Gameday: Lakers 107, Rockets 112

GAMEDAY LINKS: Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Box Score Houston Rockets 29 21 34 28 112
Play by Play Los Angeles Lakers 24 35 22 26 107

Rockets beat Lakers again after Bynum is ejected

By Associated Press

Posted Apr 06 2012 11:54PM

LOS ANGELES (AP) The Houston Rockets have discovered a winning formula for beating the Los Angeles Lakers: Stay close long enough until Andrew Bynum gets himself ejected.

That's been the scenario the last two times the teams have met. Friday night, Bynum spent most of the fourth quarter in the dressing room while Goran Dragic and Luis Scola helped the Rockets pull out a 112-107 victory.

"It changed a lot," Houston coach Kevin McHale said. "Bynum was a guy we had to double-team and focus a lot on the defensive end to try to get the ball out of his hands."

Dragic had 26 points and 11 assists, and Scola scored 10 of his 25 points during a 2:39 span of the fourth.

"If you win against them in L.A., then it's something special," Dragic said. "They've won a lot of titles, and that was huge for us - especially in our playoff push."

The Lakers were trailing 80-75 when Bynum took exception to a foul by Samuel Dalembert with 1:18 left in the third quarter and had to be restrained by teammates, earning his first technical foul. The enigmatic and moody 7-foot center got another one with 11:17 left in the game after hitting a hook shot and mouthing off to the Houston bench on his way downcourt.

"You talk trash, that's the essence of basketball right there," said teammate and former Rockets forward Metta World Peace, who never had a reputation for being the voice of reason - not even when he was known as Ron Artest. "You score, you talk trash. That's fun. You got a bunch of street ball players in the NBA."

Etiquette notwithstanding, Bynum hurt the Lakers again with his selfish antics and his teammates are well aware of it. For someone who was suspended without pay for the first four games of this compacted 66-game season because of a vicious flagrant foul he committed against Dallas guard J.J. Barea in last year's playoffs - and fined $25,000 for ripping off his jersey while heading to the locker room - the seven-year veteran apparently hasn't learned anything.

The Lakers, trying to keep the Clippers from catching them for the Pacific Division lead, had a better-than-even chance to win this one. The lead changed hands six times after Bynum left, but they never led again after Matt Barnes tied the score at 99-all on a 3-pointer with 2 1/2 minutes to remaining.

"We'll never know," Pau Gasol said when asked how the game would have turned out had Bynum controlled his temper. "It would be good to have him on the floor and help us win games. He's just got to find a way to make sure he can help the team any way he can. And to do that, he has to stay in the game. He's a great guy. He's a good person and he's got a great heart. But I'm not him, I'm not inside him, and I don't know what goes on all the time in his mind."

Bynum finished with 19 points and seven rebounds in 31 minutes, after scoring 36 points against the Clippers despite a sprained left ankle.

On March 20 at Houston, was ejected late in the third quarter, and the Rockets erased a 17-point deficit scored a season-high 34 points in the fourth. Houston won it 107-104, with Dragic making the go-ahead 3-pointer with 28 seconds left.

"It's always tough when you lose somebody like Bynum because he's a 20-and-10 type of guy," point guard Ramon Sessions said. "I think he was just starting to get rolling, too, and getting hyped up right before that. We definitely needed him down the stretch."

Marcus Camby, playing with a sprained left wrist, had 12 points and 11 rebounds for the Rockets, who overcame a 15-point deficit en route to a 99-93 road win over the league-leading Chicago Bulls in their previous game on Monday night. They have won back-to-back games for the first time since March 13-14 against Oklahoma City and Charlotte.

Rockets leading scorer Kevin Martin missed his 13th straight game because of a right shoulder strain, but they are 8-5 in his absence.

Kobe Bryant, playing with a bruised right shin that kept him out of Friday morning's shootaround, scored 28 points for the Lakers. World Peace had a season-high 23, Gasol had 14 points and 10 rebounds, and Barnes had 13 rebounds - three off his career high.

The Lakers fell to 1 1/2 games ahead of the Clippers in the Pacific Division. Six of the final 10 games on the Lakers' schedule are on the road, including the next three against Phoenix, New Orleans and San Antonio - whom the Lakers will face three times. They trail the Spurs by 4 1/2 games for the best record in the conference.

