Lakers Gameday | 01/05/10 | Rockets
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Lakers beat Rockets 88-79 for 4th straight win
By BETH HARRIS
Posted Jan 06 2010 1:10AM
LOS ANGELES(AP) Andrew Bynum scored 11 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter when the Los Angeles Lakers rallied to beat the Houston Rockets 88-79 on Tuesday night for their fourth consecutive victory.
Kobe Bryant added 22 points, but had just three field goals in the second half when he picked up four fouls. Lamar Odom came up one assist shy of a triple-double, with 17 points and 19 rebounds in the absence of injured Pau Gasol despite a bout of gastroenteritis.
Two nights after their highest-scoring game of season, a 131-96 win over Dallas, the Lakers avenged one of their three home losses with their fewest points in a win this season.
Ron Artest had seven points and seven rebounds for the Lakers after missing five games because of a concussion.
Reserve Carl Landry led the Rockets with 19 points, while Aaron Brooks added 18, Luis Scola 15 and former Laker Trevor Ariza 12.
Houston twice got within two points in the fourth quarter only to have the Lakers regroup and hit key baskets to keep the lead they owned the entire game. Shane Battier sandwiched 3-pointers around a basket by Scola to draw the Rockets to 73-71.
Odom responded with a three-point play, Bryant made a fadeaway jumper and Bynum's hook shot extended the Lakers' lead to 80-73 with 2:09 remaining.
That was part of a 15-8 game-ending run for Los Angeles, which lost to Houston 101-91 at home on Nov. 15.
The Lakers led 53-41, matching their largest lead of the game, on a 3-pointer by Artest. But the Rockets outscored them 14-6, with Scola scoring seven, to get to 59-55 heading into the fourth.
Bryant picked up three quick fouls in the third before sitting down.
He earned his fourth a minute into the final quarter and gave a cold stare to referee Derek Richardson after Ariza's running jumper cut the Lakers' lead to two.
With Artest returning to the starting lineup, the Lakers zipped to a 12-point lead in the first quarter.
Bryant sat down for a breather early in the second, when the Rockets closed to 28-24. But he soon returned and scored nine of the Lakers' final 13 points, extending their lead to 41-33 at halftime.
NOTES: The Lakers will be the visitors Wednesday night against the Clippers, who are 1-9 in the teams' last 10 meetings. The Clippers have won two straight overall. The Lakers won 99-92 on opening night and are seeking their third consecutive season sweep of their hallway rivals. ... The Rockets fell to 0-2 on their three-game trip and have lost three straight on the road.
Copyright 2010 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’ Coach Phil Jackson on tonight’s game:
“Well for a team that scored 130 points the other night looked like it was a struggle for us to score tonight. Pace was much slower. A lot of things happening out there where they stopped our pace and the way we wanted to run it. We were able to finish this game better than I expected.”
On who he thought showed the most energy tonight:
“The guy that was unable to practice yesterday and was pretty sick was the guy that was the star in the game, Lamar Odom. With 19 rebounds he had great energy out there, pursuing the ball and doing the things, 9 assists, you know, 17 points. It was a terrific game.”
On Andrew Bynum’s performance tonight:
“Andrew played as well as he plays, it was a good game for him. We took advantage of him in the post.”
On how the pace of the game was slowed down:
“How the balls came off, the amount of steals, pushed the ball, their ability to get back and cover quickly with the speed of this team. All of those things played into it.”
On Lamar Odom’s performance tonight:
“It makes me very proud of my son, Lamar. He knew we were at a deficit tonight without Pau and DJ was sick, you know, we were short big guys and he stayed in there and fought.”
On Ron Artest’s impact on defense tonight:
“He had part of that, you know, his defense is a part of that. You know he made some bone head play that guys will do coming back, his timing wasn’t quite there, you know he had turnovers but we had a lot of them as a team… But I thought for a first game back I think Ron was OK.”
Lakers’ Kobe Bryant on tonight’s game:
“I thought it was ok, we managed to keep control of the game and we didn’t really have to kick it into a sixth gear or anything like that, we kept control of the tempo which is important.”
On Lamar Odom’s performance:
“He had a great performance, very impressive, he is really locked in. He is doing what we need him to do and he has been playing excellent, focused basketball.”
On playing with sick and injured players:
“We just have to perform, I mean we have a job to do and we just have to go out and do it. You have to play hard and try and play the right way and get the right result.”
Lakers’ Andrew Bynum on his second half performance:
“I just got more touches and I got my touch back around the rim, shots started falling for me and it just got easier from there.”
On if he was happy with his performance tonight:
“Most definitely. I came out and was aggressive and good things happened for me out there.
