Lakers Gameday | 05/17/09 | Lakers 89, Rockets 70; background-position:center; background-repeat:no-repeat;">
Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Houston Rockets 12 19 19 20 70
Los Angeles Lakers 22 29 18 20 89

Lakers Game Leaders; background-position:center; background-repeat:no-repeat;">
Pau Gasol Pau Gasol
21 Points
Field Goals: 10 of 19
FG: 53%
Pau Gasol Pau Gasol
18 Rebounds
Defensive: 12
Offensive: 6
Kobe Bryant Kobe Bryant
5 Assists
14 Points
3 Steals
Pau Gasol Pau Gasol
3 Blocks
1 Steal

  • Lakers 89, Rockets 70: Postgame
  • Lakers - Rockets Running Diary 7
  • Missed Shots? Nahh
  • Game 7 Scouting Report
  • Lakers Know What To Do In Game 7

  • Video
    Post-Game Numbers
  • 55 - Rebounds for the Lakers, including 13 on the offensive end, to dominate the Rockets’ 33 boards (five offensive). Pau Gasol alone had 18 boards, while Houston’s high-man (Ron Artest) had eight.
  • 36.8 - Houston’s field goal percentage as the visitors struggled to get good looks at the basket throughout the afternoon. The Rockets made just 5-of-20 threes, two of which came in the final minute (Kyle Lowry) of the game with L.A. playing token defense.
  • 31 - L.A.’s biggest lead.
  • 10 - Blocked shots for the Lakers, to just three from Houston.
  • 9 - Fourth quarter points from Sasha Vujacic on 4-of-6 shooting, encouraging for L.A. as the Slovenian had struggled with his shot throughout the playoffs.
  • 8 - Wins in the playoffs for the Lakers, who have their minds wrapped around getting eight more.
  • 0 - Times Houston led in the game, the same number of leads L.A. held in Game 6.
    --Mike Trudell,

    Los Angeles Lakers Houston Rockets
    Derek Fisher
    D. Fisher
    Kobe Bryant
    K. Bryant
    Trevor Ariza
    T. Ariza
    Pau Gasol
    P. Gasol
    Andrew Bynum
    A. Bynum
    Aaron Brooks
    A. Brooks
    Ron Artest
    R. Artest
    Shane Battier
    S. Battier
    Luis Scola
    L. Scola
    C. Hayes

    Lakers Gameday Articles and Updates; background-repeat:repeat-y">
    Gasol, Towering Lakers eliminate pesky Rockets 89-70 in Game 7

    LOS ANGELES(AP) Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and the Los Angeles Lakers emphatically silenced the doubters and the Houston Rockets, winning Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals 89-70 on Sunday.

    With Gasol scoring 21 points and grabbing 18 rebounds, the Lakers looked like the conference's top-seeded team, not the maddeningly inconsistent one that was pushed to the decisive final game by the undermanned Rockets.

    The Lakers dominated the paint on both ends, forcing the Rockets into turnovers and bad shots, and owning the backboards. They had an 8-0 lead a few minutes in and widened it to 25 points on Gasol's jump hook shortly before halftime.

    The Lakers, trying to reach the NBA finals for the second straight year, host the opener of the conference finals against the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday night.

    Gasol left to a nice ovation with 3:34 remaining in the game.

    Trevor Ariza scored 15 points while Bryant and Andrew Bynum 14 apiece. Bryant added five assists and seven rebounds.

    Aaron Brooks scored 13 and Luis Scola 11 for Houston. Ron Artest (seven points) and Shane Battier (three) were non-factors.

    The Lakers have been so up and down in this series that coach Phil Jackson said before Game 5 that they had a little bit of Jekyll and Hyde in them. That was the night the Lakers raced to a 40-point win at home, only to follow it by getting blind-sided a second straight game in Houston, losing two nights later by 15.

    Using home-court advantage to the fullest, the Lakers made sure they weren't going to choke this one away against the No. 5 seed.

    This one was practically over before the fans settled into their seats.