World Peace, who came off the bench in his first 19 games before replacing Barnes in the starting lineup on Jan. 29, helped lead Los Angeles to a 59-50 halftime lead with 17 points - two off his previous high this season. The 13-year veteran reached the 20-point mark for the ninth time in 214 regular-season games with the Lakers.

Notes: The 40th anniversary of the Lakers' first championship in Los Angeles is coming up on May 7, and the organization honored the members of that 1971-72 team in a halftime ceremony by giving them new championship rings. In attendance was coach Bill Sharman and nine of his players, including Jerry West, Pat Riley, Gail Goodrich and Elgin Baylor, who retired nine games into that season - the same day that his teammates began their record 33-game winning streak. ... With the Lakers atop the Pacific Division, the Clippers leading ninth-place Utah by 4 1/2 games in the West with 11 to play - and the NHL's Kings having clinched a playoff spot Thursday night - it's shaping up to be the first time that all three of Staples Center's major tenants will make the postseason in the same year since the arena opened in 1999-00. ... Bryant needs four steals to surpass Magic Johnson's total of 1,724 for the Lakers' franchise record and take over 15th place on the career NBA list. Johnson led the league twice in that department, something that Bryant never did. ... Houston is 8-6 since Dragic took over as the starting point guard because of Kyle Lowry's bacterial infection.

Copyright 2012 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited

View More Photos

Points Bryant 28, 8-20
Rebounds Barnes 13, 4 OFF 9 DEF
Assists Sessions 7
Steals World Peace 2
Blocks Bynum 2


Mike Brown:

Lakers coach Mike Brown’s opening statement:
“It’s pretty simple. We didn’t defend. We didn’t defend in transition, we didn’t defend in the pick and roll, we didn’t defend at half court. I thought that they got in to the lane as much as they wanted and that warrants some shooting some 48% from the floor and scoring 112 points in a regulation game against us. We weren’t physical defensively. They didn’t feel us at all all night and they got whatever they wanted time and time again.”

Lakers coach Mike Brown on the team’s defense recently:
“I’m not sure what the slippage is defensively. Maybe it’s because we’re not doing much of anything at all. We’re not even drilling or anything like that because we’re trying to save the guys’ legs. Our focus right now is to, it seems at times, is to try to outscore our opponent or play a faster pace game. It shouldn’t be. 43% isn’t great but 117 points, we should beat anybody if we had the mindset that we’re supposed to have or that we’ve had. It’s going to be tough for us to win games if we don’t get back to defending, or at least get back close to the way we were defending, a couple of months ago.

Lakers coach Mike Brown on how the lack of defense can be corrected:
“I think it’s a combination. Our weak side is not great. We’re giving up low drives and teams are getting in to the paint all the time. We don’t do a good job of taking care of the ball and that’s always been an Achilles of ours. Teams get some energy because they’ll get out and get some easy buckets, transition, and gain confidence that way. So, there are a few things that are probably technical that we can look at and try to adjust. It’s about physicality.”

Ramon Sessions:

Lakers’ Ramon Sessions on what went wrong in tonight’s game:
“Just one of those nights. We came out, played hard, we kind of jumped on them in that third quarter, but they jumped right back on us. They’re a good ball club. It’s hard to give up these leads, especially against a good ball club that’s fighting for a Playoff position just like us towards the end of the season. It’s a tough loss, but we have to bounce back, we have Phoenix tomorrow.”

Lakers’ Ramon Sessions on why it was so difficult to defend Goran Dragic:
“Pick and rolls all day long. On one side they’re coming back to it, or it’s one pick and roll and they’re coming back to another. Just a lot of pick and roll situations. They handled the ball real well.”

Lakers’ Ramon Sessions on playing without Andrew Bynum:
“It’s always tough when you lose somebody like Bynum. He’s a 20-10 type of guy and I think he was just getting rolling too right before that, getting hyped up. It was just one of those things we just had to step up and Houston made some big shots down the stretch and was able to get a good win.”

Pau Gasol:

Lakers’ Pau Gasol on what they need to do to improve their defense:
“It’s hard to say. We just have to scramble a little, we have to be active out there. I think if we continue to do that and don’t allow easy layups, easy second shots, also give them more opportunities. Those are things that will make your defense better.”

