Posted by hiphopmama on January 14, 2009
LA Lakers 105, Houston 100
This is the kind of game that would make me grimace if it were at home, but on the road it’s a perfectly acceptable win. I should preface that by saying that I missed the first three quarters – damn familial obligations =) – but from what I can gather it was played pretty close the whole way through. Neither team was able to win a quarter by more than four points. Until the fourth, that is, when the Lakers turned it on and proved just how important it is to have players confident enough to take, and fully expect to make, the big shot at the end of the game. I think we all know what that guy is for us.
Kobe was amazing last night in another heroic late game performance. I can’t vouch for his play the rest of the game – he shot only 13-for-32 overall – but he was 5-for-8 in the fourth quarter and kept the team afloat until the Rockets fumbled away their chances. From 93-93, a couple of Kobe jumpers and an Odom hook shot bumped us up to a four point lead, before Alston made a little floater in the lane with a minute and a half left. The next offensive set, a perimeter jump shot from LO was the best we could get, and when it missed, we watched as Battier got the ball after a broken play and drilled an open three from the corner to give the Rockets a one point lead. Frustrating, to say the least, because we’ve seen that scenario one too many times.
But from there on out, it was clear which team was built for these situations. With the shot clock winding down, Kobe pulled up – officially from 27 feet, but more subjectively from what I would call “way the hell out there” – with defenders in his face and absolutely drained a killer three. It was a knock-out blow; the Rockets never got another point. They had plenty of chances. Carl Landry, who was in the midst of a great game, looked at and then passed up an open shot, Alston missed a pair of free throws, and Yao wasted their last shot on a turn-around jumper (which he missed) despite the fact that they were down three and a two was essentially worthless. A few free throws from Pau were enough to seal the deal, but Kobe’s three was the real end for the Rockets. It sure is nice to have someone who can do that, eh?
And that’s all I know. Someone else will have to fill me in on how we were played so tight by a team missing both Tracy McGrady and Ron Artest, and how Kobe ended up with a Nelly band-aid over his right eye, but none of that matters too much since we got the W. Like I said, you expect to have less than perfect games on the road. What it’s really all about is keeping yourself close enough to give yourself a chance if you can finish well. And I think we all know we have the best in the business in that department.
Game recap and highlights:
And the last minute and a half, for your viewing pleasure:
My apologies for all the late write-ups recently. Apparently reading and the Lakers don’t mix – put that one in an NBA Cares commercial – because ever since I got hooked on books again my viewing and watching schedule has been thrown off. We’ll see if I can figure out how to do both, although my guess is that the books will fall by the wayside before the Lakers do. Just a hunch.
And now we are upon a serious set of games. We have the second of our back-to-back tonight in San Antonio to face a Spurs team that is almost as hot as us of late, winning eight of their last ten. They are coming off a loss, but it was to Orlando, which is an understandable defeat (let’s not bring that game up, please). On Friday we’ll be back at home to face the Magic ourselves and try to get some redemption after we couldn’t pull one out on their home floor a little while back. Orlando is a disgustingly good 31-8, just two losses off our pace, and they have been playing consistent ball the whole season, for the most part spacing out their losses and getting good wins in between. They have beat heavy hitters like San Antonio (twice), New Orleans, and us, and they’ve done it in multiple ways. Just looking at their line-up makes me shudder. Dwight Howard is a beast, averaging 20 points and more than 3 blocks a game, and pairing him with a surging Jameer Nelson is a potentially lethal combination. We haven’t exactly held our own against speedy point guards, especially when they have a big man counterpart, but I’m hoping that we can get the job done on our home floor. Finally, we take on Cleveland – again at home – on Monday in a battle between the teams with the best records in the NBA at the moment. I don’t think I need to say any more about that one. All I can say is I’m glad Lamar is back. We’re going to need every weapon we have to come out of these on top.