    Los Angeles used two Houston turnovers and a blocked shot in racing to an 8-0 lead. Gasol blocked a shot by Scola and fed Bryant for a layup. Scola's turnover led to Ariza's tip-in of Gasol's miss. A turnover by Brooks set up Ariza's 3-pointer, forcing Houston to call timeout with 9:32 to go in the quarter.

    Houston missed seven shots during the next 2 1/2 minutes, and didn't get on the scoreboard until Brooks made two free throws just more than five minutes in.

    During one sequence, Odom blocked a shot by Brooks, Bryant ended up with the ball and whipped a crosscourt pass to Ariza for a 3-pointer and a 13-2 lead.

    It wasn't until then that the Rockets made their first basket, a layup by Chuck Hayes.

    Houston made only 5 of 20 shots in the first quarter, while the Lakers had 17 rebounds, including 12 on defense.

    The Lakers were up 22-12 at the end of the first quarter and steadily pulled away.

    Leading by 19, the Lakers scored six straight late in the quarter. Bryant stole a pass and fed Ariza for a slam dunk, bringing Jack Nicholson out of his courtside seat. Bryant made two free throws and Odom fed Gasol for a jump hook that gave Los Angeles a 51-26 lead.

    It was 51-31 at halftime.

    Notes: The team leading after the first quarter has won all 13 of Houston's postseason games. ... Bynum started at center for the Lakers. Odom, still nursing a bruised lower back, replaced Bynum during a timeout late in the first quarter. ... Perhaps in a sign of pre-game jitters, Scola was being filmed by a TV cameraman in the locker room and put on his jersey backward.

    Copyright 2009 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;">

    Lakers advance scout and assistant coach Rasheed Hazzard sat down with us to preview Game 7 on a step-by-step basis.

    We picked 'Sheed's brain about what to expect from an adjustment perspective, the defensive focus of the Lakers, how Houston's managed to be effective at times, how to involve Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol on the block and more.


    LOS ANGELES (AP) The Western Conference semifinals between the Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets appears to come down to a simple question.

    Which Lakers team will show up for the decisive Game 7?

    The one that blew out the undermanned Rockets by 40 points in Game 5 to set up what most everyone thought would be the clinching game? Or the one that quickly fell behind by double digits two nights later and lost by 15?

    The Lakers, it seems, will be the ones who determine whether Sunday's matinee at Staples Center is a feel-good story or a horror show.

    The winner of this physical, sometimes-testy series will advance to the conference finals to face the Denver Nuggets, who've been resting since eliminating Dallas on Wednesday night.

    Kobe Bryant admits it's a mystery why the Lakers have been so wildly inconsistent against a team few expected would reach the second round, let alone push the top seed in the West to a Game 7.

    "Yeah, that's the million-dollar question,'' Bryant said Saturday. "There's a bunch of other teams in the past that went through the same thing for whatever reason. It's just the emotions of an NBA season, I guess.''

    Bryant expects to see "the team that won all those games this year. We're continuing to evolve, too.

    "I think the second half of that game in Houston we picked up our defensive intensity and saw kind of what we're capable of by playing as hard as we did on the defensive end,'' Bryant said. "Hopefully we'll get off to a hot start.''

    After being outmuscled by the now-sidelined Yao Ming in the opener at home, the Lakers dominated Games 2, 3 and 5. Los Angeles was twice embarrassed in Texas by a Rockets team that's been without Tracy McGrady since February, backup center Dikembe Mutombo since the first round and Yao since he broke a bone in his left foot in Game 3 of this series. Chuck Hayes, a 6-foot-6 forward who's now the Rockets' starting center, is a full foot shorter than Yao.

    Lakers coach Phil Jackson acknowledged before Game 5 his team has a split personality.

    "This team has a Jekyll and Hyde in it a little bit, I'll admit that,'' Jackson said. "They have a tendency to get on their heels at times as a basketball team, but they've always responded.''