Lakers’ Pau Gasol on what went wrong down the stretch tonight:
“They finished the game better than we did, knocked down some good looks and some tough shots. They had a three from the corner that was big with the shot clock running down, they had a nice running layup from Dragic also, not easy shots. And we didn’t knock down ours so that was the difference.”

Kobe Bryant:

Lakers Kobe Bryant on Andrew Bynum:
“The key for him is to find that balance. We don’t want him to lose that edge or lose the rage he’s playing with. We just find a good balance.”

Lakers Kobe Bryant on whether he will have a talk with Andrew Bynum:
“He’s a bright guy. We’ll talk about it but it’s not something that we need to have a heart to heart sit down type of situation. It’s a learning process. This is his first year where he’s really being featured and coming into his own and there are a lot more responsibilities that come along with it.

Metta World Peace:

Lakers Metta World Peace on how the game got away from the Lakers tonight:
“It didn’t get away from us, they beat us. They did exactly what they had to do tonight and they played well.”

Lakers Metta World Peace on whether it was tough playing without Andrew Bynum in the second half:
“It wasn’t that tough. He got ejected. I’m used to playing basketball like that at home in New York City. You talk trash, that’s the essence of basketball right there. You score, you talk trash. That’s fun. You got a bunch of street ball players in the NBA.”

Lakers Metta World Peace on playing without Andrew tonight:
“It’s okay, if we lose a game with Andrew out at least we know we have a chance to win when he’s back.”

Kevin McHale:

Rockets coach Kevin McHale on his team’s execution down the stretch of the ballgame:
“Luis was really good down the stretch, he had some nice moves down there, he had his jump hook going and made a heck of a move on Gasol with that left-handed shot. We tried to get Goran mixed in there with some attacks and keep our spacing to where we had a chance if they collapsed, we had some guys who could make some shots.”

Rockets coach Kevin McHale on his decision to isolate Scola on the block late in the game:
It’s all matchup related and what they’re doing. Scola had a really good rhythm and made shot after shot after shot for us there. We changed it up and tried to get Goran on a drive and he made a heck of a layup over some bigs. It was a heck of a win for us.”

Rockets coach Kevin McHale on how pleased he was with his team’s effort tonight:
“I’m glad we won. We have Sacramento on Sunday and we’ll deal with that then. It’s the next game, really. The guys are fighters. The guys have been fighting all year long. This group here will lay it on the line.”

Rockets coach Kevin McHale on the play of Goran Dragic:
“Goran was fantastic. I don’t know what else to say. He was making plays and attacking; he made good decisions --- 11 assists and three turnovers. He’s playing great.”

Rockets coach Kevin McHale on how much the game changed when Bynum was ejected:
“[It changed] a lot. It was a guy we had to double team and focus a lot of our energy on the defensive end to try to get the ball out of his hands. Even saying that, I think the guy had 19 points when he got ejected.”

Goran Dragic:

Rockets’ Goran Dragic on why the team has found success lately:
“Team chemistry. We’ve got two huge games coming up. We just have to step up together and play as a team especially on defense and on offense. That’s the key of our success.”

Rockets’ Goran Dragic on the win:
“It’s huge. If you win against LA in LA then it’s something special. They’ve won a lot of titles, and that was huge for us especially for a playoff push.”

Chandler Parsons:

Rockets’ Chandler Parsons on the team’s recent successes:
“We’re just going out there and having fun. We’re playing unselfish, we love playing with each other, we’re playing defense, we’re rebounding the ball, and we’re just really having fun out there. It’s showing because we’re winning games, moving the ball, and clicking on all cylinders right now. Coming into a place like this and getting a big win just proves that we can play with anyone in the league. It gives us confidence.”

Rockets’ Chandler Parsons on the opportunity to guard Kobe Bryant:
“I love it. It’s a great opportunity. It’s a great challenge, and it’s a great chance to compete against one of the best players ever so I’ll take that all day.”

Rockets’ Chandler Parsons on Goran Dragic:
“He’s been unbelievable. We have not missed a beat with him. He makes huge plays, he makes good passes, he makes good decisions, and he really runs our team. He’s really been a leader out there for us and he’s been huge. He’s come into his own and I’m stoked how he’s playing right now.”

