouble. They were able to make a run going into halftime, in part because they were better able to match the lakers up tempo game without him on the floor.

  • imfasterthanur

    “This isn’t good news for the Rockets, but to be honest, they would’ve lost this series with him [Yao Ming] in the lineup as well.”

    HAHA – Well put.

  • Result

    “This isn’t a good news for the Rockets” but they raped Lakers on Game 4 anyway. What a shameful loss. Worst game for Lakers.