    It's just that there's no more room for error for a team that allows itself to be dominated in the paint one game and then does the dominating the next; lets Rockets point guard Aaron Brooks penetrate at will one night and then controls him the next time they meet; or sees the largely ineffective Andrew Bynum score 14 points in Game 5 and then zero in Game 6.

    Bryant said there's "a lot'' of pressure on the Lakers. "But this is what we do so, we're supposed to be here and as players you have to respond. If you're going to be an NBA champion, you've got to be able to respond to situations like this.''

    Going against popular opinion, Jackson thinks Game 7 will be about which Rockets team shows up.

    "They've been the provocateur and they've been the one that has been the team that goes out and makes a decided difference in games,'' Jackson said. "Their activity level was certainly much greater in games 4 and 6.''

    A quick start will be important. The team leading after the first quarter has won all 12 of Houston's postseason games.

    "It's going to be crazy,'' Houston coach Rick Adelman said. "They're going to come out and try to put a hit on us early. They're going to try to attack us inside early. I know Kobe will be aggressive. It's all about seeing how much we've grown. I think we're ready to play.''

    That said, "I'm not going to have a lot of patience,'' Adelman added. "Guys off the bench, they have to perform. There's no tomorrow in this situation.''

    The Rockets have played loose in this series, and at times with more energy than the Lakers.

    "I fully expect us to play a good game tomorrow,'' Adelman said.

    Luis Scola, who had 24 points and 12 rebounds in Game 6, expects a close game.

    "It's not time for any mistakes. We've got to do everything right,'' Scola said.

    Yes, the Lakers are disappointed they didn't take care of business earlier.

    "Ain't nothing we can do about it. Nothing. We just got to come out and play,'' Bryant said.

    Teammate Pau Gasol said the Lakers need to control Brooks, be aggressive and enjoy their home-court advantage.

    "Game 7, playing at home, it's something you deserve and earned in case of getting to this position,'' he said. "It will be pressure, but at the same time we're a good team to respond to that by playing hard, playing well and winning. That's the bottom line.''

    Copyright 2009 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

    So here we are…as the TNT promo says, “Win or Go Home.” The question is, what do we need to do to secure the victory and move on to the conference finals. Houston Rockets AngleThere are some definite defensive areas that we need to improve in order to win. The obvious first one is to contain Aaron Brooks and limit his penetrations. We have been able to do this in the games this series that we won. We know they will run a variety of screen and rolls for him and we must be ready to combat these. One of the most basic but one of the most dangerous is simply called “ANGLE”. This one keeps the floor spread and allows Brooks and the screener to change the angle of the screen and attack from different ways. If all five defenders are not on the same page then there will be an easy scoring opportunity for someone if Brooks makes the right decision. It is up to us as a defensive unit to help each other and stop this facet of their game.

    The post up game of the Rockets has hurt us in the losses this series. Scola, Artest, and Landry all have the ability to score from down on the block. One of the keys for us is that our individual post defenders need to do their work early so the offensive player cannot simply walk down to the post position and receive the ball exactly where they want to. That is basically what happened in game 6 and we paid the price. Houston Rockets PostPart of the theory behind this approach is that if an offensive player has to devote a significant amount of energy to simply receive the ball that will help limit how productive they will be in actually making a move and scoring. This will take its toll as the game wears on. Scola gets a lot of post touches running hard in transition so our bigs must run with him. Artest gets a lot of post touches within their offense whether through their slice action or out of their “42” set. The 42 is a play that starts with Artest on the weakside. On the strong side there is a zipper cut to the top where the point will swing the ball. That player can either swing it again to a big at the elbow or he can dribble it out and drop the ball to Artest. If we have to double team a player on the post our defense must work together or we will give up open shots.

    The final aspect that we keep focusing on is that old cliché, No Rebounds, No Rings. We absolutely must do the job on the boards if we want to win and move on in our quest for a championship. Read the full scouting report here..



