Lakers Gameday | 11/04/09 | Rockets
Play by Play
- GAME RECAP
- GAME PREVIEW
- INJURY REPORT
- GAME NOTES
Kobe, Bynum lead Lakers to second straight OT victoryMichael Murphy, for NBA.com
HOUSTON (NBA.com exclusive) -- Wednesday's game at Toyota Center was played up as a matchup between the Rockets' Trevor Ariza and the Lakers' Ron Artest, a pair of free agents who swapped teams in the offseason.
Oh, and the Lakers also had a guy named Kobe Bryant that drew a bit of attention.
But what drew the sellout crowd of 18,291 fans was far more compelling -- watching the NBA's loftiest example of aristocracy, the world champion Lakers, take on the league's most democratic team in the Rockets.
Score another one for the upper class.
The Lakers had to go overtime for the second consecutive night, but got 41 points from Bryant and key plays from Andrew Bynum to escape with a 103-102 victory over the Rockets.
"That was experience [at] winning games," said Lamar Odom when asked to explain how the Lakers managed to pull out the win. "That was just toughing it out. We hung in there and hung in there. Everyone hung in there."
Indeed, the Lakers had to roll up their exquisitely tailored sleeves and get to work, especially Bryant and Bynum.
Bryant scored six of his points in the extra session and was especially pleased to have former Rockets star Hakeem Olajuwon sitting at midcourt to witness the exhibition. Bryant, looking to hone his post moves, worked with Olajuwon in the offseason, and he showed off what he learned by taking the Rockets' Shane Battier, their designated Kobe defender, down low on several possessions.
"Hakeem was very pleased with what I was doing," said Bryant after a postgame visit from Olajuwon. "It was an honor for me to have the opportunity to work with him, and I want to make him proud."
Funny, but if you had asked the Rockets, they probably would have thought that Bynum was the one who benefitted from some offseason tutoring from Olajuwon. Bynum, who finished with 17 points and 17 rebounds despite nursing a sprained right elbow, knocked down three free throws in the final 44 seconds of overtime to seal the win.
"I feel fine," said Bynum, who added three blocks and a team-high five assists. "I tried to play defense the entire game. The elbow [hurts]. I can hardly lift it up."
Lifting the Lakers to the win was quite enough on this night.
For the Rockets, the loss was a dagger.
Just like in last year's playoffs, when Houston extended the Lakers to seven games despite crippling injuries, the Rockets gave the Lakers everything they had. But just like last year's playoffs, it wasn't quite enough.
"I thought we should have won," said Rockets coach Rick Adelman. "I thought we had a great chance of winning. I thought we should have won, but things happen and you have to move on."
Because of injuries to superstars Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady, the Rockets have adopted an all-for-one, one-for-all approach to the game. Rather than one player scoring 50, the Rockets prefer to have four players each score 13. That was again the case against the Lakers, with the Rockets placing six players in double figures, led by Carl Landry's 20 points. And with 6-6 center Chuck Hayes (14 points, 14 rebounds) leading the way, the Rockets finished with a 54-48 edge off the glass.
"They play hard," Bryant said. "We knew coming in that they were going to play extremely, extremely hard. And that's what they did. They have some players... They have some guys who can hurt you."
But in the end, the Lakers had two things the Rockets did not possess -- Bryant and a 7-foot dominator in the post.
"When he plays like that, it makes it very difficult to try and defend us," said Bryant of Bynum. "Especially when we're going to him on the block and they have to double. It's tough, because he's so long that when he catches it up high you have no choice but to foul him."
The Lakers appeared to have won the game when Artest drilled a 3-pointer with 30 seconds to play for a 92-89 lead. But in what Jackson termed "poetic justice," the Rockets got a 3-pointer from Ariza with 14.2 seconds left that forced overtime.
"I didn't even think about it. I really didn't," said Ariza of his game-tying shot. "I just know I hit the 3 to tie the game and take it into overtime."
And that's when the Lakers, who were just one day removed from an overtime win at Oklahoma City, got to work. Again.
"We had to tough it out," said Artest, who finished with 15 points. "It was a hard game. It wasn't the type of game we wanted to play, but we showed mental toughness."
COACH PHIL JACKSON
(on the game) “Defensively we stood up pretty well. We were able to make some plays but I was pleased with our defense. I thought we had the game in hand at the jump ball and things really turned in their favor. It was a great game all the way around. We had to keep fighting back. A big shot by Ron (Artest) and I thought it would be a game winner. Fish (Derek Fisher) is a scrappy player and he puts his mark on the game either offensively or defensively.”
