Lakers 111 vs. Rockets 82
I know it’s too early in the season to tell, but let’s face it. The Rockets are not as real as most people think they are at the moment. Yes, Ron Artest brings another dimension to this Rocket team because he can create for himself and defend. However, T-Wack and Meow Ming are just not real enough. You have to slow the game down basically to slow motion for Yao to be effective. As far as T-Wack goes, he’s more beat up than Paris Hilton’s v_g_na. On one sequence, T-Wack fell down and I almost thought his career was over.
I think most of the Rockets’ hype is due to the fact that the West is getting relatively weaker and so they seem to shine more. The Spurs are too old, the Mavericks are just too fake (2-4 so far this year), while the Suns and Jazz are pretty good , but we all know they are not actual contenders. Yes, the Hornets are definitely one of the brighter spots in the west, but most people agree that their bench is too thin to really go far in the playoffs. Therefore, sports analysts are just looking for someone in the west to pit against the Lakers as the favorites to come out of the west and the Rockets just happen to be that team.
However, I must give the Lakers some credit for tonight’s win. Their defense is looking like Celtics defense. The Lakers are even leading the league right now in rebounds per game. Tonight’s defensive statline looks like this: Bynum, Kobe, and Odom had 2 steals each, while Trevor Ariza had 3. Pau and Bynum had 3 blocks each, while Odom and Kobe had 2 a piece. Though Kobe was molesting Artest all night, this weakside block on Yao was the highlight of the night.
Look familiar guys? Backtrack to one of the Lakers/Rockets games from last season where Kobe stuffs the shit out of Yao weakside. Yao, you need to do your moves a bit faster and stop being blocked by someone a foot shorter than you are. This is becoming an annual thing dogg.
Against good defensive teams that clog up space in the paint and swarm around the perimeter, it’s important for opponents to have great ball handlers who can create shots for themselves. The Rockets, like the Pistons in the east, just don’t have much of those guys. That’s why Aaron Brooks was the only Rocket today to really do anything because he was out there creating shots for himself. Teams like the Lakers and Celtics push teams too far away from the paint. Not only does this spoil the amount of real estate the offense has to work with, but it also disrupts the angles at which passes can be thrown and received. This is where swarmy perimeter defense looks to make steals. Even if they can dump a pass to the center, he will most likely be too far away from the basket to make a good post move and will most likely be too poor of a ballhandler to take it in deeper. This is where they get jacked again. This is why against teams like this, ballhandlers and shot creators are absolutely necessary.
Similarly in the Pistons/Celtics game today, Will Bynum was one of the few sparks on offense for the Pistons against the defensive Celtics. This is probably why Detroit got Allen Iverson. Detroit doesn’t have a lot of creators like Rodney Stuckey or Will Bynum. This is the beauty of the Iverson trade. Now Iverson just needs to be okay with going out and taking 20 shots a game instead of passing so much. He was very hesitant on offense today.
What I’m trying to say is that although the Rockets boast some good talent, I still don’t think they have that go-to guy you could always count on to score in the 4th quarter. Both the Rockets and Pistons have good lineups, but there isn’t a clear cut pecking order as to who the go-to guy is. Detroit is hoping that Allen Iverson is that guy. The Rockets will have all season to figure that out before they are finally tested in the Playoffs. Is it Artest, McGrady, Yao, or is it Aaron Brooks?