  • This will be the Lakers 22nd Game 7 in franchise history. The Lakers are 13-8 in Game 7 (any round) all-time. (11-7 Los Angeles, 2-1 Minneapolis)
  • In Game 7 HOME games, the Lakers are 12-1 all-time (10-1 Los Angeles, 2-0 Minneapolis) The Lakers have won 8 straight Game 7 HOME games, with their last loss coming in the 1969 NBA Finals vs. Boston (106-108)
  • In Game 7, Jackson is 4-3 all-time (2-1 Los Angeles, 2-2 Chicago).
  • In Game 7 HOME games, Jackson is 3-0 all-time (1-0 Los Angeles, 2-0 Chicago).
  • When leading 3-2 and having the series taken to a Game 7, the Lakers are 10-5 all-time (8-4 Los Angeles, 2-1 Minneapolis)
  • Last Game 7: 2006 Western Conference First Round 5/6/06 @ Phoenix (90-121)
  • Last Game 7 win: 2002 Western Conference Finals 6/2/02 @ Sacramento (112-106 OT)
  • Last HOME Game 7: 2000 Western Conference Finals 6/4/00 vs. Portland (89-84)

    The Lakers are 40-41 in postseason elimination games (games in which a loss would end a Lakers playoff run), going 31-35 since moving to Los Angeles and 9-6 while playing in Minneapolis. The Lakers are 5-5 in their last 10 elimination games: Game 6 of the 2008 NBA Finals at Boston (loss), Game 5 of the 2008 NBA Finals vs. Boston (win), Game 5 of the 2007 WC First Round at Phoenix (loss), Game 7 of the 2006 WC First Round at Phoenix (loss), Game 5 of the 2004 NBA Finals at Detroit (loss), Game 6 of the 2003 WC Semis versus San Antonio (loss), Game 7 of the 2002 WC Finals at Sacramento (win), Game 6 of the 2002 WC Finals vs. Sacramento (win), Game 7 of the 2000 WC Finals vs. Portland (win) and Game 5 of the 2000 WC First Round vs. Sacramento (win). Lakers head coach Phil Jackson has coached in 17 elimination games - 1990 Eastern Conference Finals (twice), 1992 EC Semis, 1994 EC Semis (twice), 1995 EC Semis, 1998 EC Finals, 2000 WC First Round, 2000 WC Finals, 2002 WC Finals (twice), 2003 WC Semis, 2004 NBA Finals, 2006 WC First Round, 2007 WC First Round, 2008 NBA Finals (twice) - leading his teams to victory in nine of those games (9-8).

    With a 3-2 series lead entering Game 6 at Houston, the Lakers missed their FIRST opportunity to close out their Western Conference Semifinals series with the Rockets and advance to the Western Conference Finals. Including their Game 5 First Round victory over Utah on April 27, the Lakers had closed out their opponent on the first attempt FOUR straight times before the Game 6 loss to Houston. The Lakers Game 6 loss represents just the THIRD time since 2001 that they have failed to close out an opponent when first given the chance (5/2/06 @ Phoenix, 5/29/04 @ Minnesota). The Lakers have now closed out an opponent on the FIRST try 15 times in their last 18 opportunities dating back to 2001. Under head coach Phil Jackson, the Lakers have closed out their opponent on the first attempt 15 times in 22 overall opportunities. Overall, under head coach Phil Jackson, the Lakers are now 20-11 in close-out games. The Lakers have won 25 of their last 26 series when holding the opportunity to close-out at any point. Their last series loss when having a close-out game came in 2006 when the Lakers squandered a 3-1 series lead against the Phoenix Suns. Prior to that, the Lakers had not lost a series when having a close-out game since the 1993 First Round vs. Phoenix in which they led 2-0 before losing the next three.

    Since moving to STAPLES Center prior to the 1999-2000 season, the Lakers have won 83% of their postseason games (58-12). The Lakers have topped the century mark in over half of their postseason home games at STAPLES Center (39-of-70) while the opposition has been held under 100 points in all but 19 of those games. In their last 33 home playoff games, the Lakers are 28-5.

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