Lakers Gameday | 05/04/09 | Rockets 100, Lakers 92

Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Houston Rockets 21 22 27 30 100
Los Angeles Lakers 18 22 27 25 92
Lakers Game Leaders
Kobe Bryant Kobe Bryant
32 Points
Field Goals: 14 of 31
FG: 45%
Pau GasolPau Gasol
13 Rebounds
Defensive: 8
Offensive: 5
Pau Gasol
Pau Gasol
4 Assists
14 Points
Turnovers: 4
Jordan FarmarJordan Farmar
3 Points
Turnovers: 0


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    Post-Game Numbers
  • 50 - Points in the paint for the Lakers, 12 more than the Rockets. It was the (lack of) triples that killed L.A.
  • 40 - L.A.’s shooting percentage in a rather sluggish first half after the Lakers had six straight days without a game, during which time the Rockets played twice.
  • 28 - Points averaged by Kobe Bryant in four regular season games against the Rockets. He scored 32 points this evening, but needed 31 attempts to get there a day after missing practice with a sore throat.
  • 11.8 - L.A.’s three-point percentage (2-of-17).
  • 10 - Free throws made by Yao Ming in as many attempts, including 8-of-8 in the fourth quarter.
  • 9 - Points for Rockets point guard Aaron Brooks in the third quarter, including two layups at the rim that broke down L.A.’s defense. As a result, Phil Jackson inserted Jordan Farmar into the game for his first appearance.
    --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

    Yao Ming
    Y. Ming

    Lakers Gameday Articles and Updates
    Yao, Rockets beat Lakers in physical Game 1

    LOS ANGELES(AP) Blood flowed, players were sprawled on the court and the Houston Rockets came into Staples Center and outmuscled Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals.

    Yao Ming, who briefly left with a knee injury in the closing minutes, had 28 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Rockets to a physical 100-92 victory in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals.

    Ron Artest added 21 points and Aaron Brooks had 19 for the Rockets, who are in the second round since 1997.

    Bryant, who finished a distant second to LeBron James in NBA MVP voting announced earlier Monday, scored 32 points, doing his best to keep the Lakers in the game despite missing practice on Sunday with a sore throat. He scored 22 of the Lakers' final 42 points.

    Houston forward Shane Battier needed four stitches to close a gash over his left eye late in the first quarter.

    Although the Rockets took the brunt of the hits, Yao was too much for the Lakers. The Rockets were much livelier on offense and wrested away homecourt advantage from the top-seeded Lakers.

    Game 2 is Wednesday night in Los Angeles.

    Bryant drove on Yao in the key and the two collided, with Yao falling to the court. Los Angeles' Pau Gasol picked up the ball for a slam dunk that pulled the Lakers to 85-79 with 4:54 left.

    Yao grabbed his knee and grimaced in pain as he sat on the court. After being tended to, he limped off the court. Moments later, after stretching his knee in the tunnel, he was back in the game.

    Yao had eight points after coming back; a jumper and six free throws. He made all 10 of his free throws.

    Battier was cut over his left eye and had blood streaming down his face in the closing seconds of the first quarter. He was hit when Los Angeles' Sasha Vujacic swatted a loose ball out to Bryant. The force of the impact knocked Battier to the ground.

    Workers spent a few minutes wiping blood off the court.

    Battier returned late in the second quarter.

    Earlier in the quarter, the Lakers' Pau Gasol had trainers work on a cut over his left eye, and Gasol returned to the game, finishing with 14 points and 13 rebounds.

    The Lakers trailed 59-50 with just less than 6 minutes left in the third quarter after Artest hit a 3-pointer. Bryant scored 11 of the Lakers' last 14 points in the quarter, which ended with the Rockets ahead 70-67.

    Bryant made three jumpers in just over than 2 minutes, helping keep the Lakers close as both Yao and Brooks drove the baseline for dunks.