Lakers’ Ron Artest on being back in the game:
“It feels good, we won tonight and that’s the most important thing. Really I do not care about myself as long as we win.”
On playing the Clippers tomorrow:
“Tomorrow, they are a good team. They put a good team together last year but they had a lot of injuries and trades. It is going to be a tough game. It will be cool, especially if they become a good team. It would be good for LA, Lakers and Clippers.”
Lakers’ Lamar Odom on playing sick tonight:
“I feel a little better. I feel like I am getting better. I slept a long time this afternoon.”
On his role with the Lakers:
“That’s why I stayed with the team, to try to repeat as champions. You never know with the season being so long, injuries just play their way. That’s why it is important to have a strong team depth. I take pride in being a strong six man.”
Rockets’ Coach Rick Adelman on what went wrong for his team tonight:
“We shot very poorly and I thought we settled for threes too quickly. (The Lakers) did a nice job. They dominated the basket area on both ends of the court. We had a hard time with them around the basket. We’ve got to come out better. We’ve got to come out more aggressive. I don’t think we pushed it. We didn’t move well.” and it was pretty obvious that they were trying to go inside on us right off the start. They accomplished that.
On the Lakers ability to get the ball inside:
“It was pretty obvious that they were trying to go inside on us right off the start. They accomplished that.”
On being close enough to have a chance at the end:
“We had our chance. You get yourself in the fourth quarter and a chance to win – that’s what you’re looking for. But we didn’t finish place and they did. Bynum was a handful all night for us.”
On his team forcing the ball on offense:
“I thought we were trying to score too quickly. In the first option coming down the court, we weren’t moving their people at all. That was a problem. Like I said, we battled back and didn’t have enough tonight.”
On the impact of Andrew Bynum:
“He was catching the ball in really deep. I thought we could have done a better job keeping him out. That’s the best I’ve seen him finish against us.”
On Trevor Ariza struggling against the Lakers:
“I think a lot of people have had a little bit of trouble with them. They’re a good team. They’re big, they’re long and they’re smart.”
Houston Rockets’ Trevor Ariza on playing in Los Angeles against the Lakers:
“Well, I’ve done it before. It’s no big deal. Unfortunately, today we didn’t win.”
On whether the Rockets’ were prepared to go against the large Lakers lineup under the basket:
“Well we knew they were going to be big. You know, we don’t have the size for them so we tried to do other things, like team rebounds, game rebounds and all that. But they were quicker to the ball than we were tonight. Andrew is just too big for us right now.”
Houston Rockets’ Aaron Brooks on tonight’s game:
“I don’t know. We were one of fourteen in the first half. At the three-point line, some of them were good shots, some of them weren’t. We did have some good rips. We just shot the ball very sluggishly today. Who knows what it was but we kept ourselves in the game.”
On not be able to get over the ‘hump’ in tonight’s game:
“Definitely, definitely. I feel like we had open shots and we didn’t capitalize on their mistakes. They did just enough to keep us away. You don’t like to lose games like that in that type of way where you have opportunities to make a push or make a run and you’re just sitting there. Every time out, we’re saying ‘lets go, lets go’ and we could never win. They did a good job defending us.”
Houston Rockets’ Shane Battier on the Rockets’ play in tonight’s game:
“Sluggish. We weren’t capable of keeping anything going. In the third quarter, we showed a little more light. Sluggish game all the way through.”
On whether the Lakers’ win in tonight’s game was ‘stolen’ due to the close score:
“Uh, in retrospect. But to beat the world champs, you have to play well. And we just didn’t play well enough. So in retrospect, you can say yea, Kobe only made 23, we held them under 90 points. That’s a game we should’ve won, but to beat the Lakers in Los Angeles, you have to play really well and we didn’t have that effort.
Lakers vs. Rockets Game Preview
By MATT BEARDMORE
Posted Jan 04 2010 9:21PM
Just as Ron Artest may be ready return from injury, the Los Angeles Lakers might be without Pau Gasol.
With the status of both key players in flux, the Western Conference-leading Lakers seek to avenge one of their three home losses Tuesday night when they face the Houston Rockets at Staples Center.
Following Los Angeles' 102-87 home loss to Cleveland on Christmas Day, Artest tripped over a box and fell down a set of stairs at his home, suffering a concussion and injuring his left elbow. The Lakers (27-6) have allowed an average of 108.6 points during the defensive specialist's five-game absence.
Artest, though, could return to face his former team after participating in Monday's entire practice.
"It's up to (Lakers coach) Phil (Jackson). I'm not sure where Phil's at," said Artest, who added that he hasn't experienced any dizziness in the last three days. "I don't want to put words in his mouth, but I feel good."