(on Artest – Ariza match-up) “I thought it was poetic justice that they both had excellent opportunities to try and help their team win.”
(on Hakeem working with him on his post-up moves) “Hakeem was very pleased with what I was doing. It was an honor for me to have the opportunity to work with him and I want to make him proud of what I learned. I have wanted to work with him in the past but the timing was right this year. I got a chance to work with the greatest post player ever. I've always been a student of the game and he was very patient with me. I was ecstatic. It was like when I was a little kid and opening my Christmas presents.
(on the game) “We had to tough it out. It was a hard game. It wasn't the type of game we wanted to play. We showed mental toughness. Physically we didn't push it as much as we wanted to.”
(on returning to Houston) “I was only here one year and really didn't do nothing. I didn't expect anything but to come out here and see Kobe get his 50.”
(on his 3-pointer near the end of the game) “I was semi-open and I just knocked it down. It was cool. You like to have moments like that. It was a lot of fun.”
(on his play and injury) “I feel fine. I'm ready to play and in good condition. I played defense the entire game. The elbow sucks. I can hardly lift it up. We'll take pictures and we will see what they say. They took a whack at me and that was that.”
(on the game) “Experience was the key. We toughed it out at the end. Kobe took over the game and really helped us spread the court.”
ROCKETS COACH RICK ADELMAN
(On the game) “I thought we should have won. I thought we had a great chance of winning. I thought we should have won but things happen and you’ve got to move on. You’ve got to learn from what happened tonight and do a little bit better down the stretch next time we play. “
(On the Lakers) “We’ve talked about this. They (Lakers) have one of the best finishes in the game and we’re trying to figure that out. I think our guys competed. I think they tried to do everything they could. We couldn’t get it done. We just need to try and get the win on Friday.”
(On the loss) ”It was a tough loss. Guys played their heart out. We gave them all they could handle. We just didn’t make enough plays down the stretch in overtime.”
(On what went wrong) “We really stopped attacking. We have to be an attacking team and we tried to just go into isolation mode and run pick and roll. We are at our best when we are in the open court attacking, taking 3’s, attacking the basket and we sort of got away from that and we have to do that every night no matter who we are playing.”
(On the level of emotion in the game against his former team) “I wanted to win. We fought really hard to win and we took it to overtime. They (Lakers) wanted to win too. I thought it was a really good game.”
(On the last play of the game) “I looked up on the clock and I saw that there was 4 seconds left in the game. I tried to get a good look and the ball got stripped. ”
(On the 3 pointer to take them to OT) “I didn’t even think about it. I really didn’t. I just know I hit the 3 to tie the game and take it into overtime.”
(On the loss) ”It’s definitely a pretty tough loss. I think it was a pretty good game. We couldn’t close it and we lost. I think if we play this way, the way we played today and the way we’ve played the last few games, I think we’re going to win a lot of games.”
(On Kobe Bryant) “He is going to takeover and you know that. We did every possible thing to stop him at the end but he’s just too good.”
(On dealing with the loss) “We played hard, as hard as any game you can play, and to come up short hurts. You’ve got to move on. It comes with this job and it comes with this league. You look at the effort that we put and try to duplicate that for the next few games.”
(On the Lakers) “It’s the Lakers. They are the defending champs. They’re going to play hard. We’re going to give our best effort and because of that, there are a lot of emotions.”
Lakers vs. Rockets Game Preview
By MATT BEARDMORE, STATS Writer
Ron Artest is still trying to get comfortable with the Los Angeles Lakers' triangle offense, but the 2004 defensive player of the year is as usual having no problem on the other end of the floor.
Artest and the Lakers play their first road game of the season Tuesday night, when they look to win their 10th straight over the Oklahoma City Thunder franchise.
Artest, who signed a five-year deal with Los Angeles in the offseason, is averaging 8.3 points on 32.1 percent shooting - far below his career averages of 16.1 and 42.2 heading into 2009-10.
"You can't look at the numbers," Lakers guard Kobe Bryant said following Sunday's 118-110 win over Atlanta. "Obviously, we know he's capable of putting up big numbers. But tonight his defense was outstanding."
After Joe Johnson scored 18 first-quarter points, Artest helped the Lakers (2-1) limit the Hawks' star guard to nine over the final 36 minutes.
"We picked up our intensity, and it all started with No. 37,'' Bryant said of Artest. "He picked up the energy level defensively, and I told him the game was on him. I felt like the energy really changed the whole complexity of the game, and we all kind of rallied behind him.''
While Artest could be called on to defend Thunder forward Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City has a tall challenge in slowing down Bryant.
