The Lakers are back in action tonight at the Staples center to face the Rockets. Several people who felt that the Lakers would sweep the Rockets have to rethink a few things. If the question is asked what caused the Lakers to lose Game 1 to the Rockets, the reasons are plentiful.
You can start with horrible shooting, from behind the arc the team shot 2-of-18 their fifth worse effort in this area since 1996 and especially from the free throw line 12-of-19 for 63.6%. The Lakers had several clean, open jumpers but couldn’t knockdown shots.
You can’t blame it on rust, the Lakers looked bad playing out of sync and disjointed for the majority of the game and never really getting into a rhythm.
There is nothing more disgusting than losing a game where free throws are an issue, had the seven free throws been made we would be talking about a one-point game at the end of regulation.
The Rockets were physical, played solid discipline defense and made sure that they swarmed Kobe whenever he attacked. The outcome of one game hasn’t caused me to lose faith in the Lakers. The Lakers need to play with a sense of urgency to start the game and it is a must that the team moves the ball to find the open man.
As stated prior to Game 1, slowing Yao Ming will not be easy, but the Lakers have done it before so there isn’t a reason why it can’t be accomplished again. Andrew Bynum started Game 1 and will more than likely start tonight. He played better but has to stay out of foul trouble.
The Rockets shot too many free throws meaning that the Lakers need to move their feet and play defense without fouling. Andrew has the size to be effective but has to focus on his defensive principles, being the last line of defense and protecting the rim to stay on the floor.
The Rockets did a great job of protecting the basket and the Lakers need to do the same. The Lakers need to control the tempo, glass, stopping dribble penetration and rotate out to three point shooters.
The task to slow the guards, limiting the drive and kick opportunities will be a team effort but a lot of it falls on the shoulders of Derek Fisher. Fisher has more playoff experience than Aaron Brooks but the foot speed of Brooks helped him outplay Derek in Game 1.
I don’t think it will happen again, but he needs to be kept out of the paint. The Lakers need to throw the ball into the low post establish Andrew Bynum & Pau Gasol let them go to work. This is a statement game and the Lakers will make a definitive statement and rise to the challenge tonight.
Look for a spirited effort tonight from everyone and most importantly at the end of the night a series that is tied at a game apiece heading to Houston.
Tipoff: 7:30 PM PST
- Los Angeles: TNT
- Houston: TNT
- Los Angeles: AM570 KLAC (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
- Houston: KILT Sportsradio 610 (Crag Ackerman)
- Luke Walton (Foot) Might play
- Tracy McGrady (Knee) Out