Luis Scola:

Rockets’ Luis Scola on his offensive performance:
“I was feeling good all game long. They’re a tough team to play because they’re very long and very athletic so sometimes it’s hard to get yourself going. Hitting the outside shots always helps.”

Rockets’ Luis Scola on Goran Dragic:
“He’s playing great. He’s a very good player. It’s not like he learned how to play in the last month. He had all of this. You don’t play like this if you don’t have it. You don’t develop this in a month. He was already this type of player he just needed a place to show it.”

Rockets-Lakers Preview


A strong shooting effort by Kobe Bryant helped the Los Angeles Lakers take a big step towards another Pacific Division title.

Shooting at a high percentage could be tough for him against the Houston Rockets’ Chandler Parsons.

Parsons gave Bryant problems the last time these teams met, and will try to do the same in Friday night’s rematch in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles (35-20) increased its division lead over the Clippers by beating its Staples Center co-tenants, 113-108 on Wednesday. Bryant made 13 of 19 shots to finish with 31 points and added six assists, bolstering his MVP credentials.

The Lakers, who captured the season series and playoff tiebreaker over the Clippers, shot 51.8 percent in their fourth straight win overall.

“Kobe didn’t want to lose,” center Andrew Bynum said.

Now, the question is whether the 6-foot-6 Bryant can be as efficient when he goes up against the 6-9 Parsons. Bryant scored 29 points, but made just 10 of 27 shots and struggled down the stretch in a 107-104 loss at Houston (29-25) on March 20.

“I played good D,” Parsons said after that victory. “I was right there in his face.”

Bryant had some curious compliments for the rookie out of Florida afterward.

“You know what man, I might have to stop taking shots, when the shot clock is winding down, that’s what I am going to start doing because you guys (the media) look at that and think its great defense, I am going to stop shooting the ball when the shot clock goes down, but I love him (Parsons) though,” Bryant said. “I do, I think he is a terrific young player.

“He can shoot from the outside, handle the ball, and can rise to the challenge defensively. I think he has a really bright future and I don’t say a lot about a lot of people.”

Bryant has totaled 66 points in the season series and Bynum has contributed 37 points and 29 rebounds as these teams have split two games. Luis Scola had led the Rockets with 43 points versus the Lakers.

Bynum returned Wednesday after missing one game with an ankle injury and finished with 36 points - one off his season high - and eight rebounds despite not feeling 100 percent.

“It hurts a little bit, especially on spin moves,” Bynum said. “I found more little things out there that hurt so I tried to stay away from them. As the game progresses, the pain subsides.”

Houston is fighting for a playoff spot, entering play Friday tied for seventh in the Western Conference with Denver. Starting guard Kyle Lowry has missed the last 14 games with a bacterial infection, although he took part in some drills during Thursday’s workout.

There may be no need for Lowry to rush back, given the way Goran Dragic has filled the void. Dragic is averaging 22.7 points on 62.5 percent shooting and 6.0 assists over his last three contests.

One of Dragic’s best efforts during his 14-game run as a starter was a 16-point, 13-assist performance in the March 20 victory over the Lakers.

Houston has not played since Dragic had a team-high 21 points in Monday’s 99-93 win at Chicago.

W LAL 113, LAC 108
W LAL 91, NJN 87
W LAL 120, GSW 112
W LAL 88, NOH 85
L OKC 102, LAL 93
Probable Starters
#15 World Peace SF #1 Ariza
#16 Gasol PF #14 Smith
#17 Bynum C #35 Kaman
#3 Ebanks SG #10 Gordon
#7 Sessions PG #21 Vasquez

Lakers Kobe Bryant
(tenosynovitis, left shin) is day-to-day.
Andrew Bynum
(sprained left ankle) is probable.
Ramon Sessions
(sprained left shoulder - ac joint) is probable.
Jordan Hill
(sprained MCL, right knee) is questionable.

Marcus Camby
(left wrist sprain) is out.
Kyle Lowry
(bacterial infection) is out.
Kevin Martin
(strained right shoulder) is out.

Game 1: 01/03 - HOU @ LAL - W 108-99
Game 2: 03/20 - LAL @ HOU - L 104-107
Game 3: 04/06 - HOU @ LAL

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