That task will likely fall on the shoulders of guard Thabo Sefolosha.
"There's not a lot you can take away from (Bryant) but just make every shot he takes difficult with a hand near his face or close to his shooting hand," Sefolosha told the Thunder's official Web site. "You know he's going to go with different moves. He can do it all. He can penetrate and shoot the outside shot. You can't really take it away, just stay in front of him."
Coming off a 41-point effort against Atlanta - his 97th career 40-point game - Bryant looks for another big performance against the Thunder.
In three wins versus Oklahoma City in 2008-09, Bryant averaged 29.7 points on 49.2 percent shooting.
He scored 19 before sitting the entire fourth quarter of a 107-89 win at Ford Center on March 24. That was the Lakers' ninth straight victory over the Thunder franchise since a 117-101 loss at Seattle on Nov. 5, 2006.
Oklahoma City (2-1) returns to the Ford Center following Sunday's 83-74 home loss to Portland.
Looking for the franchise's first 3-0 start in six seasons, the Thunder shot a season-worst 34.3 percent from the field while committing a season-high 19 turnovers.
"Offense is what killed us tonight,'' Durant said after scoring a season-low 16 points and shooting 3 of 21 from the field. "We didn't take care of the ball, we didn't make shots. I think we made up for it on the defensive end. We put ourselves in a position to win the game, but we've got to score points.''
Durant is 0-7 in his career versus the Lakers, but averaged 29.0 points and 8.7 boards against them in 2008-09.
Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook looks to bounce back from a career-high nine-turnover game against Portland. His 274 turnovers last season were the most in the league, and he had four in each of the three games versus the Lakers.
Los Angeles could again be without Pau Gasol, who has yet to play this season due to a strained right hamstring. Gasol accompanied the team to Oklahoma City, but the results of an MRI from Monday won't be available until Tuesday.
The Lakers were a league-best 29-12 on the road last season.
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Pau Gasol (right hamstring strain) is out.
Luke Walton (sore back) is probable.
Tracy McGrady (microfracture surgery on left knee)
Yao Ming (left foot surgery)
SEASON & SERIES NOTES; CONNECTIONS
The Lakers took last season’s series from the Rockets 4-0, sweeping Houston for the first time since the 2001-02 season (4-0). The two teams have met 184 times with the Lakers holding a 124-60 series advantage (102-54 since the Rockets moved to Houston). The Lakers are 6-4 against the Rockets in their last 10 regular season games. At STAPLES Center, the Lakers are 12-7 all-time against the Rockets during the regular season and 6-4 in their last 10. In Houston, the Lakers are 7-3 in their last 10 regular season road games against the Rockets and are 7-4 all-time at Toyota Center. Under head coach Phil Jackson, the Lakers are 23-11 against Houston in 34 regular season meetings. Kobe Bryant holds the series scoring record with two 53-point games. Both games broke his own series mark of 52 established at STAPLES Center in February of 2003. In 42 career games (37 starts) versus Houston, Bryant is averaging 26.9 points per game. Rockets forward Trevor Ariza was acquired by the Lakers from Orlando in November of 2007, playing 106 regular season games with Los Angeles from 2007-09. Ariza averaged 8.3 points, 4.1 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.54 steals during the regular season but improved his averages to 11.3 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.57 steals and .476 shooting on 3- point field goals while starting all 23 games of the Lakers 2009 championship run. Additionally, Rockets forward Brian Cook was drafted by the Lakers with the 24th pick in the first round of the 2003 NBA Draft. Cook played in 259 games with the Lakers from 2003-07 before being traded to Orlando, averaging 6.6 points and 3.2 rebounds while shooting 39.2 percent on three-point field goals (171-217). Lakers forward Ron Artest played last season in Houston, averaging 17.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.52 steals in 35.5 minutes while setting single season career-highs in 3-point field goals made (153) and attempted (383) in 69 games (55 starts). In the postseason, the Lakers are 5-3 in eight meetings with the Rockets, most recently defeating the Houston 4-3 in the 2009 Western Conference Semifinals.
Since moving to Los Angeles prior to the 1960-61 season, the Lakers are 33-16 in ROAD OPENERS (first road game of the year) after last season’s October 29th victory in an away game against the Los Angeles Clippers. In their last 13 road openers, the Lakers are 11-2 and have won their last four straight overall. Additionally, this will be the fourth time the Lakers have opened their road schedule against the Thunder but the first since the team relocated to Oklahoma City. The Lakers are 1-2 in road openers (first road game of the year) against the Thunder: 89-103 loss (11/4/95), 101-129 loss (11/6/93), 99-98 win (10/10/80, also season opener).