It's a different story for Gasol, who is doubtful for Tuesday after suffering a mild to moderate left hamstring strain in the first quarter of Sunday's 131-96 rout of Dallas.
Gasol missed the first 11 games this season - including both previous meetings with Houston - with a strained right hamstring.
"We just pick up for one another ... guys have to be more focused and ready to go," Kobe Bryant said Monday. "We'll be fine."
If Gasol and his 16.8 points per game are missing, Bryant could be forced to shoulder even more of the scoring load. The league's leading scorer at 30.2 per game, Bryant aggravated a groin injury in the first quarter of a 101-91 home loss to the Rockets on Nov. 15. He finished with 18 points while shooting 5 of 20.
The Rockets (20-14) took advantage of Bryant's rough outing to snap a five-game losing streak in this series. Aaron Brooks hit five 3-pointers and scored a career-best 33 points.
That defeat was one of only three in 22 home games for the Lakers, who have also lost to the Cavaliers and Mavericks at Staples. Their 19-3 home record is the best in the league. Los Angeles is also the only club to have already played the majority of its home games.
Bryant, who scored 41 in a 103-102 overtime victory in Houston on Nov. 4, needs one more point to pass Patrick Ewing for 15th on the all-time list with 24,816.
Playing in Houston for the first time since signing with the Lakers in the offseason, Artest had 15 points and six rebounds in the Nov. 4 matchup and guarded former Laker Trevor Ariza, who signed with Houston last summer after helping Los Angeles win the championship. Artest and Ariza picked up offsetting technical fouls in that game. During the teams' meeting at Staples, Artest tossed Ariza's shoe off the floor after Ariza lost it.
Ariza has not fared well in the two games against his former Los Angeles teammates, scoring 12.0 points per game on 21.2 percent shooting. While Ariza admitted Houston will face a much stiffer challenge - especially in the paint - if Artest and Gasol return, he expects the Rockets to bounce back from Saturday's 99-95 defeat at New Orleans.
"We're a good team. We find ways to win," Ariza said. "That's what we're going to do."
The Lakers' Lamar Odom missed Monday's practice with stomach pain but is expected to play Tuesday. While starting the last five games in place of Artest, Odom has averaged 13.6 points and 12.8 boards.
The Rockets host the Lakers on March 27 in the teams' final regular-season meeting.
Copyright 2010 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
Ron Artest (laceration to head and left elbow) is doubtful.
Kobe Bryant (avulsion fracture, right index finger) will play.
Pau Gasol (strained left hamstring) is doubtful.
Lamar Odom (gastroenteritis) is questionable.
Luke Walton (pinched nerve, back) is out.
Chase Budinger (right ankle sprain)
Tracy McGrady (NWT-microfracture surgery on left knee)
Yao Ming (left foot surgery) is out.
SEASON & SERIES NOTES; CONNECTIONS
The Lakers have split the first two games of their season series with Houston 1-1 with two games still to play. The Lakers swept last season’s series with the Rockets 4-0 for the first time since 2001-02 (4-0). The two teams have met 186 times in all with the Lakers holding a 125-61 series advantage (103-55 since the Rockets moved to Houston). The Lakers are 6-4 against the Rockets in their last 10 games overall but have gone 6-2 in their last eight meetings with Houston. At STAPLES Center, the Lakers are 12-8 all-time against the Rockets and 5-5 in their last 10. In Houston, the Lakers are 7-3 in their last 10 road games and are 8-4 all-time at Toyota Center. Under head coach Phil Jackson, the Lakers are 25- 11 against Houston in 36 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 44 career games (39 starts) versus Houston, Bryant is now averaging 27.0 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 his Laker career in the regular season but improved his averages during the 2009 Playoffs 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 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, averaging 6.6 points and 3.2 rebounds. 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.
BRYANT TIES PATRICK EWING FOR 15th ON NBA’S ALL-TIME SCORING LIST
With 15 points 1/3 vs. Dallas, Kobe Bryant (24,815) moved into a tie with Patrick Ewing (24,815) for 15th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. Earlier this season, with 41 points November 6th against Memphis, Bryant moved past Allen Iverson for 16th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. Bryant has been steadily moving up the list the last few years and last season alone, moved past Charles Barkley (23,757) for 17th, Robert Parish (23,334) for 18th, 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. Next on the NBA’s all-time list ahead of Bryant (24,815) and Ewing (24,815) are Jerry West (14th/25,192) and Reggie Miller (13th/25,279).
Additionally, with his free throw at the 6:07 mark of the third quarter November 19th vs. Chicago, Bryant moved past Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (24,176) for 2nd on the Lakers all-time franchise scoring list. While only Jerry West (25,192) has scored more points with the Lakers than Bryant (24,815), at his current scoring average (30.2 ppg), Bryant would surpass West approximately 13 games from now 1/27/10 at Indiana.