    Notes: Andrew Bynum of the Lakers started but drew two fouls in the first 3 minutes and was replaced by Lamar Odom. ... The Lakers were 4-0 against the Rockets during the regular season.

    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

    Check out Lakers Assistant Coach Jim Cleamons talk with Reporter Mike Trudell on what new challenges the Lakers face going against the Houston Rockets.


    LOS ANGELES (AP) Kobe Bryant missed practice Sunday because of a sore throat, which raised few worries among the Los Angeles Lakers.

    If anything, it might just mean a little less trash talk between Bryant and Ron Artest when the Lakers host the Houston Rockets in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals on Monday night.

    "We know when it's game time he's going to come out and be ready to play no matter what's going on,'' teammate Shannon Brown said. "It's definitely going to take more than a sore throat. "He's got to be missing some limbs for him not to come out there and be ready to play the game.''

    The top-seeded Lakers were off a week after eliminating the Utah Jazz in five games and waiting for the fifth-seeded Rockets to finish off Portland in six games. Houston advanced to the second round for the first time since 1997.

    The most intriguing matchup, of course, will be Bryant, the reigning league MVP, against Artest and Shane Battier.

    Bryant and Artest shoved and jawed their way through a 102-96 Lakers victory at Houston on March 11.

    "It wasn't much of a battle,'' Bryant said after scoring 37 points that night. "I kicked his (butt) tonight.''

    Los Angeles won the season series 4-0, dominating the fourth quarter of each game. Bryant averaged 28.3 points.

    "I can see us playing better. The first time we played them T-Mac was hurt,'' Artest said, referring to Tracy McGrady. "One time we played them at home I didn't play. The next time we played them in L.A. we just got rid of Rafer (Alston), a new team. The last time we played them in L.A., that was a good game. We finally had our team, but they still got us in the fourth quarter.''

    The Rockets were all but written off when McGrady had season-ending knee surgery in February.

    "I think we'll do it now,'' Artest said. "It wasn't only the Lakers, it was also Memphis and Minnesota, Dallas, Chicago where we didn't execute in the fourth.''

    In a recent TV interview, Artest called Portland guard Brandon Roy "the best player I've played against.'' Better than Bryant and Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James? Artest reiterated his initial statement.

    On Saturday, Bryant remained relatively quiet about playing against Artest.

    "It's fun,'' Bryant said. "He's obviously a great defensive player so I look forward to it.''

    The Rockets talked about their late-game struggles against the Lakers.

    "They really took it to us in the fourth quarter,'' coach Rick Adelman said. "We were in every game at the end of three and the fourth quarter they dominated. They really turned it up a notch. Usually in all four games Kobe really got aggressive. So it's pretty constant.

    "You have to make him work for everything. You're not going to stop him, you're not going to shut him down, but you've got to make him work. That's the advantage we have, throw both guys (Battier and Artest) at him and maybe we can wear him down a little bit.

    "It's a team thing. The team has to be in position to help.''

    On the flip side, the Lakers had three second-half letdowns against the Jazz, including blowing a 13-point third-quarter lead in Game 3 and losing by two points. Even in the clincher, with a number of subs in, they let the Jazz shave a 22-point lead down to six before winning 107-96.

    Derek Fisher, for one, is sure the Lakers won't be overconfident and complacent.

    "I just think the way our season ended last season, just all puts us in the same boat of not wanting our season to end where we lost our last game,'' Fisher said, referring to losing the NBA finals in six games to the Celtics. "So even if there are moments of complacency or where it appears there's not a sense of urgency, we believe strongly and collectively that that's not the case.

    Andrew Bynum, the Lakers' former starting center, could see more playing time to help defend Yao Ming. He played just 15 minutes per game against Utah as he tried to regain form following a long absence because of a knee injury. His performances were subpar.

    "I think he's really revved up for this,'' coach Phil Jackson said. "He's excited about it and we hope that he stays under control and remembers his principles about defense and rebounding, and the offense will just come.''

    Yao's pumped, too. Asked if he likes the Rockets being big underdogs, he asked, "What is an underdog?''