Tuesday’s game in Oklahoma City is the first of a back-to-back set with the Thunder and Rockets. This year, the Lakers will play 20 sets of back-to-back games, the most the team has played in a single season since playing 22 sets of back-to-backs during the 1999-00 campaign. Last year, the Lakers played 19 sets of back-to-backs, going 14-5 in the first game and 14-5 in the second as well.
In the Lakers November 1st victory over Atlanta, Kobe Bryant scored 41 points, marking the 97th time in his career that he has scored 40-plus points in a game and the first time this season. Last season, Bryant posted four 40-plus point games. Bryant’s 46 points February 1, 2008 at Toronto moved him past Elgin Baylor (88 40-plus games) for third all-time and into first in Lakers franchise history. In the history of the NBA, only two players have more career 40-point games: Wilt Chamberlain (271) and Michael Jordan (173). The Lakers are now 66-31 in games that Bryant has scored 40-plus points. This season, the Lakers are 1-0 when Bryant scores 40-plus.
BRYANT 80POINTS SHY OF IVERSON ON ALL-TIME SCORING LIST
With his first two free throws of the Lakers April 10 game at Portland last season, Kobe Bryant moved past Charles Barkley (23,757) for 17th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. Barkley reached his scoring total in 1,073 games over 16 seasons in contrast to Bryant, who did so in his 946th career game. In all last season, Bryant (23,914) passed Robert Parish (23,334) for 18th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list, Adrian Dantley (23,177) for 19th, Elgin Baylor (23,149) for 20th, Clyde Drexler (22,195) for 21st, Gary Payton (21,813) for 22nd and Larry Bird (21,791) for 23rd. Additionally, in passing Baylor, now only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (24,176) and Jerry West (25,192 points) have scored more points with the Lakers than Bryant. Next on the NBA’s all-time list are Allen Iverson (23,994) and Patrick Ewing (24,815).
JACKSON NEARS LARRY BROWN FOR 5th ON THE ALL-TIME COACHING WIN LIST
A season after earning his record 10th NBA Championship as a head coach, Phil Jackson (1,043-436) is now just four wins shy of tying Charlotte Bobcats head coach Larry Brown (1,047-848) for 5th on the NBA’s all-time coaching win list. The only coach in league history to win better than 70 percent of his games (.705), Jackson ranks 12th in all-time regular season games coached and 1st in playoff games coached (300), won (209) and playoff winning percentage (.697). Last season, Jackson became the fastest coach in NBA history to reach 1,000 career victories, needing 1,423 games to reach the mark. Earning induction in his first year of consideration, on September 7, 2007, Jackson was enshrined into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
BRYANT APPROACHES 24,000 POINTS CAREER POINTS
With 23,914 career points, Kobe Bryant now stands 86 points shy of becoming the 15th player in NBA history to score 24,000 points. Should Bryant (31 years, 72 days as of 11/3/09) reach the 24,000-point milestone in roughly the next month, he would become the youngest player in NBA history to score 24,000 points, reaching the milestone ahead of Wilt Chamberlain (31 years, 113 days). In terms of games, of the 15 players to score 24,000 points, Bryant stands to become the 9th fastest to do so, having played 951 games to date. Wilt Chamberlain was the fastest in league history to score 24,000 points, doing so in just 653 games.
Last season, with 34 points February 10 vs. Oklahoma City, Bryant became the youngest player in NBA history to score 23,000 points (30 years, 171 days), reaching the milestone FIVE days younger than Wilt Chamberlain (30 years, 176 days). In terms of games, of the 21 players to score 23,000 points, Bryant was the 11th fastest to do so, reaching the mark in 917 games. Earlier in the year, with 28 points December 2 at Indiana, Bryant became the 22nd player in NBA history to score 22,000 points and in doing so, became the 2nd youngest player ever to 22,000 points (30 years, 101 days), one day older than Wilt Chamberlain (30 years, 100 days) who scored his 22,000th point on 11/26/66. The youngest player in league history to accumulate 14,000 – 20,000 and 23,000 career points, Bryant became the 12th fastest to 22,000 points in terms of games, reaching the mark in 881 career games. Through his career, Bryant has been 29th fastest to 15,000, 22nd fastest to 16,000, 20th fastest to 17,000, 16th fastest to 18,000, 15th fastest to 19,000, 15th fastest to 20,000, 12th fastest to 21,000, 12th fastest to 22,000 and 11th fastest to 23,000 points in terms of games.