BYNUM PERFECT FROM THE FIELD
In the Lakers 131-94 victory over the Dallas Mavericks January 3, Andrew Bynum (19 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists) converted each of his eight field goal attempts, becoming the first Laker to enjoy a perfect night from the field with a minimum of eight attempts since Nick Van Exel went 9-for-9 from the field 11/16/97 against the Vancouver Grizzlies. In the history of the franchise, only four Lakers (Abdul-Jabbar twice) have made 10 or more field goals without a miss. Wilt Chamberlain holds the franchise record with a 14-for-14 effort 3/11/69 vs. Detroit. Bynum’s previous best night without a miss was a 7-for-7 shooting night 4/1/07 vs. Sacramento.
LAKERS POST LARGEST COMEBACK VICTORY SINCE 2006
Despite giving up a season-high 64 points in the first half and falling behind by as many as 20 points in the second quarter, the Lakers came back to defeat the Sacramento Kings 109-108 on a buzzer beating three-pointer by Kobe Bryant on January 1, 2010. The 20-point comeback marks the Lakers largest come from behind victory since 12/15/06, when they defeated the Houston Rockets 112-101 in double-overtime after trailing by as many as 21 points.
WITH OR WITHOUT PAU
After missing the Lakers first 11 games of 2009-10 with a strained right hamstring, Pau Gasol made his season debut 11/19 vs. Chicago. In the 22 games with Pau in the lineup this season, the Lakers are 19-3 while defeating teams by an average of 9.9 points per game (218). Additionally, in games which Gasol has played, all five starters have scored in double-figures five times and five or more Lakers have posted double-figures 13 times. In the first 11 games of the season without him in the lineup, not once did either occur. In games played without Gasol since he joined the Lakers, Los Angeles is 15-7 overall (6-4 in 2007-08, 1-0 in 2008-09 and 8-3 in 2009-10). With Gasol in the lineup, the Lakers are 105-25 (.808) in the regular season since he joined the team in February of 2008 (22-5 in 2007-08, 64-17 in 2008-09 and 19-3 in 2009- 10) and 30-14 (.682) in the playoffs.
Tuesday’s game against the Rockets is the first of a back-to-back set with Houston and the LA Clippers. This season, the Lakers are 6-2 in the first game and 6-2 in the second game of back-to-backs. On the 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. Charlotte, Detroit and Milwaukee lead the league with 23 back-to-backs each in 2009-10 while New Orleans (15) and San Antonio (17) will play the fewest sets this season.
BRYANT NAMED PLAYER OF THE WEEK FOR 27th TIME, FURTHER PASSES JORDAN FOR MOST POW AWARDS ALL-TIME
After three Western Conference Player of the Week awards in each of the past two seasons, Kobe Bryant earned his THIRD WC Player of the week award this season (2nd consecutive) for games played Monday, December 21 through Sunday, December 27. The award is the 27th of Bryant’s career (25 Western Conference POW, 2 NBA POW), further passing Michael Jordan (23 NBA POW, 2 Eastern Conference POW) for the most Player of the Week Awards all-time while further surpassing Magic Johnson’s 18 NBA POW awards as the franchise’s all-time leader. Jordan and Johnson, however, earned the majority/all of their Player of the Week nods before the award was separated by Conference prior to the 2001-02 season. Since the Player of the Week was separated by Conference, Bryant’s 25 awards rank first among all players, three ahead of LeBron James (22).
Bryant paced the league in scoring, averaging 37.7 points, 8.0 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 2.7 steals, leading the Lakers to a 2-1 week. Leading the Lakers in scoring in all three contests, on December 22, Bryant posted his 102nd career 40-point game (40) to go along with eight rebounds, six assists and two steals in a 111-108 win over Oklahoma City. The award marks Bryant’s third Player of the Week nod this season and his second consecutive week earning the honor.
This is the 25th time Bryant has earned POW honors (11/4/01, 1/20/02, 11/3/02, 12/8/02, 1/12/03, 2/2/03, 2/23/03, 2/17/04, 3/22/04, 11/13/05, 12/18/05, 12/25/05, 1/22/06, 4/16/06, 3/18/07, 3/25/07, 1/13/08, 3/2/08, 4/6/08, 12/28/08, 1/11/09, 3/15/09, 11/22/09, 12/20/09, 12/27/09) since the award was separated by Conference. He has twice earned NBA Player of the Week honors (4/16/00, 12/24/00), giving him 27 total career POW awards. The NBA began the Player of the Week award in 1979-80.