    When told it meant people expect them to lose, Yao said: "I'm used to that. Don't worry about it. I'm used to it.''


    AP Sports Writer Kristie Rieken in Houston contributed to this report.

    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


    Finally! After having a week off following the Utah series we finally get to lace ‘em up tonight against the Houston Rockets. The Rockets have size and they have skill and their team spirit seems high after getting out of the first round. This is a different team than the Rockets thought they would bring to the playoffs. Tracey McGrady had season end surgery in the middle of the season and they traded starting guard Rafer Alston. Anytime a team loses 40% of their starting lineup and still makes a solid run into the playoffs it is a special situation. These Rockets have maintained their defensive philosophy from the Van Gundy years and have incorporated some of the same actions that Coach Rick Adelman used with a high level of success in Sacramento.
    Read the full scouting report...


    The Lakers and Rockets have met 7 times in the postseason (1981, 1986, 1990, 1991, 1996, 1999, 2004) with Los Angeles advancing on 4 occasions (1990, 1991, 1999,
    2004). The Lakers have won the last two series, defeating Houston in the First Round of both the 1999 (3-1) and 2004 (4-1) Playoffs. The Lakers swept the Rockets (3-0)
    in the First Round of both the 1990 and 1991 Playoffs. The Lakers losses to Houston came in the 1981 Western Conf. First Round (1-2), 1986 Western Conf. Finals (1-4)
    and 1996 Western Conf. First Round (1-3). Overall, the Lakers are 16-12 against the Rockets in the playoffs, going 11-5 at home but just 5-7 on the road in Houston.

    With 38 points 4/25 at Utah, Kobe Bryant moved past Hakeem Olajuwon (3,755) and John Havlicek (3,776) for 7th on the NBA’s all-time playoff scoring list. In Game 1 on
    April 19, Bryant passed Magic Johnson (3,701) for 9th on the NBA’s all-time playoff scoring list and 3rd on the Lakers franchise playoff scoring list. In moving past Johnson,
    only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (4,070) and Jerry West (4,457) have scored more points in a Lakers uniform during the playoffs than Bryant (3,823). Next up on the all-time
    NBA list are Larry Bird (6th/3,897) and West (5th/4,457). Among all players with 2,500+ postseason points, only Michael Jordan (33.4), Jerry West (29.1), Elgin Baylor
    (27.0), Hakeem Olajuwon (25.9), Shaquille O’Neal (25.2) and Karl Malone (24.7) have a higher postseason scoring average than Bryant (24.4).

    With a 3-1 series lead entering Game 5 at STAPLES Center on April 27, the Lakers closed out their 4th consecutive playoff series on the first attempt, advancing out of the
    First Round past Utah and into the Western Conference Semifinals. The Lakers have now closed out their opponent on the first attempt 15 times in their last 17
    opportunities dating back to 2001. Under head coach Phil Jackson, the Lakers have closed out their opponent on the first attempt 15 times in 21 overall opportunities
    including a streak of 11 consecutive series close-outs on the FIRST try spanning the First Round of the 2001 Playoffs through the 2004 Western Conference Finals.
    Overall, under head coach Phil Jackson, the Lakers are now 20-10 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.

    7 LAKERS POST DOUBLE FIGURES IN PLAYOFFS AND LAKERS SHOOT .600 FROM FIELD FOR FIRST TIME SINCE 1990 In their 119-109 Game 2 victory 4/21 vs. Utah, seven Lakers scored in double-figures AND the Lakers shot 60 percent or better in the playoffs (.600) for the first time in
    nearly 19 years. In the Lakers 109-88 victory in Houston 5/3/90, James Worthy (20 points) led seven players in double-figures while the Lakers as a team shot .611 from
    the field. Magic Johnson (19), Vlade Divac (18), Byron Scott (15), Mychal Thompson (12), Orlando Woolridge (12) and A.C. Green (11) all scored 10+ points in the win.


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